First of all, we were battered by storms and spring tides, culminating on Saturday in one of the biggest storms to hit the north-east coast of Scotland in living memory. (In my case, of course, that’s only just over a year.) Wick, helpfully described by the BBC as “near John o’Groats”, just in case you thought it might be in Cornwall, was pummelled, and the footage of tidal waves engulfing the lighthouse and breaching the sea wall is pretty spectacular, in a terrifying sort of way.
We decided to go up to John o’Groats (the one near Wick, in case you were wondering), which not only had rather good waves but also decent coffee, my prerequisite for facing the awesome power of nature. The harbour was swamped, and anxious fishermen could only watch helplessly as their boats were tossed about like toy ducks in the bath, the water foaming and heaving alarmingly, waves crashing over the walls or exploding in spray like artillery shells.
Wick was also in the news this week because the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency has finally given the green light (if you’ll pardon the expression, which seems a bit glow-in-the-dark-ish for all things nuclear) to build an archive for the records of the whole nuclear industry here. It’s due to open in 2016, by which time you won’t be able to throw a brick in the town without hitting an archivist. It’s good news for us, because the Caithness Archive is going to be housed there too, albeit in much the same way, given our relative sizes, that Jonah was housed by the whale. Suddenly the future exists.
Meanwhile, progress continues on the gansey: I’m almost two-thirds of the way up the back yoke and you can start to see how it’s going to look. (Of course, until it’s blocked you won’t see it properly—the way the stitches pull it out of shape resembles a plastic model of the Millennium Falcon melted in the microwave—but you get the general idea.) I’ll stop when I get to the shoulder strap, so I can knit it from the front and make the join at the back.
I’m down to about 3/4 of one eye now, the right one, which makes knitting and using a computer a little tricky, but still possible. I’m revising the sequel to The Wraiths of Elfael, which is now essentially finished, just a tweak here and there—and preparing my collection of 15 fantasy short stories for publication at Christmas.
The collection is called “The Dragon of Stroma and Other Tales” after the lead story, and will be launched on Amazon for kindle on Christmas Eve. It will be available for free 24-26 December, along with Inquisition of Demons and Wraiths of Elfael on 25-26 December, in the hopes that people who get kindles for Christmas (or tablets with kindle apps) and who are looking for high quality free stuff to download and read, might be tempted…
My friend David in Edinburgh, for whom I knitted the bright fireman red Filey gansey, has yielded to my incessant nagging and sent me a picture of him wearing it. To my intense relief it seems to fit! (I’ve asked him not to wear it when he eventually visits the National Nuclear Archive, just in case someone mistakes him for a meltdown in the core reactor…)
Finally, don’t forget to check out our Gansey Nation store at Zazzle. Only seven days till Christmas! Think of the childish glee on their faces as they unwrap the present, then watch with malicious amusement as their delight melts away like an ice cream in summer when they find they’ve got a Gansey Nation coffee mug instead of the iPad Mini they were expecting…