I flew down to Edinburgh last Sunday for a day of meetings on the Monday. I met my colleagues at a pizza chain on Sunday night, and at one point the person next to me looked up and said, ‘You know, I’ve never seen snow falling horizontally before. Or fall up, for that matter.’ (‘Welcome to Scotland,’ I said as I nonchalantly speared a leaf of rocket from my plate.)
In truth the weather was pretty wild, strong winds gusting the snow around like we were living inside a snow globe. (Heading south, the tail wind was enough to shave 20 minutes off an hour-long flight.)
It wasn’t a great trip, to be honest. Apart from the horrid weather, the citizens of Edinburgh seemed to be taking turns outside my hotel room through the night to shout explicit anatomical instructions, some of which I discovered to be quite hard to achieve on your own. The room’s double glazing was warped and didn’t quite fasten – handy if you wanted to preserve a side of beef for a few days, say, but not to take a shower in comfort (my progress to and from the bathroom resembled a firewalker who’s just discovered halfway down the ramp that someone put a live mouse in his shirt for a joke).
I didn’t take the knitting with me – apart from the whole vexed issue of taking needles on planes, the gansey now weighs about as much as a recently dipped sheep, and the prospect of lugging it around Edinburgh didn’t appeal. So I haven’t made as much progress as I’d have liked (by this stage I’m usually impatient to see it done), but am still well down the sleeve. I don’t think I’ll get it finished this week – quite – but I should still meet my target of Easter.
Next Saturday I’ll be at the Caithness Science Festival Fun Day (‘a day of fun and discovery’, it says on the poster) where the Archives will have a display on maps and mapping from our collections. (‘Archives’ and ‘fun’ aren’t words you usually see in the same sentence, but we’re holding a competition to win an Easter egg – and as scientists have discovered, nothing is more fun than chocolate.)
Speaking of fun, Nigel has sent some pictures of his gansey sampler taken from patterns in Beth Brown Reinsel’s book, in which you can see Henry the bear posing in his ganseyette. (In fact, I’m hoping Henry will in future emulate the garden gnome from the French film Amelie and appear in a variety of pictures sent back from exotic locations – the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Waverley Steps…)
Meanwhile, we scrape the snow off the daffodils and watch the seagulls being blown backwards by the wind, and patiently wait for summer. Or Christmas. Whichever comes first…