Support Gansey Nation -


Buy Gordon a cuppa!


Many, many thanks to those of you who have already contributed!





Gansey Nation on Zazzle!

Matt Cammish Week 8: 6 November

cam161107-2We went up to John O’Groats on Saturday, as we often do, for to view the fields and to take the air, as my favourite folk song says. There weren’t many fields but there was a lot of air, barrelling down at us at about 45 mph straight from the arctic circle, so we didn’t linger.

We did stay long enough to see the seal in the harbour, or rather its snout poking up from the icy water like a little whiskery buoy. There were a couple of fishing boats moored there, rocking to the waves and the wind, and the seal kept vanishing underwater to see what it could find beneath them; either that, or it was playing hide-and-seek with the other seals out in the Pentland Firth.

cam161105-2I like seals. Their whiskers give them the air of an elderly geography teacher, a sleek aquatic Einstein. They’re like sensible, grown-up dolphins; you can’t imagine dolphins listening to Radio 4 and appreciating Pink Floyd or test cricket, for example—they haven’t the patience and just want to party. Seals, on the other flipper, always look like they’ve just mislaid their pipe tobacco and slippers. If reincarnation is a thing, then dolphins are a good place to start; but seals are born with old souls.

As for the gansey, I’ve finished the first sleeve and am now embarked on the second. I’m amazed at how small it all looks, how shrivelled, like a dehydrated starfish. This is because of all the purl stitches running the length of the body and sleeves, which draws it in. It actually has more stitches in the round than the green Scarborough gansey I knit recently, but at present is at least six inches narrower round the chest. Blocking will sort this, of course; or if not I just have to find a very thin supermodel in need of chunky knitwear.

cam161105-1-2In parish news, Judit has sent me pictures of a gansey-inspired project, a slipover or sleeveless jumper with a tasteful Scottish fleet half-flag pattern running up the centre. Many congratulations to Judit once again on the project, and for reminding us just how versatile gansey patterns can be.

cam161105-1

Looking towards Duncansby Head

I’ve always loved the Scottish legends of the selkie, the seals who take human form. They say that if you find a selkie’s sealskin you can compel them to marry you (I thought I was in luck the other day down on the beach, but no—it was just a bin liner). But how can you tell if your partner is really a selkie—other than the strong smell of fish, of course? Well, the best way is to throw them a herring: if they catch it on the tip of their nose, toss it up in the air and then swallow it whole, the balance of probabilities is they’re a selkie.

N.B., we’ll be away all next week on a trip down to Northampton to celebrate my father’s birthday, so it’ll just be a short bloguette on Monday. (I won’t quite have finished the gansey, as we’ll be travelling most of next weekend.) Normal service will be resumed in a fortnight. See you then!

10 comments to Matt Cammish Week 8: 6 November

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon and many thanks for mentioning my slipover. Your new gansey looks fine, I love both the colour and the pattern. By the way : Do you know that there ar sweet water seals in Finland ? Namely in the Saimaa lake. You may read a wee bit here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saimaa_ringed_seal
    Best regards
    Judit

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, those seals look very cute. Sorry to hear they’re endangered, though I love the idea that people are creating snowdrifts to encourage them to reproduce. Personally I’d prefer a warm open fire and a box of chocolates, but each to their own!

  • Judit M. /Finland

    Have a nice trip to Northampton and congratulations to your Father !

  • Freyalyn

    It’s actually sealions that catch things on the end of their nose and toss it up in the air before eating!

    • Gordon

      Ah, Freyalyn, you may not have heard the legends of the (admittedly much rarer) selklion, descendants of those selkies who were captured and ended up in captivity and who acquired certain acrobatic skills along the way…

      Either that or they picked it up from YouTube videos! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…)

  • Jane

    Super progress, Gordon, I am so looking forward to the finished article! You do see some wonderful wildlife in your neck of the woods and long may it continue. Enjoy your trip.

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane,

      The population of Caithness is about 27,000, and the two main towns are Wick with about 7,000 people and Thurso 8,000 or so. Wildlife hasn’t got as much competition as it does down south!

      (Mind you, I’d trade the odd seal for a decent coffee shop within walking distance, though…)

  • Kersti

    you can’t imagine dolphins listening to Radio 4 and appreciating Pink Floyd or test cricket, for example—they haven’t the patience and just want to party. Seals, on the other flipper, always look like they’ve just mislaid their pipe tobacco and slippers. If reincarnation is a thing, then dolphins are a good place to start; but seals are born with old souls.

    Ah, Gordon. Haven’t visited for a while. But that’s up there with your best. Glad to see all seems to be going well.

    • Gordon

      Hi Kersti, our plan is be one of the few constants in a changing universe—so feel free to drop by as and when, we’ll be here for a while yet (I drew up a list of ganseys I still want to knit the other day and came up with 12 without even thinking about it!)

      Best wishes, Gordon

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>