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Wick IV – George McKay: 10 July

4W160711-1 On Sunday we took a drive some 20 miles down the coast to one of my favourite places, the tranquil hamlet and harbour of Dunbeath.

As I’ve mentioned before the coast of Caithness is as crinkly as a pie crust (alas not filled with sweet apple or rhubarb, but instead with peat bog and decomposing seaweed); and once upon a time almost every inlet or “goe” was its own harbour. It was a cloudy, muggy day, squalls of rain blowing in from the west with shafts of golden sunlight far out to sea illuminating the rigs, as though the Lady in the Lake had taken a wrong turn at the M6 interchange and Excalibur was now located at the Beatrice Oil Field by mistake.

4W160711-2The harbour was mostly deserted—just a couple of ramblers, a lady walking her dog and the endless bickering of the seagulls and kittiwakes. (Seagulls, as polls have shown, mostly voted Exit in the recent referendum, seduced by promises of millions of pounds being spent on dropped ice cream cones and half-eaten packets of chips, just for them; and now they don’t like to be reminded by the pro-Remain kittiwakes that they’ve been, as it were, gulled…)

4W160710-1-2And now, a confession: if AD 69 was the Year of the Four Emperors, 2016 is going to be the Year of the Five Ganseys. You see, although I’ve been knitting them for 30 years, I’ve given most of them away as presents—and I only have a handful to call my own. So I decided I’d concentrate on revisiting some of my favourite patterns, and most of the ganseys I’ll be knitting from hereon in will be for stock; I’m making up for lost time.

4W160710-1I will, of course, still try out some new patterns, such as this one (and there are plenty of unrecorded ones from Wick to explore). As you’ll see from the pictures I’ve almost finished the first sleeve. By decreasing two stitches every sixth row after the gusset I ended up with 93 stitches at the cuff. This has been decreased down to 88 on the first row of ribbing, making the cuff eleven inches around. The end, even with my eyesight, is in view.

Incidentally, it’s almost impossible for those of us of a certain age to hear the name “Dunbeath” without recalling the classic scene in Blackadder when our hero repeatedly taunts a couple of pompous actors with the name of the Scottish Play, which in theatre tradition must never be spoken aloud…

All together now: “Dunbeath!”

6 comments to Wick IV – George McKay: 10 July

  • Dave

    Hot potato, off his drawers….

  • lorraine

    Gordon- Blackadder is one of my all time favorites. So many quotes, such as: “and in Genoa, it is the fashion to wear a frog on one’s shoulder, and go bibble at passers by….”

    • Gordon

      Hi Lorraine, for me it’s a toss-up between:

      “I’ve got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel”


      “They do say, Mrs M, that verbal insults hurt more than physical pain. They are, of course, wrong, as you will soon discover when I stick this toasting fork into your head.”

  • Lynne

    I love the close-up of this gansey pattern in Margaret’s Blipfoto, I hope she does another after it is blocked. It’s sure a classy looking pattern and you just can’t beat the traditional navy.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lynne, yes, there will definitely be another blocked photo of the gansey. I’m thinking of having it as my screen saver! And I’ve rediscovered my love of navy—that’s as in the colour, not that I’ve been hanging round the docks looking available, you understand…

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