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Wick (John Macleod), Week 7: 7 January

When we travel back and forth to Northampton we usually stay a night or two in Edinburgh to break the journey. It’s almost exactly halfway, in time if not in distance. In the run-up to Christmas, in this dark time of year, it’s doubly welcome—being full of lights, and people, and shops, and the general electric sort of buzz and bustle which is, alas, sorely lacking in Wick in the bleak midwinter.

I’m not much of a lad for crowds, as a rule. But there’s something about Christmastide in the city that brings out the best in people. And an untimely jostle in the German market, that on another occasion might result in a swift left hook to the jaw and more stars than one might see over Bethlehem, merely results in a polite, “Oh I say, I’m most terribly sorry,” and a “Not all, I was just thinking that this gluhwein would work better spilled all down my front anyway”.

Clouds over Dunnet Beach

We perambulated the Christmas market, we frequented coffee shops and we almost climbed Arthur’s Seat, the great volcanic hill that dominates Edinburgh’s skyline (look, we made it as far as the foothills before it occurred to us that Starbucks would be open, okay?). And I was interested to notice a new phenomenon among all the tourist shops along the Royal Mile: shops selling Harry Potter merchandise. They were busy, too, far too crowded to get into; and I found myself wondering, how many Slytherin sweatshirts do they sell?

Looking towards the Pentlands from Arthur’s Seat

Returning to the magical land of ganseys, I have finished the back of John MacLeod’s gansey. Of course, it helps that I only worked two days last week; progress in future will necessarily be a lot slower. It’s a really stunning pattern, and the lace-effect central trees have an almost three-dimensional quality. It pays to know your row gauge, though an element of luck is always involved too: the pattern fits almost exactly as I’d hoped. (The only thing to watch is the seed stitch shoulder strap, making sure that both match the seed stitch panels on the borders.)

Seals at Sarclet

In parish news, Judit has sent through pictures of her revised pink gansey, a very effective combination of chevrons and border panels. She’s also sent another picture, an early contender for this year’s Most Adorable Dog Posing With a Gansey award…

Finally, the local seals have moved away from Sarclet beach, where they came to pup, round the cliffs to a rocky outcrop inclining into the sea. There they haul themselves up for a leisurely bask, and to utter their weird, unearthly cries, which echo strangely off the rocks—not so much like the siren call of a mermaid as of a bass-baritone with an upset tummy. Though now I think of it, I don’t suppose anyone was ever lured to a watery grave by the siren call of a 300-lb whoopee cushion…

7 comments to Wick (John Macleod), Week 7: 7 January

  • Lois

    “I don’t suppose anyone was ever lured to a watery grave by the siren call of a 300-lb whoopee cushion…”

    Well, I don’t know ……… I suppose if a sailor had been at sea long enough ………..

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon, Many thanks for your comments on my pink gansey and my dog !Do you think that he should get a gansey ? Probably a pink one ?

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, it’s always a pleasure to feature your ganseys. Don’t know if he needs a Gansey of his own – he seems to be enjoying yours in the photo!

    • twinsetellen

      Very striking gansey – I love the straightforward design and so nicely executed!

      (Dog is very striking, too.)

  • =Tamar

    I have a Slytherin coffee mug, to add a data point. Quite a few people feel that Slytherin gets a bad rap in the books.

    • Gordon

      Fair point, Tamar. I thought it was a shame in the last book (if I remember correctly) that JK Rowling didn’t have any Slytherin students staying to fight in the final battle for Hogwarts – surely some of them would have put other differences aside when the crunch came?

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