Saturday, 11 December 2010
I am on the Isle of Lewis having been visiting my mother. On Wednesday when I traveled here it was touch and go whether I would make it across to Ullapool to catch the ferry. The road was closed until 7am because of snow drifts. I arrived at the ferry terminal just before the ferry did and at that point it was lovely sunshine and all the land round about was white with snow.
However, once on board it had all changed and we sailed from Ullapool in a blizzard that was so thick you could see no land even though we were only yards from the shore. That soon cleared and it was plain sailing the rest of the way - bitterly cold, but bright and calm.
Landing at Stornoway it was clear that they had considerably less snow than the mainland but there was still a lot of white around, particularly across the moors.
I found my mother in reasonably good spirits, though feeling her years and much slower moving around than when I was last across.
On Thursday the weather had changed - instead of 2 degrees, it had risen to 10 and all the snow had gone from around the house and the only evidence of the cold spell was the skating rink that was trying to pretend it was a garden path. Late morning we headed out to the west of the islands to visit some of our trade customers and also to purchase more tweed. Most of the lochs were still frozen over despite the rise in temperature but it was a dark, damp day.
On Friday it was still mild, but as you can see in this photograph it was dreich. This is an old Scots word that loosely translates as drab, cold, damp, miserable - the sort of weather that is completely un-inspiring and makes you convinced that we were meant to hibernate for the winter. This picture gives an idea of just how desolate the moors can be, but it seems to show everything much brighter than it really was. Driving across the moor to the Butt of Lewis I was contantly reminded of one of the reasons why I DON'T want to live on the island.
However there was a plus side to my journey. I went to visit Callum Maclean and collect some tweed he had woven for me. So, between what I got from him and elsewhere, I am going home today with a car packed full of tweed. I have left some with mother to make more hats - certainly the weather for hats and that was what we sold most of at our recent craft fairs. I will go home and make scarves, wraps and lots of other things to have them all ready for the trade show we will exhibit at in January. I know that Mary has spent the last few days sorting out the workroom so that I will have space to put away all our new tweeds.
This photograph shows a small selection of some of the ones I selected particularly for making hats, and in due course the other swatches will appear on our website. Also pictured is one of Callum's tweeds - an autumn toned check - which I particularly like and bought a lot of it.
Now the sun is shining again, the winds of last evening have dropped and it looks as though the ferry is running on time, so I will be back across the Minch this afternoon.