Not just Skye and Gaelic

Thought I would share with you a quick photo of some books on the dialects of Shetland and Orkney that have just come into stock.
shetland books I suppose that with my interest in Old Norse, it was inev­it­able that I would want these in stock. One of my abiding memories from first year Old Norse classes with Hermann Palsson in Edinburgh was the two Shetland Islanders in the class who recog­nised numerous words. I ended up feeling like they had an unfair advant­age! And of course, here on Skye we are sur­roun­ded by Norse place-names, though to the dis­ap­point­ment of the archae­olo­gists, only a couple of definite houses have been iden­ti­fied so far.

I’d love to find the other volume of Jakob Jakobsen’s Etymological Dictionary of the Norn Language in Shetland (1985 Shetland Folk Society ISBN 0948276002 is the volume we have, and an initial look at the web isn’t throwing up other copies).

Margaret Flaw and Gregor Lamb’s The Orkney Dictionary (2001 Orkney Language and Culture Group ISBN 0952932415) is also fas­cin­at­ing. How else would I have found out that the Orcadian word for a Manx Shearwater is a lyre.… or that there is a word for the ooze from a midden (iper in case you were won­der­ing)?


Busy in the real world…

Apologies that it’s been a bit quiet here but we’ve been somewhat pre­oc­cu­pied with non-virtual activ­it­ies includ­ing (but not limited to) painting the outside of the café, repaint­ing the loos, tearing up the hall carpet and painting the floor, adding a sparkly light fitting to the hall, spring cleaning the kitchen and repaint­ing the store […]


What to do when the dogs insist on getting you up earlier than you’d like…

For some reason, the last few days the dogs have been waking me around 6.45am. Maybe it’s because it’s a little lighter in the mornings now, but I’ve taken to coming down­stairs to make coffee and then deciding that this little bit of time, like very late at night, is some­thing I can steal to […]


Do try this at home (Part 2 – re-covering drop in chair seat)

Even the less obser­v­ant visitor will have noticed that there’s not much new fur­niture in the café – even many of our Billy book­cases are second­hand. It’s a com­bin­a­tion of not having much cash and pref­er­ence, so when I was offered four oak dining chairs dating from around the 1930s for £25 last summer, I […]


Tools for the job

I’m feeling rather smug at both having finally got round to doing some­thing I’ve been meaning to do for months AND having saved myself about £25 in the process. I’ve made myself a tailor’s ham and a sleeve roll.  Don’t look too closely at the rather rough and ready stitch­ing.  The ham is three layers of […]


Head scratching design process

I thought I’d walk you through the sort of process that I go through in design­ing one of my pieces. How long a garment takes me can be very variable, but essen­tially it all starts with the fabric. I take a length of fabric and try to think what it would suit becoming. That will […]


Don’t throw that away!

One of the things left in the café when we took it over was a small pile of white cotton table­cloths, somewhat worn but in reas­on­able order. Too good to throw away so they went into the bottom of the big Art Nouveau wardrobe “pending”. Last year the only damask one yielded the white cotton […]


Black Dog Days

There are times when once again the black dog (Churchill’s bril­liant name for his depres­sion) comes nipping at my heels.  I can ration­al­ise it as it’s around this time of year that my brother took his own life, 21 years ago.  So feeling aimless and unable to settle to anything is not unex­pec­ted.  I’m not alone […]


Do try this at home – doubled up shirt concept.

I hate having my picture taken but today had to set up the tripod and camera and do my first selfie to show off my latest concept.  Sitting on a shelf in my studio was an old blue linen shirt.  I bought it years ago in TK Maxx and lit­er­ally wore it until there were […]


Writing and why what you use makes a difference…

It seems a little odd starting to write a post about the pleas­ures of hand­writ­ing by sitting down to a keyboard, but then, as we all know, a good keyboard makes all the dif­fer­ence.  I like the keyboard on my old Dell Vostro, but I quite simply love the keyboard on my MacBook. It makes […]