Our last full day on Unst, no glorious sunrise today, just damp. So I deemed it to be knitting first thing this morning, and then lunch at Victoria's Tea Rooms. I still had some way to go on finishing my Norfolk Horn Bookmark.
Victoria had decided to have a winter special on the menu and we couldn't help treating ourselves to it - shepherd's pie. It was delicious but we probably should have shared a portion! While we enjoying this treat a group of 4 American ladies arrived wearing wool week hats. These were very similar but with a different coloured yarn in each. The weather had bucked up considerably and the ladies were taking photos in front of the picture window ( and glorious sea behind). I decided I could go over, mention the hats, chat to them and take a phot so they could all be on it. They mentioned my yoked jumper- again I was wearing the practice one but this led to a discussion on natural dyeing. The wool week hat is such a great thing as it does enable people to connect. I talked about dyeing with meadowsweet and one of the ladies had a dye garden and talked about plants in that in California. She regarded meadowsweet as rather precious as a herb to dye with. She mentioned dyeing with Great Mullein and copper sulphate in the same pot to give a good green. This is another plant a bit like ground elder to me, it tries to shoot up everywhere in my garden, but can grow 6 feet tall... At least the ground elder doesn't reach those heights. So something else to try dyeing with, care of wool week. From the conversation I think this same lady had knitted the 4 hats and put a different coloured naturally dyed row in each one- so a matching set of four for them. It was lovely to chat.
Then on to Norwick beach, by now it was much brighter - sun in fact and I wanted to take seaweed photos with the macro lens whilst Michael walked up the road to his bird watching spot. See below for a report of this!
The day continued to get better, the wind dropped and the sea was very calm - I was hoping for good sunset photos back at Uyeasound.
This is not quite sunset but taken at 17.51 and a lovely photo of the view we have had from our home for our time in Unst
Birds ( by Michael)
Occasionally people ask what I am doing while Janet gets on with Wool Week. Well the answer is usually 'birds' though I did sneak off to the cinema at Mareel one very wet and windy day. Anyway we are not up to that yet. Shetland is one of THE places to be in Autumn for all sorts of different migrating birds. Here we were at Norwick, one of our favourite places, with Janet happily occupied with her photography. I walked down the lane heading away from the beech to Valyie. This is the place I had a close encounter with a Long Eared Owl two years ago. There had been nothing about on Tuesday but I was encouraged to find several Blackcaps as I walked up the hill. At the top by the house I stopped to watch a male and a female on the wire of the fence. Suddenly they were joined by a little brown bird with black and white in its tail. It proceeded to act exactly like a flycatcher. Now I am quite familiar with the two fairly common UK flycatchers (well common if you know where to look). In fact a Spotted Flycatcher lived in our garden near Diss for several weeks one summer choosing the rotary washing line as its favourite perch and while living in Cheshire Pied Flycatchers were easy to see in the woods near Leek and in N Wales. After the three birds flew off I walked on up the lane and, meeting some other birdwatchers, was delighted to confirm I had been watching a Red Breasted Flycatcher. A new bird for me as I am really not much more than a novice and I certainly don't get enough time for this hobby. They also assured me there were three Yellow Browed Warblers about. Having located two of them (another first) and a Whitethroat I headed back to the van to get the kettle on and drag Janet away from the beach to hear of my discoveries!
So all in all a great last full day in Unst, but we still had 3/4 of a day left tomorrow.