Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today I am here to tell you about the place called New Lanark.
As well as being an important World Heritage Site, New Lanark is a place where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Falls of Clyde.
This was definitely the bit that interested me.
Up along the river banks and woods, there is much fun walking to be had. I smelt many interesting smells and went for a swim . . .
. . .I looked after the humans, hurrying them along the paths, and posing obligingly for photographs.
. . . I also heard some sounds that were new to me. For example, these icicles on the opposite bank made an interesting crrrrrrack and crrrrrash sound as they broke and fell into the river.
Then we came to a place called The Hide.
There was much excitement around The Hide because The Egg had just appeared in the nest of a Peregrine. The humans at The Hide had equipment through which Tom and Kate could look and see the Peregrine sitting on The Egg. Kate seemed quite interested in The Egg, but was perhaps even more animated by the colour of the Peregrine’s eyelids, which were apparently a very very very bright yellow. I was not allowed to look through the equipment, but I was very good on my lead and did not snaffle any of the Hide humans’ tasty meat-filled sandwiches while they were being distracted by the excitement of The Egg.
Now, I know and understand many human words — egg and chicken, for example, are two words that make a lot of sense to me. But two words that do not make sense are the words called Monkey Walking, which is what the humans shout at me with glee when I do this on a path with gaps in it:
The naming of things is perhaps the deepest of all human mysteries. For example, why is this crunchy, tasteless, pointless thing called Lichen when there is nothing to like about it at all?
Why is this piece of Scottish hydroelectrical equipment called YORKSHIRE?
Who named this bench BROWN LONG EARED BAT?
And which daft human decided that this fence should be called DONKEY?
Answers on a postcard, please . . .
See you soon, Love Bruce
Kate adds: A shout-out to Laura, the New Lanark ranger, who reads this blog and who we met on our walk today. Thanks so much to Laura and all her colleagues for their hard work maintaining this wonderful landscape for everyone to walk in and enjoy! xx
Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today I am pleased, because, after a long break for the Winter, the walking and camping times have begun again! This particular walking and camping time was a surprise, because the weather is good, and Tom has not yet begun New Job. We packed up the van, and set off for West Highlands, a place in which Tom and Kate always seem very happy.
In West Highlands there is excellent walking to be had, and many interesting smells that I do not smell in other places. These smells are because of the big deer buddies, with whom I am not allowed to play. Indeed, an interesting feature of West Highlands is the prevalence of fences and gates, which are there to keep the buddies IN and me OUT. As you can see, however, the buddies sometimes get OUT . . .
. . . and (with human assistance) I can get IN.
These gates are mystifying machines. Try as I might, I cannot operate them.
The best thing about West Highlands is that we go for lovely long walks. This time we walked up hills and through woods. . .
and then we walked along the side of the water. All of this was fun.
Afterwards, we went to camp in the place that is called Bridge of Orchy.
The place is called Bridge of Orchy because of this:
The Bridge. Of Orchy.
At Bridge of Orchy it became very cold. I am often told that I have a nice thick coat, but although this is true, I do not have extra woolly clothes and fluffy bags to keep me warm in Extreme Highland Conditions. The humans have these things, and though they were cold, they were not as cold as I. Then a very exciting thing happened. Because I was cold, I was allowed to get on the hunky bunk with the humans for the first time ever! It was cold on the floor, but it was warm on the hunky bunk with three of us, and so we all slept there together! This was very good. All I can say is, now I know just how good it is on the hunky bunk, I shall definitely expect to sleep there at all times. I shall ignore all human mutterings of “this is not a precedent” and suchlike — YES! ITS THE HUNKY BUNK FOR ME!!
In the morning, there was ice all over the van, and the water had frozen in the pipes. And then we discovered that the van had run out of cooking gas. Kate was extremely worried that she would not be able to have her requisite Giant Cup of Tea, but disaster was averted by Tom, who is the keeper of all equipment, and who had the forethought to bring the spare camping stove.
Giant cups of tea were drunk, I snaffled half a hot cross bun, and everyone was happy.
See you soon, love Bruce xxx
Its all change round here! Tom is about to start a new job. He has worked at the University of Edinburgh for the past decade, so there were an awful lot of payslips to gather up from the desk drawer, and a very hearty whisky-fuelled send-off from his friends and colleagues. It was Tom’s work as an immunologist that first brought us North to Scotland ten years ago . . . an awful lot has happened since then. His new job is in Glasgow, so today Bruce and I helped him move his office contents and cell lines over to Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, where he will be establishing his own laboratory. I don’t mind admitting that I’m massively proud of Tom — he does really important work (in the field of auto-immunity) and he also works incredibly hard. This is is a very good move for him and his research.
We also had a lovely walk in the park, where Bruce met a wee pug buddy . . .
And then the sun came out, and I tried to take some photographs of the crocuses that are gamely attempting to mark the transition into early Spring.
Bruce is full of the joys of the season, but unfortunately has little respect for floral photography . . . or for flowers, for that matter.
This picture is so hilariously characteristic that I just had to show it to you (with apologies to those who maintain Kelvingrove Park, and to those of you who feel that allowing ones dog to leap through the crocuses is a model of irresponsible canine ownership). But the image is also suggestive of the general mood of excited anticipation around here. Springing forward!
Here’s to the next decade, immunological and otherwise!
Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today there is SNOW. I like SNOW because when it arrives we get up early and go for fun walks in my favourite places.
One of the many mysteries of taking a walk in the SNOW with humans is how very different their priorities are from mine. Kate, for example is endlessly preoccupied with taking pictures of the SNOW. . .
. . . as well as photographing other humans lost property . . .
. . . and muttering in vague rhapsodic fashion about how Edinburgh looks beautiful in the SNOW.
I on the other hand know that SNOW is best for frolicking . . .
. . . and that if you are good in the SNOW, BISKITZ magically appear.
However, one thing that is very odd about SNOW is the thing that is called SNOWBALL.
While other BALLS may be chased after, retrieved, and chewed, SNOWBALLS are mysterious and elusive. They smell of next to nothing, and, when thrown and chased after, they are somehow able to conceal themselves in an extremely vexing fashion!
And worst of all, on the occasions that you manage to catch a SNOWBALL in your mouth, it just makes things cold, and then it disappears! Beware! These SNOWBALLS are not at all like other balls, but are confusing and not to be trusted!
Personally, I find a STICK to be a much more steady and reliable creature, even when it is covered in SNOW.
And one of the best things about this particular SNOWY walk is that it visits a selection of my very favourite sticks. Do you remember that I once told you about the sticks that sing? Well, here are the singing sticks, singing in the SNOW.
The obvious conclusion: sticks beat SNOWBALLS paws down.
Hang on . . . she’s off again. . . . I’d better catch up . . .
See you soon, love Bruce xxx
Good morning! It is I, Bruce. I am here to tell you about the release of Kate’s latest hat design. This hat, which is called “Snawheid” features a large fluffy ball that I’m unfortunately not allowed to savage.
Did you know that I play a crucial role in all of Kate’s photoshoots? Well I do. That’s right — I am the indispensable styling assistant.
The first part of my job as styling assistant is to find a Nice Big Stick and present Kate with it.
Then I fly by with Big Stick just as Tom has set up his photograph.
Finally, I relax and chew Stick while Tom shouts “get out of the shot, Bruce.”
And if you’re really lucky, I’ll even conjure up a rainbow.
Happy Knitting, love Bruce x
Kate adds: with massive pompom-sized thanks to Jen Arnall Culliford, the snawheid pattern is now available here.
Whoa. I didn’t mean to just disappear on you there! Don’t worry — I’ve not, like the indomitable Betty Mouat, been cast adrift on the North Sea with half a bottle of milk and a biscuit — but I have just been really, really, really busy — working on my book, and a few other projects, as well as spending more time in Shetland photographing my new designs. I’m actually enjoying being so, um, occupied (it is genuinely lovely to feel able to work at a reasonable pace again) but it does mean that I have got stupidly behind with many other things — so if you have been waiting to hear from me, my apologies!!
Anyway, here are today’s announcements:
As the pic at the top of the post suggests, an edited version of my Betty Mouat feature article appears in this months edition of 60 North Magazine. Even if you’ve already read the article, or have no interest in the trials of Betty M, I would encourage you to pop right over to 60 North and download your (free) copy immediately.
There’s a great feature about the new Shetland Textile Museum, its unparalleled resources, and the expertise of the amazing women behind it, and I really enjoyed reading Jordan Ogg’s lively guide to spending the day in Lerwick (which includes some great tips about the best local charity shops for knitwear). There’s also a a piece about the restoration of Unst’s beautiful Belmont House (an idyllic knitting retreat if ever there was one) and a fascinating interview with Ann Cleeves (whose Shetland Quartet has recently been adapted for the BBC and whose adaptation will feature . . . some of my stuff!!)
(Peerie Flooers hat, coming soon to a TV screen near you)
Also, I just released a pattern.
These wee fingerless gloves have been in the pipeline since Spring, and I’ve written up the design for my friends at Studio Donegal. If you visit their lovely shop in Kilcar, you can actually buy a pair of these gloves hand-made by local knitters in beautiful Donegal tweed . . . but if you fancy making your own, you can now find the pattern here or here)
And while we are on the subject of patterns . . .
Did you see that Cloudy Apples has been released?
Cloudy Apples is a collection of accessories that my lovely friend, Jen Arnall-Culliford has created with the equally lovely Kyoko Nakayoshi. The patterns are being released in stages, and first up are these terrifically elegant socks, designed by Jen.
(Dunkerton Sweet socks, designed by Jen Arnall-Culliford. Photograph ©Jesse Wild)
Each design in the collection has been named after an apple — and just like apples, these accessories are sweet, seasonal, and very tasty.
ALSO — Tom’s news is that he’s just accepted a great new job at Glasgow University. He starts in-post next March, and will commute for the time being . . . but in the long term this may herald a Westward move for the Davies / Barr homestead. . . exciting!
AND FINALLY, for those who have missed Bruce, here he is, sitting nicely in the exact location of the discovery of the St Ninian’s Isle treasure 58 years ago. . .
. . . negotiating a stile in customarily elegant fashion . . .
. . . and being intrepid on the cliffs of St Ninian’s Isle.
What a grand walk we had that day.
There is much more to tell you. I’ll be back very soon xx
Hiya! It is I, Bruce. I have just returned from a F-U-N time on the island of Islay. This time was particularly fun as I have spent the past few weeks having no fun at all (going back and forth to the place where they put you on a table and poke at you, and are forced to don the humiliating cone.)
Islay is fun because there is a big beach . . .
. . . new walks with interesting smells . . .
. . . and I get to live in the box with the humans, which I really enjoy.
Still, there are things about being in the box that can be very confusing. Such as why it is OK to be wet some times. . .
. . . and not others.
To my mind, the most annoying characteristic of the human-creature is its inconsistency. For example, why is it that these buddies are good to play with . . .
. . . while these are not?
In fact, it is in relation to other creatures that the human-creature is most unpredictable. For example, one evening on Islay we visited this place. . .
I was told that there were otters about, and that I had to be very good. We sat in the box while Kate and Tom stared out of the window, occasionally muttering. After what seemed like an aeon, there was some excitement and animation, and Kate started reaching for her camera. All that had happened was that this had appeared in the water.
. . . which was, of course, not an otter, but a seal.
Now, if they’d have let me out, and into the water, I could have told them right away that there were seals in that place, and not otters. But as well as being inconsistent, human creatures like to think they know best.
But we dogs know better.
See you soon, love Bruce x