Stornaway ... not in Ottawa

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October 12th 2017
Published: October 13th 2017
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Black Pudding BreakfastBlack Pudding BreakfastBlack Pudding Breakfast

I eat my blood sausage with liverwurst, sauerkraut and potatoes. I asked for potatoes, pickles and black pudding...after one round I asked for two more... I thsnked the chef was delicious
It is amazing how many place names have been copied here from the ones in Canada .... OK ..... just kidding :-)

Oct11 ...Two days...three sleeps in Stornaway.... such a nice neat town. A castle dominates the opposite shore and a comfortable walk thru the park leads to it. In the cafeteria... a Starbucks....Pumpkin Latte. REALLY!? Scotland the Mainland. Passed right by.

Had been to the Woodland Cafe where many people were enjoying lunch, snack, or tea and I had had lentil soup.

The morning of the first day had been spent on the bus riding to Port Ness. What a difference from the landscape inTarbert on Harris. Towards Port Ness at the tip of Lewis, the scene was one of undulating hills covered in rusty grass and interspersed with peat banks. Some of these banks have recently been cut and the bricks of peat are in white plastic bags waiting to be brought home and piled in peat mounds. From the bus driver I learned that the peat must be burned in the season it is cut. The smoke from the chimneys will appear yellow and the scent is pleasnt. The knitting shop lady said one is basically burning mud. The knitting lady lives on a croft a half hour from Stornaway and she also has a peat bank.

At Port Ness the bus driver had a 25 minute rest stop. He told me I had time to walk to the Harbour. It was such a lovely day....sun sun sun ....

After his visit to the house with the open door ...Home?....Affair? ...Quickie? He returned flushed...had a blonde hair on his pants...did not notice his clothes out of place... probably was playing with his kids and having a snack.

Once back in the city did not have the heart to sit on another bus ....sunsun sun... had not seen the sun in days. The stroll to the Woodland Cafe and the Castle was most pleasant.

And I just kept on walking until I reached the Co-Op Grocery Store. No mud no cows no gates and sheep...just one wooden horse pulling a wagon filled with blooms. Bought enough food for the next two evening meals.

Back at the Crown Hotel I worked at changing my ferry sleeping accomodations. This was quite easy because I have a UK Vodafone ... 1000min....unlimited texting ...and even some data ... more data than the measly 100mb from Bell on the Actel tablet ... this has shut itself down a second time so it can just stay in the backpack and be resusitated when back in Canada. Working in the bar of the hotel I drank a pint of cider and at seven returned to my room for a shower, potato salad, BBQchicken, red pepper and a hot chocolate. Once in bed it was an almost instant trip to slumberland.

It rained all night

October 12 ... had black pudding, mashed potatoes, pickles and coffee for breakfast. The chef must think a crazy woman is in the dining room.. Went out with the big umbrella to catch the 10.10 bus to Carloway Mills and the Black Village.Inside the thatched cottage that had smoke coming from the chimney was open as a museum. I only made it into one of the rooms.

A man in a Harris Tweed jacket and hat sat at a Hattersley Loom ...

While in this stone floored room, that was reminiscent of how crofters lived, the weaver pedaled the loom and in no time produced 3cm of purple pattern. The shuttles flew and the three coloured pattern appeared like magic. Because all his shuttles were empty he moved to the spool filler. He filled all the spools using the electric machine. The loom cannot be electric.. according to the Harris Tweed Authority.

The weaver has the same Hatterley Loom at his home. He receives the wool from the mill and then produces cloth in patterns requested.

A young woman who was as interested as I in the intricacies of weaving engaged the weaver in conversation. I listened avidly and then added my own questions. Together we went to the Mill where the cloth that comes from the cottages in the area is finished. All the machines, new and at one hundred years old, stood quietly in the mill. Inside the Carloway Mill a man who had been doing this job for forever was putting together the warp for a pattern that he read from his notebook. It was facinating to watch him wind yards and yards of warp threads onto the pegs that filled the wall. The manager of the mill agreed to take us thru the quiet pemises. She explained the function of each machine in the order that the wool evolved from fleece to thread. The woman came from Hamilton Ontario...what a small world.

Because the bus ride back sounded convoluted and involved a 40min wait in a bus shelter I begged a ride fromthe young woman i had met in the weavers room.

The drive back to the city was thru a landscape dreary with drizzle. Back in Stornaway I made a lunch invitation. We atea long lunch of soup and toasties and chatted much at the Woodland Cafe. . After lunch I went to the woolshop to finish my matches my Harris Tweed scarf ..;-)

I will spend Oct 13 on ferry, bus, and train going to Thurso high up the north of Scotland. The goal of seeing the loom and learning the Harris Tweed story only cost me 96 pounds...not counting the cost of the hotel an dthe price of the ferry coming and going ;-)

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


Like a BicycleLike a Bicycle
Like a Bicycle

The two pedals are pumped like a bicycle and the shuttles fly ... in thei case three colours... but as many as six colours can be used.
 At the Carloway Mill At the Carloway Mill
At the Carloway Mill

Washed- Carded- Ready to spin
Loaded Spools made of plasticLoaded Spools made of plastic
Loaded Spools made of plastic

The man reads the composition of the cloth fromhis little scribbler notebook.
Creating the WarpCreating the Warp
Creating the Warp

Winding his fingers around and into the threads the handful then is pulled and loaded on to the pegs that protrude from the wall. Totally and absolutely fasinating to watch as iyt just keeps growing and growing
Following the PatternFollowing the Pattern
Following the Pattern

The metal strips with holes in them hanging to the right of the blue shelf were the original patterns used on the loom to weave the cloth.... much like the punch cards used with knitting machines.
At the Bu'tcher'sAt the Bu'tcher's
At the Bu'tcher's

In trays spiced meat in sauce was ready to be taken home and cooked and Voila ... a curry!. Everywhere I have wandered I have seen a butcher
Lonely RiderLonely Rider
Lonely Rider

There are no shoulders off the road. The bus will go around the cyclist

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