Category Archives: MyShetland


This time of year Her Maj is more often away than at home.  I am not pleased.  Those baby bunny rabbits call her.  She does stay on our land and she doesn’t roam far, but she is revolting when she comes home.  Usually filthy.

This morning BeAnne vanished for a while and appeared, only after I shouted myself purple, looking slightly shifty and wet – she had taken herself off for a swim knowing the only other option was a bath!

We are keeping an eye on her now and the doors are shut.

This afternoon, as it was so calm, we went down to the stream because it is so beautiful and peaceful.

The wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) are called “Mayflooer” in Shetland dialect.

They grow along the side of my burn (stream) and I love them.

This wall of primroses is amazing.

I know now that we are definitely through the Shetland winter.

It has been and gone but it was hard work.

The grass is also really growing.

The horses are very happy.

These flowers are called “Blugga” – Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris) or Kingcup.  Luckily Puzzah is very happy to eat them all, which is good.

While we were in the field, we had a quick chat with anyone who wanted to talk.

Of course, ‘Ster was first up.  He hates this heat in his enormous full fleece.

Poor lad.  They are all booked in for the first week of June to be shorn, sheared…… whatever.

Lambie pretends to be aloof when we go into his field.

Funnily enough he only likes his private time every morning when he gets his food.

I can’t think why!

The Morning After the Night Before

Last night was the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest – the highlight of my year – and, as usual, we as a family (except for OH who sat in the kitchen watching football or something) celebrated in true style.

I know it was a good evening because I don’t actually remember taking some of these photos!

We introduced Monster/Vlad to Eurovision and he thoroughly entered into the spirit of the evening by immediately sitting on the score sheets!

He wasn’t budging for anyone.

Apart from a rather irritating Norwegian flag!

Once extracated, the score sheets were quickly distributed and we all had one to complete as the evening progressed.

Floss had spent the afternoon creating sushi – the perfect accompaniment to the evening and one that has become a Thordale tradition.

There was much interest in the sushi – fish and vegetarian.  Clever Floss.

And I made The Cake!  Chocolate mousse between two Victoria sponges with a raspberry cream topping.

I think the evening went well. I don’t remember much!

Always Checking

We check our horses daily.

(Silver was flat out fast asleep, then woke up and saw us.  He immediately stood up – my three original Minions looking so well.  Always friends.  It makes my heart warm to see them together like this.)

The others were not very far away, mooching about and grazing.  We were surprised to see them in the hill park as the gates are open to the greener side.

Lilja looks like a supermodel compared to her new and obviously devoted admirer, Tiddles.

She is a very pretty girl with a gorgeous head and expression.

And yes, we’d brought carrots.

Tiddles is not very good with a whole carrot – he prefers them cut up into manageable sizes – and managed to drop his down the other side of the old drystone wall.  I saw him searching desperately so I fetched it out for him.  He was most grateful.

Then we sat on the rocks to chat with those that wanted to.  Despite being well into Spring now, there was a brisk wind taking all the warmth away.

Watch Waffle’s nosey making investigations worthy of an elephant’s trunk.

Lots of kisses bestowed.

I could sit all day with this herd.  It is always entertaining.

Anywho, they all seem fine and no one is missing the big mares at all.

Again, it is another case of mother, what mother?

So all is good here.

To the Museum

I haven’t been to the Shetland Museum at Hay’s Dock, Lerwick for ages but they had recently been loaned a beautiful painting as part of The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour.

We started our visit upstairs where the Shetland knitwear and textiles were exhibited.

I love the old-style Fair Isle all-over pattern. Stunning.

I think I need to go back on my own for a day and just take it all in properly.

There is so much to learn.

I want this hat (both).

Going downstairs we were greeted with this incredible view.

Hanging like they were floating in the air, were the historical stunning Shetland wooden boats.

I need to go with my better camera.

Downstairs was more agricultural, history and geography.

There was an original Skekler’s outfit – “Skekling is an old Shetland folk tradition. A Skekler is the name for a type of disguised person dressed in a distinctive straw costume; it is a variant of the term ‘guiser’. Skeklers would go round the houses at Halloween, New Year, and turn up at weddings in small groups performing fiddle music in return for food and drink.”  Museum of Witchcraft & Magic

(Personally, I think I would shit myself if someone turned up on my doorstep wearing that!)

Shetland ponies didn’t feature as much as I wanted them too, though. I feel they are just as an important part of Shetland’s history as the knitwear and weaving – though I may be very slightly biased.

This is a pack saddle, “klibber” with the woven net “meshie”.

The ponies wore them like this (Icelandic look about them).

This carving depicts Shetland ponies walking “The Nill Road”.  They have woven baskets, “kishies” full of peat, on their klibbers.

The St Ninian’s Isle Treasure was on display.  Found in 1958 by a local schoolboy under a cross-marked slab in the floor of the early St. Ninian’s church, it is dated c.750-825 AD.  These are replicas.  The originals are kept in Edinburgh at the National Museum of Scotland (harrumph).

Can we have the originals back, please?

Stone Age implements – the knife blades in the box below were found in Stourbrough Hill (the large hill behind my croft).

An oval house, similar to the one that would’ve existed in Leradale.

From henceforth, I will be looking out for stones shaped like this.

And at last we found the picture – A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling, (Anne Lovell?), about 1526-8, oil on oak by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Amazing and thank you to the gentleman who put me right about “The Flanders Mare” story.  I was floundering in inaccuracy!

I need to go back.


Over breakfast Daisy, Flossie and I discussed our Cunning Plan.

Then armed with buckets and headcollars, we went over to Leradale and executed it.

It was basically catching the Icelandic mares, Hetja and Brá plus Fivla (old beloved Shetland pony mare) and leading them into the small fenced haypark so Lilja would follow.  Then turning around, taking Hetja and Brá out leaving Lilja with Fivla for company.

Hetja and Brá walked into the horsevan without looking back (with the help of two feedbuckets strategically placed) so they too busy stuffing their faces to shout for Lilja and off we drove to their new field, 4 miles away.

Then Daisy went back to check on Lilja who had been let out of her haypark and was in with the Minions.

Apparently Waffle (and Silver) were being bossy.

Tiddles was ever the gentleman.  Darling Tids – never nasty.

The sun came out after lunch and I went to work.  En route, I checked Lilja again.  She was with Fivla.  Perfect.

Fivla will always look after her new charge and teach her everything she knows about being the nicest horse ever.

As I was leaving, Lilja followed me to see the others who were grazing nearby.  Silver had got over himself.

Note on the left Fivla is following to take charge of her “daughter”.

Lilja wants to make friends.  Vitamin and Waffle were sulking elsewhere.

I left them all grazing happily and peacefully.

Meanwhile, en route to Sandness to pack veg, I went via the mare’s field.  I doubt they’ve lifted their heads or moved.

So, we’ve done it – successfully weaned Lilja.  It was a day I was dreading.  Thank the Gods for Fivla –  still one of the most useful ponies we have.