Apparently one is not allowed to use the words 'Stitch and bitch' without seeking permission from the originator of the phrase. People have been sued for heaven's sake.
So. Ahem. Without seeking permission from camp-Stoller or whatever, the knitters of Shetland have sensibly gone ahead and retitled the group ' Makkin' and Yakkin''.The Makkin' was always the dialect name for knitting, and yakkin' speaks for itself, so to speak.
So there. My baby grows up and changes her name. Sounds about right to me. Soon she'll start staying out all night, smoking and having underage sex, but me, I'm a tolerant parent. I'll try my best to celebrate her independence, her determination to do it all Her Own Way, her desire to march to the beat of her own drum, but inside ( sniff) I'll always remember that first rainy, dark night when she was born in an upstairs room in the HQ of Shetland Arts.
Talking of which, Donald Anderson from Shetland Arts phoned yesterday to check that I'd had all the relevant bits of paper that I need in order to be paid my writer's stipend for the residency, and in conversation he mentioned that there was snow on Ronas Hill. This, dear reader was almost enough to make me beg, cajole or even bludgeon my entire family into putting our house on the market and moving to Shetland toot sweet. Snow? What might that be, pray?
I remember snow. I remember big snow - serious snow - fourteen foot snowdrifts, endless ski-able hills outside my door, snow that lay for the entirety of Christmas and beyond, snow that inspired my eldest child to build a snow dinosaur that stood taller than me, and longer than our family car. Snow that was playpark, menace, inspiration and danger all rolled into one. Snow that nearly killed my baby daughter and me one cold March day when my car went into an uncontrollable speedy slither and launched itself straight onto the prongs of an oncoming snowplough. Snow that appeared in so many of my picture books from Back Then that I can almost document from those illustrations when, exactly the snow stopped falling in our county.
Snow that makes you glad to be inside. Snow falling when you're tucked up under a warm quilt. Snow that hushes the roads, stop traffic and turns our world into a landscape straight out of Breughel. Snow on ronas hill had the effect of making me desperately homesick for an island that I only know in part.
In the meantime, I'm painting the dragons as if time is running out. The climate change illustrations reached their hideous climax with a spread in near black and white. A drowned world populated only by dragons and jellyfish. A volcano erupting in the distance makes the land look prehistoric, but it's not. It's our land with six degrees of warming. It's bleak and pitiless, but as a concession to the small children for whom this book will become night-time reading, I left out the methane hydrates and general apocalyptic vision of Mark Lynas's terrifying book 'Six Degrees. Our future on a hotter planet'.
If you have no idea what I'm wiffling on about, can I recommend that you read Mark's book? But hurry up - tick, tick, tick, there may not be as much time to change our wicked ways as we used to think there was.