If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and see how to make these plant pots then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘A twin room with a sea view…’
It’s lovely to feel the warmth of the sun on you when you step off the plane at your holiday destination. The sky was cloudless and I was worried that I’d taken Kim’s advice too literally when I packed for chilly Scottish weather.
‘It’s a shame we might be leaving this heat behind,’ said Julia who was more worried that her freshly waxed legs wouldn’t see the light of day after we’d headed further north to Shetland on our connecting flight.
‘By the way,’ she said, conspiratorially, ‘what happens in Shetland stays in Shetland.’
‘Julia!’ I said, ‘This isn’t an 18-30s holiday!’ And besides, what did she think was going to happen on a remote Scottish island with only a handful of inhabitants?
As we descended the plane steps at Sumburgh airport we could feel the difference in temperature. The sun was still shining but it just wasn’t able to create that hit of heat we’d got in Aberdeen. Phew, I thought, suits me not to expose too much skin. ‘This is going to be great,’ I said, sniffing in the salty air.
We picked up the keys for the hire car at the airport, threw our cases in the boot of the little white Polo and set off on our adventure like Thelma and Louise.
‘What’s that level crossing for?’ I asked when I saw some lights ahead of us. I get a bit nervous crossing railway lines but there were no tracks in sight and no lights were flashing so we carried on.
‘Aaargh, it’s the runway!’ cried Julia. But in a few seconds we were safely over to the other side. There probably wasn’t another plane due to land in Shetland for another three hours anyway!
The rest of our journey to our accommodation on the outskirts of Lerwick was beautiful.
‘Look at that pale sandy beach’ said Julia, pointing to an inlet on the right. There was not one soul around to appreciate it except for us. There was more coastline to the left. Wow, I thought. Can’t wait to go exploring tomorrow.
The landlord of The Cunning Fox limped slowly up the stairs ahead of us to show us to our twin room. We’d requested a coastal view and were delighted we could see Bressay, the island opposite Lerwick, and the sea in between.
‘Lovely view,’ I said to him cheerily. He grunted then muttered the time we needed to be down for breakfast the following morning. He had greasy hair and eyes that seemed uncoordinated. For someone not blessed with social skills, it did amaze me that he was able to look at both Julia and me at the same time, me with his left eye, her with his right.
After he’d left we jumped on our beds like a couple of school girls, excited to have left work behind for a few days.
‘Let’s drink loads and eat the most fattening pub food they have on the menu tonight,’ suggested Julia. ‘We’re on our holidays!’
‘I suppose we can walk it all off tomorrow,’ I said, more worried by the potential hangover than the mound of chips I was planning to consume.
We got changed and headed downstairs to see what was on the menu. I’d not noticed much about the décor when we arrived but now I had time to take in the badly stuffed and mounted seabirds, otters and a particularly gruesome specimen which I assumed was trying to pass for a ‘cunning fox’.
‘Do you think ‘Mad-Eye Moody’s hobby is taxidermy?’ whispered Julia.
‘Yes,’ I answered without hesitation, and I shuddered as my mind ran away with crazy thoughts of our landlord practicing on animals before using the skills on his guests.
‘Well hello ladies!’ said a man of indeterminate age at the bar as we approached. He was wearing slacks and a sports jacket with a cravat and a matching handkerchief in his top pocket. His hair was an unnatural shade of black. Julia nudged me in the ribs and gave him a beaming smile.
‘Hello there,’ she said. ‘Are you staying here too?’
‘Yes, my dear,’ he gushed. ‘This has been my place of inspiration every year for the last 12 years.’
‘Interesting curios,’ I said, attempting to make conversation. I gestured towards the stuffed animals all around the lounge and he proceeded to tell us about how the gruesome fox was the motivation behind the third novel in his Mitchell McTaggart series of spine-chilling crime thrillers.
His name was Giles and I listened politely while he told us all about how successful his books are and then all about his process for writing one new novel every year. I was struggling not to yawn but then I glanced at Julia and caught her twiddling her hair round her finger, looking totally enthralled. Oh, dear god. Please let this not be what she had in mind when she said ‘What happens in Shetland, stays in Shetland.’ ◊
That’s all I have time to tell you this week so you’ll have to tune in again next week to hear what happened. In the meantime, let me share with you the present I made for Laura for looking after Blue while I was away.
How to Create a Plant Pot from a Jam Jar
Look at this amazing cactus! Jaz’s mum gave it to me because it had got too big for her house and she thought I’d be able to split it and re-pot some of the ‘children’.
I wanted to use some old jam jars and some felt to make my new plant pots.
Sadly much of the old cactus couldn’t be saved because the individual elements were so bent and yellow where they hadn’t been exposed to the light. But there were lots of little babies lurking amongst the bigger bits.
Here is my nice clean jam jar with a big helping of small gravel for drainage since there are obviously no holes in it.
Next comes the compost.
Then three little babies from the big plant.
I used felt for the decoration – a wide band of black, slightly longer than the circumference of the jar; a narrower band of blue, the same length as the black piece; enough diamond shapes in two other colours to fit all the way round.
I placed them in position to check that I had what I needed before I started gluing.
First of all I stuck some double sided tape round the middle of the jar to keep the black layer in place while I glued the overlap. Actually, I think I could have gone straight for the tacky glue!
All I had to do was glue the edge down (not glued yet on this picture!).
Then I glued the diamonds onto the other strip of felt.
I squeezed some glue onto the other side of the strip and attached it to the middle of the black strip.
I made a matching one using the same colours but in a different order.
And even let a Mexican get in on the act!
- Wear rubber gloves when you’re working with cacti!
- I thought it might be helpful to stagger the joins of the two strips of felt so they weren’t on top of each other.
- Jam jars
This is a very easy project that you could use for lots of different plants, but I like the diamond design with the spikey cacti.
See you all again next week.
There is a new episode every Thursday. If you’d like a little reminder so you don’t miss out then please subscribe to our mailing list. Rest assured we won’t share your details with anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time.