Monday, July 21, 2014

A Picture Post

Well I'm back from my holidays and back from a typical Monday at work, it already seems like a long time since I was away - how is it that 24 hours can feel longer than 2 weeks? To get over the shock to the system coming back to Leicester always is I'm planning on a few picture based posts to remind me of time away (shamelessly self indulgent but there you go...).

My yearly pilgrimage to Shetland is partly because I love it there, in some way it will always feel like home, and they have a lot of Puffins (who couldn't love Puffins) but mostly it's also for the people. My father has finally slowed down enough for me to keep up with him (well almost) and there is other family as well as friends all of whom I'd like to see much more often than once a year. There's also a bitter sweet element to that though - we're all getting older (as somebody who's last birthday had a zero in it I'm a bit over sensitive about aging at the moment) but even so there's something about seeing someone hit 80 (and seeing 80 hit back) that's an effective memento mori. All of which was meant to be a breezy lead up to some photos of a fabulous Victorian house in Unst, which means you can add most northerly in Britain to it's general claims to fabulousness too.

To get to Unst you have to get to mainland Shetland, travel north, take a ferry to Yell, cross yell, and then take a final ferry to Unst (unless you have a private plane in which case everything is probably easier) it takes a while. Buness house isn't actually Victorian - that's just when it appears to have had it's last major redecoration. It belongs to the Edmonston's who have been there for something like 400 years and who believe the site goes back to Viking times - quite likely, Unst is stiff with Viking remains. It used to be a bigger house but the current owners mother decided it was more space than she needed so she had a wing blown up. It's currently a B&B but if you plan on staying in it bear in mind your host is now 80 and it's always been a little chaotic.

I've known the Edmondston's for 25 years but have only visited 2 or 3 times so just in case this was my last chance I took some pictures of the nursery which was decoupaged around 1900. From a distance it's stunning, light, bright, cheery. Up close some of the pictures are a bit more worrying...
 If anybody at all would like to take a guess as to what's going on in the picture with the naked girl tied to an alter, some worried looking puritan parents, and a monk... On second thought perhaps best not to speculate. And as for the young lady with the candle and the come hither look - she's definitely a corrupting influence for a young mind.
 After the nursery it had to be the library. It's mostly military memoirs and other equally gentlemanly books, including a lovely run of Blackwoods magazine from the 1850's. i wish i'd had a lot longer to explore (be blatantly nosy) but time was short so I settled for a few pictures and came away with a burning desire to read Wellington's dispatch notes.


  1. Thanks for a lovely journey into bygone times, showing how outlooks change. I think the most interesting book on the shelves is 'The Tragedy of Winston Churchill', written when he was 57, and considered a political has-been. It is heartening to note he didn't become Prime Minister until he was 65, which is inspiring to anyone who thinks their best times are in the past!

  2. I have a few more book pictures, and wish I had taken more, and had more time to spend there. It's a fascinating collection and is a fascinating house.