17 November 2010.

Christina Baldwin said of ‘Close-Knit’ by Julia Douglas ‘I love it and I guarantee so will you.’

‘Having spent the last couple of years researching Badbea and perhaps getting a bit bogged down in the details, I opened a brown paper parcel in my mail box today to be instantly transported to that so familiar place. But this was a fresh approach and I was soon chuckling to myself. By the time I got to the old knitted chanty I was laughing out loud. I wonder if his niece Catherine had to take the chanty to John Badbea Sutherland with his rheumatic fever and aches and pains. He says he couldn’t do anything for himself. I hadn’t thought of that before but neither had I realised it could be tragic and yet comical.

And who would have thought of writing a spoof as a Caithness sales agent that actually tells a true story – both witty and delightful, yet still reflecting the tortuous conditions at Badbea. The details are substantially correct – not surprising as Julia and Lorna Jappy went to Badbea, sat down on some front door steps and played house.

After reading page 42 I got out the old photo of Christina Sutherland and had another long look at her beautiful hands that had worked so hard to sustain her eleven children. Bless her.

So – I received today from Julia Douglas’ on-line shop www.baffie.co.uk a copy of her book Close-Knit – a collection of the works she did during her residency at Timespan in Helmsdale this year. If you are still wondering what on earth you could give your beloved for Christmas then think no more. This is book will not only have pride of place on your coffee table, it will actually help explain to all your puzzled friends and relations why on earth you have been immersed in the Badbea story for so long. I love it and I guarantee so will you.’

Regards Christina
New Zealand