I just discovered that the hosting site where I hosted the pix for my profile avatar only stores it for a week, ho-hum. So, to save further fuss, I`m going to host my avatar here...
There you are... Mistress Val, the Spinning Fishwife.
What`s a fishwife? They were women who greeted the returning fishing boats, gutted the fish on the quayside then carried the baskets of fish into the nearest town to sell the fish round the streets.
They were very common in Scotland in the past century, and up to recent times. The last surviving fishwife in my home town of Musselburgh here on the Firth of Forth died in the year 2000. It`s a six mile walk from Musselburgh to the centre of Edinburgh, btw, and their creels (the basket on the back) could weigh up to a hundredweight...that`s 112 pounds! I tried carrying an empty one once, and the strap over my shoulders was biting into me within a minute. Tough, independent, hardworking ladies. Ever heard the expression "She swears like a fishwife"?
Sometimes they even knitted while carrying their baskets. I suppose it might have taken their minds off the walk and the weight of fish on their backs?