Sunday, 24 February 2013

Ann Cleaves

We are looking forward to seeing the new BBC drama 'Shetland' sometime next month. This has been adapted from the novel ' Red Bones' by the award winning crime writer Ann Cleaves, staring Douglas Henshall. Its not often that Shetland features on National TV, the last time was a three part programme by Simon King on the 'Shetland Diaries' which covered his wildlife encounters during the course of a year. The only other one was many years ago featuring Billy Oddie and his birding exploits,
unless you know otherwise !

                                                                                      Looking north to Fitfull Head

This new drama should highlight not just the life in Shetland but also the fantastic scenery. When we have talked about our move to these northern isles, people have often commented that they imagine a bleak, windswept island, devoid of people and facilities. In fact 22,000 people live in Shetland on 15 islands, over 100 islands in total. Yes there is a Tesco and a Co-op and a hospital along with other shops. There are miles of deserted roads, in superb condition, lots of sports centres and best of all fantastic people, music and superb wildlife. Shetland is a 12 hours ferry journey from Aberdeen, nearer to Norway than Aberdeen, 300 miles north of mainland Scotland, so to some it may seem like we are going to the edge of the world.

We have had some more people to view our house in Sheffield but so far no offers, we knew it would be a lengthy job with some houses in our area taking over a year to sell, not helped by the recession and the high deposits needed by first time buyers. Last week we decided to use one of our two newspaper adverts and got a couple of people interested, but this is only the start of our 4th week on the market.

I have now sent for my driving licence ID and are still waiting for our builders to send a written guarantee for a number of items they have done for us in the past. Both of these are needed by the solicitor at some time in the future.

We continue to de-clutter as some people call it, this started over 6  months ago and is nearly completed. Anyhow what we have will be packed away in storage when the time comes.
                                                                             Shops like this one on Unst have already disappeared!

Not many houses up for sale in Shetland at present, but this is expected at this time of year. With over 300 council workers due to be made redundant and several schools to be closed it could create more buying opportunities in the areas we would like to live. I suspect this may encourage more people to think of leaving Shetland especially the young ones which could spell more bad news for some island communities such as Papa Stour , Out Skerries, Fetlar and Foula.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Well we finally had our for sale sign erected after reminding the estate agents twice.Also had two viewings but its seems the first couple were just out for a day, viewing many properties. They were never very serious about things and we could tell as soon as they walked through the door. When we sold our last house several people told us that they just go out seeing other people's houses as a hobby. What time wasters !!!
                                                                                   Do you want to buy this house ?
We also visited the solicitors, they now hold the deeds to our current house. Before hand we completed several very details forms but despite this we still came away with a list of other things they require. In addition to this we have now both got new mobile phones with Vodafone  Apparently this is the best service in Shetland, however its not so good down in Sheffield as we could even phone each other in our house, things are better outside.

I am still undecided on which internet provider to go for once we have bought a house in Shetland. Shetlink forum gives many cases where the internet is a major problem no matter which provider you have as everything is channeled through BT. Many have very slow connections or none at all. Our friends in Shetland Beryl and Maurice have the Post office phone and broadband and they say they have had no problems, so perhaps we will try that

As for houses in Shetland. We hope to get one in the Southern Mainland, but perhaps need to be as flexible as possible as there are not many houses to choose from. We do have one advantage in that we will not require a mortgage to buy. It also seems that many more people, perhaps locals,  are now buying a plot of land and then building a home. This seems to be happening alot in the Sandwick area, however this leaves other houses for us to look at. I have no concerns in buying a wooden house, they are far better insulated than stone and have been built for along time across Northern Scotland, especially Shetland and Scandinavia.
Old croft -southern mainland
                                                                                  A White house, much better to be in Shetland

Like in times passed, old crofts are dismantlement and the stone used for new buildings, this has been taking place for many centuries. This is where you can find many settlements built on top of each other, a great example is in the southern mainland at Jalshof. Shetland is a superb place if you like archaeology , it is one of the richest areas in Europe. Many superb sites can be visited easily and without the pressures of being built on, unlike York.
                                                                         Mousa Broch, just one of the great archaeology sites
                                                                                     to be found in Shetland

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Europe's largest Fire Festival in Shetland

On Tuesday night we watched the live web link for Up Helly Aa, this is the second year we have seen the event. Hopefully we will see it live next year. It starts about 6.30 am and goes onto 9am the next day so no surprise that the Wednesday is a public holiday. The weather was not good, with driving rain and up to 80 mph winds but this did not deter the 1000's who watched around 900 or so torch bearers process to the Viking Ship, where they set fire to it by throwing their torches onto the wooden Galley.

This is not the only fire festival in Shetland, they start in mid January with the Scalloway fire festival and continuing up to late march at Delting. Several thousand people set about preparing the event and building the Galley for the next year.

Well our house is now on the Market, we approved the brochure on Wednesday and had a phone call the same day from the Estate agent wanting to book a couple in for a viewing. The sale board is still not up despite telling the Estate agents twice, we will follow this up tomorrow. The couple turned up today for a look round, its always difficult to tell whether they will be interested. They followed this off by telling us that they were just off to arrange their mortgage, I thought they had to be checked out first by the Estate agents!!! We will see how we go on, we had over 50 viewing before our last house sold.

We also confirmed with our removal company, Specialised movers in Sheffield that we now had our house on the market and have got a meeting with our solicitors on Tuesday