Saturday, 26 October 2013


Over 1000 hits, thanks very much, didn't think it would be so popular.

This week has been dominated by poor weather, with heavy rain throughout. Similar to that in Shetland. Tonight I am giving an illustrated talk on Shetland down at the other side of Sheffield near Endcliffe park an area we know well as we lived there for 15 years after getting married. I also lived there for over 40 years in total, man and boy ! before we both moved to the south side of Sheffield.

One thing that has happened both in Shetland and Sheffield is that the small shops have disappeared. As a lad I remember that on our road we had two corner shops which seem to sell everything. It was more than a shop really as it was a place to share information and where people cared for each other. The shops even delivered food to the house bound and would get items that they wouldn't normally sell.
                                                                                          Two supermarkets in Lerwick

In  Shetland we have seen the biggest change on Unst, with all the shops closing at Haroldswick and Uyeasound, leaving only the ones at Baltasound. Overall the problem is that around 1/2 the population left the island when the RAF decided enough was enough and now around 500 people are left. Its far worse on other islands but on Fetlar the shop/ cafe is still running have been taken over twice in recent years.
                                                                                                 Cafe with a difference

Every shop has to be diverse to survive now that Supermarkets control things. If fuel was cheaper in Shetland i think that even more people would travel to Lerwick to shop in either the Co-op or Tesco.

                                                                                   Shop at Uyeasound Unst now long gone

Of cause if you can think up something original then you might just survive the onslaught

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Changing times

Having now reduced our price by another £5000 we have had 4 more couples round, but the same old problem still crops up, the small garden.. That's one of the reasons we reduced the price yet again. Another one said they would have to replace the carpets to something they liked.

Today, the younger ones don't seem to grasp that they can do what ever they like once they have bought the house, they expect everything perfect, without doing anything to it. We Diane and I got married we had to save for every thing, having second hand things and other handouts from family and friends got us through some difficult times, even had the killer 15% interest rates to cope with. How times have changed !

The weather has taken a turn for the worse with rain most of the week and strong winds. We have talked about when the move will happen and we are agreed that any time of year would be good as we are getting a bit frustrated with the viewers, Of course winter is always going to be the worse time with the weather a major factor, but we would cope with this.

Had a problem with the starter motor on the Citeron this week and twice had to bump start it. Good job Sheffield is hilly. The AA managed to get us to a garage but we were ripped off when they said it was something else, despite me saying it was the starter motor, and yes it broke down again a day later. This time we managed to get it to a reliable garage which we have used before and got a new starter motor.The first garage didn't know what to say when i returned but they wouldn't give me any money back even after heated words , certainly wont be recommending them to any one.

Would have considered this when we moved to Shetland, a great little hut at Grutness, a great spot. Now this has been demolished- very sad.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Changing Times.

It now feels more like winter has come, the rain falling, foggy and cold days arrive in force. But even though Shetland is considered to have a harsh climate it is often has better weather than down in England, check out last winter for instance. We do have compensations, the leaves on the trees have just started turning, it seems to get later each year, at one time September was thought to be the best month but now November has the better colours. I think this is going to be one of the things I will miss.

Everyone who has been on the Autumn colours photography course I run, always goes away loving trees

This week we tried to move things on a bit , as we reduced the price of out house having had no viewings for three weeks. Now we have three couples coming to view tomorrow, we keep our fingers crossed. If things happen then we would be looking at a move around Christmas.

With the Power companies increasing fuel costs again it makes you wonder how many more people will not be able to afford to have the heating on this winter. Its only going to get worse !

Another reason to get out of a large city such as Sheffield is the crime, new figures have just been published for the April - August period in South Yorkshire which has had 2523 burglaries and 5054 vehicle crimes and its getting worse. Also Fire arms were used 30 times over a year in one area of Sheffield. Most of this drug related.

Tickets are going well for my talk on `Shetland' on the 26 October in Sheffield, over 30 sold and more hopefully this weekend. All proceeds to St Augustine Church. The Power point presentation has been finished and will include many images from this years visit.
                                                                    Shetland has the best `White House'

Friday, 4 October 2013

Island Travel

Did you see the Grand tour of Scotland programme on BBC Scotland the other week it featured Foula and Fair Isle, neither have we been to.We did try once but as Foula was fog bound we never made the trip. On one occasion we talked to a couple who had been to Foula the previous year and had set off from Tingwall on a small plane, how ever as the day progressed the fog came in and the plane was unable to land. At the same time the sea was rough and they couldn't even get the boat in either, so for three days they were stranded on the island and missed the ferry home !

                                                           Ferry to Fair Isle anyone- must have good sea legs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Living on an island, well small island is totally governed by the weather what ever the time of year. Looking back to last Christmas the ferry couldn't get into Lerwick for several days so Tesco hired a Hercules transporter and flew food in time for Christmas, that's what I call service.

We all complain about the weather but normally living on mainland Britain its not that much of an inconvenience unless it snows heavy, then for the odd day we may be without our cars. Island life is not straight forward, with power cuts sometimes for days, gale force winds to knock you off your feet, horizontal rain it is going to be completely different but that's what we are looking forward to. Yet the good things about Shetland far out weigh the bad points.

The people are very friendly and we have already struck up friendships with a few people, we look forward to hearing alot of live music, which we love, yes the dark nights as well as we want to see the Aurora and photograph the night sky. That's not forgetting the superb scenery, the sunrise and sunsets, the tremendous wildlife, peace and quite, great tasty food and fresh air to fall asleep to, and much more.

Talking about food, well done to Frankie's fish and chip shop at Brae they won the best chip shop in Scotland the other day

All we have to do is sell our house, you would think that someone would buy it, but for the last two weeks we have had no viewers and are feeling a bit frustrated, but we just get on with life as it is now and dream about the day it all happens , when ever that is. It must be the same for others in the same boat, none of the other houses in our area have sold as well during recent weeks and one house has been up for sale for the same period as ours. Anyone know a buyer please !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!