Tuesday, 8 December 2015
As the gas plant at Sullom Voe comes to and end of the construction phase, the workforce will start to reduce. You can already see the effect as this week the Gemini - accommodation ship, which was based in Scalloway for over a year, departed south for a refit in Turkey
It was good to see the Gemini lit up during the winter months but now people might look towards the sky, and the northern lights. This week the RVS took a large number of Old folk north to Brae and the Moorfield hotel, this was all down to an invitation by Total who provided the whole event. A great gesture to the Shetland community.
Lerwick Harbour has been quiet this week with only a few fishing boats tied up, but on Thursday the Norwegian training vessel- `Stratsraad Lehmkuhl' arrived bring in 90 Cadets from the Norwegian Naval Academy.
We have been impressed with Westside Electrical which responded to our request for a quote for installing storage heaters, coming over a couple of days later.
The weather is now firmly in winter mode with lots of gales, hail, heavy rain and a bit of snow, temperatures however have increased a bit, but even so added heat will be very welcome. This is no where near as bad as Scotland and NW England where floods have been bad, the worst situation in years
Talking to a friend this week, we found out that our heating problems were small compared to his. His house is out on the west coast, an old property, which has rain coming through in a number of places, the only heat is by a solid fuel burner. To make matters worse, he has had eye problems and not been back for over a year ! dread the think what the condition is like now.
Many Shetlanders have been asked to take part in a survey to find out about fuel poverty. Here we are restricted to either solid fuel, electric , oil or Air to Air all far dearer than gas. The rate we pay for electric is also higher than the rest of the country. This also goes for Petrol, Ferry prices and the general cost of living.
As Christmas is soon to be on us , you realise what choice you have regarding presents. Its no wonder that Amazon makes such profits, but at least we get free delivery. John Lewis is another one that can be recommended but many others charge extra to the normal cost of postage.
The local shop can provide you with unusual presents such as Shetland fudge, Shetland jumpers and Knitwear, lots of great art and photographs and a good number of new books just released. I have two on my Christmas list - Shetland Otters and a photo guide to the Geology of Shetland.
Will it be good or bad, Scotland is due to set its own rate of tax on the 6 April 2016, but we will know what this is in the draft budget on 16 December 2015. Hope its a reduction, could do with an extra bit in my pocket.