Sunday, 26 April 2015

One year on.

On the 17 April we celebrated our first anniversary of moving to Shetland with a superb meal down at Sumburgh Hotel, one of our favourite places to have a meal- the lamb, fish together with very tasty deserts are as good as anywhere in the UK.
                                                                                                Sumburgh Hotel
We have achieved a lot since our move, managing to buy a house in the first 3 months and get the first job i applied for. I also managed to get a job as a part time tutor with Shetland adult education delivering photography which i really enjoy, meeting some great people on the way.

We have been to a lot more music events than we ever thought possible, often out 3- 4 days a week, and have joined Sandwick Church as well as the local RVS social group. We have made many friends by doing this and made a determined effort to join in as much as possible.

I have started to have photographs accepted by the Shetland Times with two more published this week and have delivered a number of illustrated talks, mostly on Shetland to a number of different groups. Diane has joined the SWRI and the Women's Guild.

There is so much to do and see and the photo opportunities are numerous, sharing these on facebook is just one way I share these. I run three blogs, the other two are:

You certainly feel connected with Sky, land and sea with wide open views, due to the lack of trees and tall buildings. The light has a quality about it, none or little air pollution and only a small amount of light pollution (great for night photography).

We have seen the aurora 8 times, you need to react quickly to any alerts, one thing that was on our and many people's bucket list. The wildlife is superb and this year we have seen many migrant birds, otters, whales, porpoise, Mountain hares and many interesting Orchids.

Another thing we wanted to see was Up Helly Aa and we managed to see the ones at Scalloway, Lerwick and Bigton each different in there own right.

One thing that has cropped up throughout this year is the controversial plans to build 103 Wind Turbines in the central mainland. One interesting letter this week concerns the fact that the court should not  have made any decision on whether or not turbines could be given the go ahead because there is no proof that Shetland is Scottish , the only thing the court acted on was a magazine article.

Since this decision?????, new wind farm projects seem to have been given the go ahead on Yell with a proposed twenty 163 m turbines. Other details of the one for Cunningsburgh have yet to be published, this will be the nearest one to us. More are needed to make the inter connector viable but the cost seems to now have go up to £3/4 Billion , which seems for now be out of reach with the government not committing. For anyone who loves wildlife or the unspoiled countryside lets hope this never happens.

Filming of the new Shetland TV series seems to have been completed for now, they managed to get some great weather which was not what the hoped for. The word is that they had to get a hose pipe out to provide rain as a scene demanded wet weather, It would appear that most folk think that Shetland has continuing bad weather no doubt down to the fact that the weather maps and forecast always shows a black cloud over the islands. The last few days have been very spring like with blue skies, hardly any wind and many daffodils out creating a nice warm feeling.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Life after 60

On Tuesday it was my 60th birthday and I was asked several times do you feel your age or just 6 years to retirement then (66 for me). This so called significant birthday hasn't affected how i view life, I don't feel 60 at all and despite a few aches and pains its life as usual

I have come across a few people that do look and feel older than 60 and they seem to have lost a spark for life. Time is after all just numbers its your outlook on life that's important. One thing that I have held onto is a sense of wonder , Shetland has so much waiting to be discover, life is exciting here, people so friendly and you are also so close to nature no longer wrapped up in a hectic lifestyle of city life, that slows down the pace of life and creates a new sense of being.

                                                                                            Bressay Lighthouse

I am now experiencing many things in Shetland that before i could only read about , and as a photographer its great that I can share my experiences through the photos I take, either on the web ,as part of a group illustrated talk or through teaching photography

So one thing that I now can apply for, is a Shetland Island Travel pass, this is 6 years earlier than it would have been in Sheffield. I am also contributing to the statistics , or to a time bomb ready to go off in Shetland in 2037. This is the date when Shetland will have nearly half of the population as pensioners even though the population is set to grow between now and 2037.

                                                                                                 Bowling Green Lerwick

Many older people are written off and are considered as a drain on the system, but they have much to offer. I work with the care of old people and many are still very active in the community, spending many unpaid hours boosting community care. Yes money may be a problem, anyone being referred to a care home would expect to pay £1,000 per week in Shetland, double that of Sheffield. This money needs to be spent wisely along with other money from the Charity Trust. Even with cut backs the support and quality of care in Shetland is far better than other places in the UK.

People do live older in Shetland and for some can be very active, we remember one lady we met in Fetlar many years ago who was out gathering her vegetables , at 94 year old.  The other day, i had the pleasure in meeting a 95 year old man who was so enthusiastic about life, and yes he had a keen interest in wildlife.
                                                                                           I am back- let everyone know

On the other side of life, the suicide rate in Shetland among the older people is the highest anywhere. Not a cheery thing to take about , but the people at Mind your Head provide a great service and support to those in need. Shetland is different to Sheffield in that everyone seems to know every-ones business which has its good and bad points. Also some people are very private and don't ask for help as they feel that they don't deserve it.

Working for the Royal Voluntary Service has helped me gain an insight into the care system and most important the Shetland people. Also delivering photography courses for Shetland Adult Education enables me to see that there is still a thirst for knowledge and a chance to rekindle a Sense of Wonder
                                                                    Royal Voluntary Service in market house