Sunday, 20 November 2016

Weather changes

After a superb October we have now moved into the depths of winter. Dark nights arrive earlier but doesn 't bother us as its an opportunity to get outside and see the Milky Way or the aurora (see more at

The winds usually pick up to Storm force , occasionally Hurricane force . Bonfire night was affected, so in Sandwick it took place last night, which was completely still and a clear night

                                                                                                   A Selfie

The temperature has dropped and for the last few days it's been a question of scrapping the ice off the car windscreen in the morning. You have to be careful where you go out at night as the gritters stop around teatime. One problem here is that there are ditches at both sides of the road to drain off excess water coming down the hill, this doesn't allow any leeway if you skid.

We have had our new all weather tyres fitted recently so will be better off than those that don't, we have seen too many cars sliding into other cars or off the road, so you need to be as safe as possible.

The cold weather has now tested our new heating system (Electic storage heaters) which is good, far better than the air - air heating which is only ok for Spring / summer use. Bills have started to rise, in Shetland we have around 40% fuel poverty.

Its a lot more expensive here than down in England, with little choice of alternative systems. you could try oil, but that is very expensive or solid fuel but you get to a point where you don't want the hassle of cleaning the fire out.

Gas which is cheaper is not an alternative as there is no mains supply. We have bottle gas for cooking so at least we can make a drink if we get a power cut, which is more likely in winter.

Power cuts are less frequent than in years before we moved up, but still occur, however the engineers are out in all weathers including gales to ensure we get reconnected quickly

Don't forget you can still order a canvas in time for Christmas, see

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Odd Visitors to Shetland

With two Russian Bombers escorted away from British airspace near Shetland, it  came as no surprise that the Russian planned to sail a fleet of seven heavily armed warships close to Britain on the way to Syria.

It planned to practice bombing off the coast of northern Scotland and come within a mile of the UK limit as they journeyed through the English Channel

So HMS Richmond turned up in Lerwick ready to take action if required. Although to confuse the Russian according to the Royal Navy website it was still berthed in Portsmouth not actually in Shetland.

On a lighter note

It was interesting to hear about the North Isles awards, here is the criteria:

1. Unsung hero
2. Best Beard in the North Isles
3. Cheeriest Crofter
4. Funniest Person
5. Friendliest Islander
6. Most Caring
7. Best wearer of a Boilersuit
8. Nicest Ferry person
9. Best smile

This is for those living in Unst, Yell and Fetlar.

I love lamb, especially Shetland lamb and we normally get it direct from the local farmer. In the Shetland Times this week it came a bit of surprise to find that prices have tumbled to as little as 50 p per animal. Most going for £5 per animal but some small lambs 0.50 p.

This is making the native Shetland lamb flock unsustainable. How much are you paying for 4 lamb chops at the supermarket ? bet it is more than £5.

Better news on the Shetland fish front with news that Shetland landed more fish than England, Wales and Ireland combined. Over 72, 000 tonnes of fish and shellfish worth £61 million were landed here in 2015.

This represent over a 1/4 of all fish landed in Scotland. Interestingly the EU catch (including UK) landed 450,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish worth around £300 million all caught within Shetland waters. Hopefully leaving the EU will generate a massive boost to the Shetland fishing industry creating more jobs- that's providing the government doesn't barter it away.

We have now moved into a cold period after a brilliant October. Cold winds from the north in the last few days have resulted in the heating going up. We don't have too many options in Shetland, no gas so electricity at a higher cost than England has to heat our homes.

We hope that the new Quantum and other storage heaters are better than the Air- Air heating which was a disaster, hardly providing enough heating in winter. We have left these in for light summer use. The smell of peat is now in the air although its not an option for us.

To see more photos please go to

Next week , 7 November I will be giving an illustrated talk to the WI Boddam Group on Sheffield & Peak District and on the 17 November an illustrated talk on Night Lights to the RVS social group at Hoswick.