05.06.2015 - 05.06.2015
While Rob was at the hospital lab with Geoff, I sat at Fjara waiting for my coffee to come, looking longingly over the grey waves crashing on the rocks. I wanted to see if any seals were visiting today. The lady at the next table and I both saw the one and only seal in the water at the same time and commented to each other. From there we exchanged a few pleasantries and realised Rob was in a meeting with her brother. Sheila and Eddie moved and sat at my table and we talked for almost an hour. They'd 'heard' about Rob from Geoff......and I learned a few things about Geoff from them. What lovely, people! They'd arrived in Lerwick only 1 hr before and the wind had blown them my way.
Yesterday the wind had eased so we went for a sail to bird watch. This morning the wind had picked up and we felt its force at The Sumburgh lighthouse as we observed the birds sailing in the winds off the cliffs.
We were pushing against the force of the wind to stagger up a pathway to where we could see Puffins. We'd been told if we went to Sumburgh and hung over the lighthouse wall we'd see them. We doubted it but set off to try.
Oh what a glorious sight....PUFFINS PUFFINS EVERYWHERE .... nesting, preening, gathering grass in their beaks for their nests that were burrows in the side of the cliff side and mountain banks.
Their cumbersome bodies used that wind to their advantage. They used it to catch a lift to take off, hover before set down, stand tall against the gusts with their mates. They let the wind carry them backwards and upwards to the ledge they were interested in.
We revelled in their beauty, their strength and their ability to use what would appear to us to be adverse conditions, to their advantage.... wise survival strategies. I fear if I'd stopped pushing against the wind I also may have been uplifted, but I don't feel certain the way I'd have landed would have look puffin elegant!
After 37 million photos of puffins we pushed our way back to the car, we were laughing with delight, as children would at their first Christmas.....just the bestest experience.....woo hoo.... we both looked incredibly windswept, but who cared...my hair was really a mess!
We'd driven 35 miles to Sumburgh which is at the south end of the island, to turn around and be guided back by the heritage and craft trail maps.
Jarlshof sat at the end of a winding road. It is neolythic, pictish, viking and medieval ..quite unique site. It is rare to see all the varieties in one location. Storms were to thank for their discovery, as with Scara Brae in Orkneys. Fierce winds can bring good change and reveal what is hidden below the surface.
Munching on grass in the foreground of Jarlshof were calm, friendly Shetland ponies where 3 babies were playing chasy.
Treking back toward Lerwick the next item on our agenda was wool, knitted goods....
The wind of chance led us to a beautiful lady with exquisitely knitted goods and of all the people in the world, it was the lady who knitted the jumpers for the Shetland ponies advertisement, postcards etc seen world wide. Again we discovered Doreen's identity during extensive conversations where she was asking us about us, and we discovered this about her. Ally loves those pictures so I HAD to buy her a scarf and matching beret so she can say it came from the lady who knitted jumpers for shetland ponies.
Great timing...we arrived at the Croft Museum in the hour it is closed for lunch! The strong standing croft house with its tiny doors, was in remarkable condition with a watermill further along the track. In the paddock bordered by grey stone walls 3 Shetland ponies took a two second break away from mowing down knee high thistles for a nose rub. I remember when I was little my dad always talking to me about shetland ponies, so I gave one a huge nose rub from Dad, and took his photo for Dad.
In search of coffee we assumed Quendale Watermill with its water wheel and museum would be a good choice. However, after being held captive to sit through the unrivetting presentation both orally and dvd-ly on the history of the area and the original watermill and its restoration and and and.... we prised ourselves out the door of mr watermill man's hold and gave coffee a miss. We have to catch a plane in 2 days, if we did not escape when the opportunity rose we may have never been seen again, we've have died of boredom! The facts would have been interesting in a summarised version delivered by puffins on a ledge. Picture the IKEA advert.....start the car!!!!!
A quick flit to pick up the laundry from town and a take away coffee from Fjara had us back southwestwards to Scalloway for the museum and the castle. By this stage rain was joining the wind and seas were rough, skies grey and clouds closing in.
We arrived at the Scalloway museum at 10 to 4! Bugger they close at 4! We'll try again tomorrow.
We did put on our car floaties and head into the storm to reach East and West Burra via Trondra and we went all the way to The East House in Burra. Minn Bay, Papil was 350 yards (1km) from the last roadworthy spot. I suggested we tackle it anyway on foot with our wet weather gear on.....Rob suggested we didnt. I suspect it had something to do with 9 degrees, forceful winds, rains and 40 min walk each way. Keeping in mind my asthma's been touchy, I let him win that one. He said we'll come back on a sunny day even if it's 10 yrs from now!
On the windy road back to Lerwick it was peak hour traffic, actually had to stop in passing bays for oncoming cars and at one T-juction there were 5 cars in each direction! I had to slow down for two sheep but we arrived back at The Lerwick Hotel safely.
The view outside our window for this summery day as opposed to Wednesday's summery day is on Face book for you to see.
So despite the weather and other gale forces surrounding us, we made the best of the day. The wind brought changes into lives of those around us, and people into our lives who made a difference today. We watched little birds use big winds to their advantage...reminded me of the Rock and Water program I taught at school. Both elements have different forces that can be positive or negative, it all depends how you use the force as to whether it blocks you or strengthens you. So try sailing on the wind.