We are 60 Degrees North

It's a bit windy today!

                            Well March seems to have zoomed by. I know they say the years go by quicker the older you get but this month has gone by double quick. At the beginning of the month we had a splendid weekend of workshops with Nell Martin, a professional singer dancer whose parents and sister lives up here. Her sister does my Senior classes. I got a very good attendance for both the days of workshops and had the luxury of being able to sit and enjoy watching the youngsters do all the work and they did very well, considering lots of them had never done anything like before. The Junior group especially had a brilliant time. The older group, the next day, were given a slightly harder routine and had to sing as well! My youngest attended this and she found it was rather a hard challenge singing at the same time as moving in coordinated moves! But she made a good job of it.

I was stuck by how good her voice has become under the professional tuition of a lady, who lives here in Shetland and coachís singers, she asked me last year if she could coach Low C. Normally there is a queue of children waiting to get lessons from her! So that was quite an honour! Low C and the choir Veev had done the big Disney themed concert in February, which was packed out, and then a couple of weeks ago they did a mini concert for members of the Shetland Stroke Association in the Baptist church's small hall. Low C sang "A Quarter To Nine" from 42nd Street, one of my favourite musicals incidentally, and it was stunning. The audience loved it and quite rightly so and it was another proud Dad moment to say the least! We were discussing what she wants to do after the concert, well when I could get through the crowd of fans! I would love her to do a professional music theatre course but she has decided what she wants to do so I can't really interfere in her decision, but she does still want to be involved in drama and panto so I guess that is a compromise.

          We have, I hope, finally got rid of the snow up here. We had a freezing cold day on the Saturday then a glorious day of sunshine on Sunday and followed by a thoroughly cold day on the Monday!  Sometimes you just don't know if you are coming or going! I put it down to climate change. Itís happening. This morning for example, it was a beautiful blue sky with sunshine so I did a delicate wash and hung them out on the line and took Middle C into Lerwick for his Dungeons and Dragons session that he does on Sundays, came home and it was just dry, the washing that is. I had just got in the door and it started raining! Iím sitting editing this  edition and just happened to look out of the window, shit!! Itís snowing and quite heavily!! Unbelievable!! But it is! The weather is truly screwed up.

         It was a rather busy week last week with band practice on Monday then teaching on Tuesday,  Wednesday I had to take one of my clients to a film, "The Darkest Hour" which Gary Oldman won the Oscar for Best Actor, it was am stunningly well-made film, good attention to detail, portraying the appointment of Churchill as Prime Minister at the time of the Germans invading the Low Countries and consequent evacuation at Dunkirk. It was a very sobering film and pertinent to the incredibly messy situation that the UK is in today with the alleged 'Russian' ex spy poisoning and the ridiculous gung Ho behaviour of this pathetic excuse of a PM!  I am not going to ramble on as all the ins and outs, unanswered questions, and obvious questions which have not been answered plus the incessant rabid braying by the Tory press, all trying to smear the very decent Leader of the Opposition with their incredible stupid smears and lies, leading to one instance of a Tory MP being threatened with libel proceedings unless he apologised, the whole charade is still rolling on and on, though now the Tories carefully contrived plot to gain the publics support is crumbling around their ears as the public have basically wised up! Now up to date with the Porton Down Chemical research unit saying that they couldnít say this nerve agent was Russian this brings into question just was the PM and her dopy Home Secretary doing exactly? Trying to bring on WWIII? It could have nearly come to that sadly..doesnít bear thinking about. Just shows one thing though. Corbyn was right all along! The local elections in May are just in England and the forecast for the downfall of this regime looks promising though with the large bag of dirty tricks that the Tories have things won't be easy. Anyway, we shall what comes out in the wash! Its all ramping up anyway!

On the Thursday I went to a piano concert featuring Neil Georgeson, a Shetlander and brilliant pianist. He played a wonder selection of dance music, from the very earliest pieces including an electronic piece in which the technology failed him dismally, but it was really interesting! He confessed that the last piece in the programme, an arrangement of Straussís Blue Danube was one of the hardest pieces he had ever played and after he had been playing for a few minutes, his ex-teacher whispered in my ear "that's hard!"! His encore was Chopin's what we in the ballet world know as Les Sylphides, I can't remember the name of the piece but it was played exquisitely and rounded off a lovely evening.

 My week last week finished with a rare visit to Bigton for a Sunday teas and I won a very nice raffle prize of Paul Bloomers postcards which are of the Nativity of which one we used ten years ago for our first show at The Garrison Theatre, so this year we are going to do it all over again slightly revamped!

Tonight, Saturday, I am going out for a curry to celebrate a friends birthday at our local Nepalese restaurant, The Gurkha Kitchen, which is a rather nice place. It is certainly the cleanest place I have eaten in! My mate Jim is the typical gentle giant and was very good to me when I went through a pile of crap a few years ago....

            April is going to be a busy month dance wise as we have a classic ballet film, Giselle, coming to Marcel with Sakharov and Polunin dancing the lead roles and then Scottish Ballet arrive on 17th April and there are workshops in the secondary and primary schools plus a special day for our classes and also my Adult class, who are a bunch of excentric older ladies.

I also have been running some jazz and tap classes in the four weeks break for anyone who wanted to partake, and we have had quite a good turnout.

           The clocks went forward on Sunday morning, so we get back to our long evenings after a particularly nasty winter. True to form, the ferries left Shetland at 11:00 am because of approaching bad weather so we aren't out of the woods yet! I remember having snow at the beginning of May one year and that wasn't much fun! Farmers don't like that because it causes problems with the lambing! Well true to form, the bad weather came last night with a vengeance. In fact, it was quite windy when driving down to work and one strong gust around the Brindister quarry really made my car rock! Just as well there was no traffic coming in the other direction!  I have found that having a dash cam in the windows makes idiots tailgating you back right off!! I really should get one or a dummy one put in the back window!

So, this afternoon I am helping out a film maker by agreeing to be in her short film.  I have to wear my kilt and hope it's not going to be outside! This film is a little bit different in that it is going to European film festivals!  So, you never know! I have made quite a few of these as not only are they fun to do but you never know if you might be 'discovered'!! The new series of Shetland finished last Tuesday, I played the part of a gravedigger! (Strangely enough there is a job for this advertised in the Council's jobs!!) and at the end of the last episode was the announcement that a new series would be showing next year!? I saw my mate, who was the fixer for Shetland in The Co-op and he confirmed that they would be filming in September apparently! So, a bit more extra work on the cards will be useful!

Last Saturday I went to see my old drama group do their Festival entries. A short serious one which won two trophies and it was very good! Then the farce which I would have been in but I was just too knackered after The Nutcracker and panto, so I took a complete break so it did me good to have a break in all honesty as I had a chest infection that went on for ages and then my shoulder that I fell on last year has flared up again and I am waiting for a referral to a consultant in Aberdeen which is taking forever! You would think that they would give islanders some priority as we have more arrangement so to make!

           I've applied for some funding for the ballet school. This is to help Students who want to go and audition on the mainland with something towards fares or accommodation as it is far more expensive for us here to travel off the island especially now we only have one airline! So the prices are not cheap as usual which makes travelling away a pricy thing!! I am toying with the idea of going to Spain to see a friend in Alicante, but it is expensive especially with the exchange rate at the moment.

            Astute readers will remember the unbelievable problems I had with my Germany food parcel last Christmas? The one that the stupid DHL couriers sent to Fiji instead of here? Well my friend finally got some compensation back. 160Ä with no explanation or apology! Still ended 50Ä out of pocket! So she is going to send me some Germany Easter goodies! God knows what she will do if the idiots send it somewhere different again! I kept tracking the parcel after it had left Fiji, got sent back, but it seemed to vanish off the records. Pain in the butt as there was a very nice wooden Nutcracker that my friend had bought me! Wonder where that ended up??

            I was driving to work this morning and just got to Black Get turnoff and thought "Oh great here comes the rain"...It was a bloody snow white out which fell so quickly the road was covered within seconds, and because there was gritting obviously it was lethal! I was on but thought several cars were going to swerve into me!! Still its not the end of March so weather wise anything could happen!!

            Anyway I need to get this edition out as Iíve had people asking me what the hell has happened with the April edition! Just a little late with it all sorry folks!! Come up and visit me here this Summer? Be nice to see some old friendsÖ.

The Web Cam


This is the Da Neuk webcam set up for people who might like to sit and watch a Shetland sunset. We cannot always guarantee fine weather as the weather in Shetland can change very quickly and dramatically even in Summer. With the volcanic eruption earlier this year the weather patterns have been extremely erratic to say the least affecting crops and sunlight levels. However during August and September we do experience some rather sensational sunsets and if you tune in to that address above around 20:45 to 21:30 GMT time then you should see something! Enjoy


This webcam is on the house of our local satellite dish installer. You can see the bay of Spiggie from his camera and Reawick, the small hamlet where he lives. Feel free to log onto this. A very much different view to ours!



All the music played on this website is performed by Shetland Artists. If you are interested in purchasing any of Shetland Music CDs then please do contact me.