I had decided to park up at Victoria Pier at around seven'ish, which I had judged would have given time for the daytime shoppers and office workers to get home but be too early for those heading for a night out, so I left in plenty of time to not only be there, but to visit the Lerwick Marina where I wanted to meet with Tommy Duncan a Shetland sailmaker.
The reason for wanting to meet him was the scooter cover which had come with the Wretched Rack was pretty well worn out before I had even reached the north coast of the mainland. It looked about five years old before it was even five weeks old, and the interior finish which I would guess provided the waterproofing had simply fallen off, leaving the scooter shrouded in grey powder. So thinking that a proper canvas type fabric would be a better way forward I had asked around whilst up in Shetland and Tommy's name had cropped up each time.
It was explained to me where the Marina was, with the fatal words added..... You can't miss it..... which of course I did and ended up on a small industrial estate. Stopping to ask at one of the units although they didn't know precisely where I was headed they at least pointed me in the general direction.
Worryingly as I pulled up at the Marina all the alarms came on telling me that the automatic jacks were down. I checked and all seemed ok, but felt I had to phone back to the Bus Depot. Jason the electrician there is a really helpful guy who is on top his game as far as knowing how things work, and it was fortunate in that being at the Marina there was an electrician who could look everything over while Jason talked him through it. The upshot was that there was some sort of fault with the motor working the jacks. Though they were unusable until replaced it wouldn't stop me driving Thebus.
Hmmmm.... It was three months and a week since I bought Thebus. Watch this space. At present after some internet research it appears that the American manufacturers 2010/11 when Thebus was made, were using a Chinese made motor which has known defects.
Anyway..... Putting that to one side for the present, my even more pressing problem for the day was how to empty Thebus waste tanks. Since arriving on Shetland I had only twice managed to empty the tanks and then only with great difficulty. It seems that the sites here are simply not geared up for larger motorhomes. In the end I phoned the Water Authority who after a round of calls arranged for someone to meet me at the Fire Station!
So having sorted that out, and found Tommy, who was busy painting boats down at the Marina I thought I had better get myself parked up for the night on Victoria Pier. What I hadn't realised when I did my Sunday afternoon reconnoitre was that on the weekend most of the guys who live on the barges are away, but in the week they are all back, and so are their cars, and also the buses ready to take them off to Sullom Voe early each morning.
There was no hope of me getting on at all, so I decided to park up a the old caravan park which though due to be closed was possibly still in operation – certainly all the signs were currently in place. So following the well marked route I arrived to find the gates closed and padlocked. There was nowhere to turn, but I wasn't worried as the large road continued on round a building and obviously met up with the road again. It was only when I was nearly at the road that I realised they had closed and paddlocked the gates there as well. It was much too far a distance to reverse, plus I would have had to go round a blind corner. Nothing for it but one of my famous twenty six point turns.
The camping site had been closed to make way for a new school which would be able to make use of the playing field already there, and being early evening the sporty Shetlanders were out in force. I would guess there were quite a few missed passes and kicks as they worried about their cars parked right by where I was trying to turn
Looking in the mirrors and camera I couldn't see properly for the late low sunlight, but the ground rose very slightly and of course Wretched Rack kept catching. Then, dashing up to help me out of my predicament came the lovely couple I had met at the Bonhoga Gallery. Having got me safely turned round they insisted on showing me a good place to park up and also offered to give me a lift down to the pier ready for the boat trip. How very kind.!
TOMMY DUNCAN - SAILMAKER