SALLY AT SANDWICK
Marina and I had arranged to meet up and visit the Bonhoga Gallery on Saturday, plus on the same day I was visiting Sally and Gary who had been kindly taking in the endless parcels of the things 'I didn't know I needed' - I had already received a couple of emails from her saying, did I know how many things were arriving - but I assured her it was more packaging than items, and hoped I was right!!!
I had somehow got the names of the places confused, my only excuse is that there are a lot of places ending in 'wick' in Sheltand. Here it apparently means beach. where I came from 'wick' as a place name ending stood for white, which is the colour of the salt that is so vital for life and which was traded across the country, and places with that ending were on a salt trading route. Droitwich of course was where they mined it, and many placenames will have it repeated as in Whitewick, the original meaning of the word having been forgotten, then superseded by later settlers. I wonder if the salt on the beaches here was used for trading when the seas were the main highways. Certainly I can imagine the Shetlanders doing a roaring trade in dried and smoked fish for the raiding and trading ships of the day, as well as salted meats of various sorts. I haven't yet got round to trying the Reestit Mutton, other than it was probably in the lovely Mutton Soup I so enjoyed at the Up Helly Aa
I also want to try the Shetland salt beef before I leave for Orkeny and the salt beef Much as I have enjoyed my time here, the stunning scenery and the wonderful people I am already thinking and planning for when I move on. Probably the West Highlands next, and then maybe the Western Isles would be lovely to see.
Still back to Saturday – having completely confused where I was supposed to be I managed to let Marina know, but being so near visited the Bonhoga Gallery anyway I decided to pop in as everyone here said how lovely it was, and they were right. It is an old converted mill with a gallery of local art on display and lovely things to buy – one good thing about Thebus is that I cannot be tempted too much owing to space and weight restrictions. The scones and cakes in the cafe, all freshly home made, came in a bewildering array of flavours and tasted as good as they looked. Whilst sitting and munching a lovely Shetland couple came in and asking if Thebus was mine then sat at the table with me and had a good old chinwag, and afterwards we went out to have a look round inside.
When I started travelling someone said I would show more folk round the bus than ever I showed round the house I was selling, but considering the agents only showed one couple round I don't think that would be difficult.
So on down south to meet the lovely Sally and Garry. I managed to miss the turn once again, and stopping to ask an elderly couple (well about my age probably :-) Thebus got lots of admiration from them, and the gentleman said as they were only out for a walk he would get in and show me the way. I pointed out that there was plenty of room for the two of them but he said - no - the wife needs the exercise! And left her to walk home alone whilst we made it to my destination!
Though it was a bit tight I managed to squeeze Thebus on Sally and Garry's drive next to their own campervan. There would have been lots of space, but they are having major renovations done on the house so there are various piles of 'building stuff' outside. They have bought a most interesting property here – it is an old Manse and dates from the early 19th C. Its a fascinating subject as to how Christianity and the church developed in Shetland, when I have time I will try to do some further reading on it. There are so many ruined churches but many active well cared for burial sites.
But once again back to Saturday. Sally is a most interesting person, extremely artistic, and completely self taught, she is also a Dog Behaviourist and has appeared on some of those TV programmes. Loving dogs Phoebe was welcomed into the house, though the resident Tollers were not all that keen on the idea of such a large visitor. Sally cooked us the nicest cheese souffle I have ever eaten, and a delicious pudding to follow so we had a happy evening.
These are some of the beautiful hand carved birds she produces. The first ones she made were meticulously hand painted, but as with all artistic talents they develop different interests over time, and her latest creations concentrate on the beauty of natural wood. Photographs of 3D sculptures cannot reproduce the qualities of the pieces in the round but I have done my best, plus Sally has sent me some of hers. She is an amazing lady
She and Garry both love it up here in Shetland, and having motorhomed for over twenty years all over the continent are in a good position to make an informed choice about where to live, and they have wisely chosen Shetland
ST NINIAN'S ISLE