Day One in Shetland: The Far North and Similarities to Old Folks’ Homes

Purple Parking. A frightening bus journey. Checking for explosives. Emma and Nick and much anticipatory excitement. New Scientist on board. The Earth from above. Meringue clouds. A bumpy landing.

Yomping through Glasgow Airport at pace. Sammich. Anger abatement. A plane with a big propeller.

Hang on. Yes, it has large propellers. Alarming. Look:


Anyway. What followed was an explanation of how aeroplanes leave the ground by means of magic elves. I don’t see how what is essentially a fan with ideas above its station can possibly achieve lift-off. But I did learn that filming propellers is really very cool indeed. I have just found out it’s called a stroboscopic effect:

This video pleases me greatly. Please note: I am fairly easily pleased.

Cars with too many people and too much luggage. A Corsa filled with four people, four suitcases, two rucksacks, a camera and a laptop. We had to pedal up the hills…

Scary but helpful ladies in shops; bad Tescos. Tesco is hated on Shetland; it’s putting smaller shops out of business. We visited with a sense of shame, but also shopped in the little shop.

Pubs; chips; conversations in old people’s homes. A pint of Tartan was delicious. Haddock and chips on the harbour wall was absolutely delicious – but I think getting fish and chips wrong on a small island such as this would get you a lynching at the very least.

The Lounge was a very blokey pub – but upstairs was an oasis. There were guitars on the walls, and beer in the taps. The conversation turned to tea, as it is often wont to do.

Emma: “I don’t drink milk, so I don’t drink tea in the morning.”

Me: “Caffeine gives me a stomach ache if I’ve not eaten anything. So we don’t have tea tea.”

Emma: “I like honey and lemon.”

Me: “Oh, we have hot water, and lemon juice, and honey! It’s delicious. Joe makes it.”

Everyone else: “So that’s honey and lemon then?”

Me: “Errr… yes.”

*Gales of hysterical laughter*

Yes. It’s been a long day. But we’re about on a level with the Arctic Circle, so altitude sickness must come into play somewhere…


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