As many tourists do we arrived in Shetland with an interest in history, in my past, in my parents’ experiences when they came here 70 years ago – and even further back than that – how had life in Shetland developed over the centuries? How did the Methodist church take root here? How did people live before roads, motor transport, electricity and piped water?
And then the black and white of the past turned into the colours of today.
The vibrant, always changing, landscape, the ever present sea, the movement of the clouds, the swaying grass in the rarely still wind, and the birds, the flowers, the animals – the sightings of whales, seals, dolphins, otters – are now in full colour (as they were then too of course!). Today these are captured by our digital ‘eyes’ (and shared almost instantly with you), we welcome the ‘challenges’ of the wind, the mist the rain and the rarely changing temperature and enjoy the comforts of our renovated Old Sea Barn, with TV and wifi, washing machine, dishwasher and a handy local shop stocking all the essentials and more!
But three months is more than a holiday, we are no longer holidaymakers or tourists. Three months is long enough to almost begin to live here, it is time to get more than just glimpses of the living 2017 Shetland. Friendships are made, local people share their experiences, community events are sampled – it becomes ordinary, everyday life – the shopping, occasional eating out, getting on with some reading, studying, painting, knitting, responding to emails, making sure we get enough steps in each day (yes we have Fitbits!), reading the local newspaper and watching Reporting Scotland and other Scottish programmes – asking questions, ‘googling’ for the answers.
So as we approach the end of our stay- and yes, we are being asked if we would ever come and live here – and yes, we are saying that we feel we probably could live here, but probably won’t – it is time to share something of the ‘living Shetland’.