We are 60 Degrees North

It's a bit windy today!

                       A short trip down to London with one of my pupils went successfully. We went to the Royal Opera House to the ballet and did some sightseeing over the other days my pupil was free, visiting Chinatown, Tate Modern, Bloch for a pointe shoe fitting and saw a play about womanís rights. My mate Dave and I went out to Putney to see our old colleague who we had worked with in Germany. She had succumbed to a major stroke that had made it necessary to put her into an induced coma till the doctors were sure that she was able to breath on her own. It was rather saddening to see her in such a way, but she recognised us, I showed her the video I made of the curtain call and she reacted really well to that. Her 80-year-old mum is in most days to stay with her and keep her company. 


The way to travel around London now is by Oyster card or failing that if you have a contactless debit card then you use that. It cost me about £68 using the train and underground over five days!London is ridiculously pricy now, £5 for a pint of beer! 


Flying back to Shetland tomorrow sadly but also glad to get home again! Waking up in the morning with a frog in your throat and blowing a nose full of blackened snot shows how filthy the air is in London despite the congestion charge and other pollution reducing initiatives! One major attraction about getting home to Shetland is the fresh air! It was a bumpy flight on both legs but if you fly to London City airport via Edinburgh then it is quite quick! On the way back we were delayed at Edinburgh because a Co-pilot had gone off sick and the airline had to scramble around to get a replacement. One literally turned up when we were all on board!


Back in Shetland now and back to the work routine. Iíve been teaching some private classes on the Saturdays for a few pupils and itís been quite rewarding seeing how some of the youngsters responded to a bit of in-depth tuition. One of my little Polish girls stunned me by whipping off some immaculate double turns, surprising even herself!


Filming in the library on Sunday, this was for the Scottish Ballets digital season coming up in the next few weeks. I decided to reuse something that I did in 2008 but develop it specifically for the library layout. Based on a childrenís story in dialect and some very talented musicians, plus one very good cameraman who shot and edited the whole story very nicely. Iíll put the link up on my FB page for it when it goes live.


Various ballet projects in the pipeline. I am also putting a workshop together for August this year which has been taking a bit of negotiating and wonít be cheap but Iím hoping it will work well like it did last year! I have David Plumpton, a rather famous ballet pianist coming up with a super jazz tutor called Adam Scown so its rather exciting! Plus, my ex pupil Emily whom Iím trusting with the contemporary classes! She was good last year, and I was impressed with her so she gets to teach with David accompanying her.


Son has own flat finally! In Scalloway, a one bedroom flat moving in on Monday 29th April. Itís been very nicely decorated, and his mother got a bargain bundle of furniture from a friend.


BBC Ten Pieces, not much to say on this seasonal event except that nothing is happening yet so I guess it will all be a bit of a mad rush at the last minute. I have some ideas but again it depends on who is available at the time as it is the school holidays after all.


I was driving to work this morning and had just driven up the hill out of Quarff onto the Fladdabister straight when this black car roared past me, I was going just under 60! Then another black car roared past me, silly jack the lads playing around, and they vanished off to the curve In the road then the front car slammed on its brakes followed by the second car, the first car pulled over to the side and the second car passed it and pulled over. A large burly man in black got out and walked over to the car behind and he put both hands on the car door. I had had to slow right down rather quickly, angrily flashing my lights and as I passed it was only then I saw the dash mounted flashing blue light on the front car! First time Iíve actually seen an unmarked police car in the isles so good to see that they are doing their job!


We had all been invited to our band leaderís wedding in Brae a few weekends ago. We decided to throw a surprise and play at her Hamefaerin so we met several times over a couple of weeks and rehearsed a number of tunes and got a huge card with all our photos of us playing our instruments on it and some T-shirts for her and her husband. One of my fellow trombonists picked me up from my house after I had got home from teaching all day, it was a miracle I didnít crash out asleep on my bed, and we arrived at the Brae Hall all covered up in coats and sweaters so the bride couldnít see we were all wearing our Shetland wind band T-shirts on underneath. We eventually managed to cycle off and get our instruments and be ready and the groom managed to distract the bride by taking her up to the other end of the hall to talk to guests while we all snuck in and set up very quickly at the other end. She didnít suspect a thing until she turned around and the look on her face was priceless. One of the bands members had written a poem to which reciting it out loud with dramatic flourishes fell down to me and then we played a short selection of tunes which went down pretty well with the audience. We had great fun anyway and it was a nice way of saying thank you to Jane for all her hard work.


Folk Festival coming up! Elephant Sessions are coming back! and an amazing Spanish bagpipe player! But more about that in the next issue!


Last Sunday morning we had the annual gathering for our ANZAC Remembrance and there were a lot of new faces which was nice. Afterwards we went to the Harbour Cafe for breakfast and then in the afternoon me and Low C went out to The Outpost which belongs to one of the group, heís from Tasmania, bit of a character and he has Kune Kune pigs, wallabyís and emu chicks! He said someone had offered him a Salt water crocodile as well but he was having serious thoughts about that.


Iíve had one of my elderly Clients go into respite for a few weeks, so Iíve been too and forth from his house to the care home trying to keep the routine as normal as possible for him! Its rather sad seeing someone get to this stage but I guess its going to happen to all of us eventuallyÖ I am feeling pretty knackered in any event. I woke up the other morning to find that my right ear had blocked completely so its back to heating the olive oil and syringing my ear stuffing it with a ball of cotton wool to keep the warm oil in. Plus, my neck is really stiff along with my shoulder, the one I smashed in 2017, and although of course it is nothing to do the brain scan its all rather inconvenient because it makes sitting for long periods of time uncomfortable! I have another full-length scan at the end of June I think, from top to tail so we shall see what occurs.


Anyway, as I said more about the Folk Festival next month. I need to get this issue out!!


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.