Lerwick Day or I Could Live Here

at Da Knab looking across the bay
If you read The Hostess earlier today, her walk along McNeil Bay would be similar to the walk that I took around Da Knab yesterday with my mum's cousin. The mountains are not as high, there are no trees but the islands and the volcanic rock formations remind of the West Coast of Canada.

My parents loved to walk here when they visited Shetland and they had a plaque outside their home in Canada that said "Da Knab" Mum was telling me on Skype yesterday that once someone came to the door and asked if she was "Mrs. da Knab!!!"

I am enjoying the visit to a place where almost everyone is my family. Cousin Johnny is pointing to the man cutting the grass, the man walking his dog, the woman in the garden……He knows them all! I visited my cousin's shop in Lerwick and bought some Sea Salt scarves. I wish that we had this line at home because it would be ideal for our coastal life style. I would really like one of the tin cloth rain jackets for walking. As many of the people here are related, the sizes in the shops reflect a certain homogeneity. As a plump, slightly under 5'4" woman,  I would have no trouble shopping on the main street of Lerwick.  Alas, Madame has too many clothes at home and a jacket could probably be Fedexed at a different time.
a house by the harbour
Along the waterside are many stone houses. Boats can be easily lifted up and apparently there used to be some smuggling carried on. We're very close to Norway. In fact, we were pawned to raise a dowry by a King of Norway in the 15th century but  were never redeemed.
sign in the harbour
As I walk towards the harbour past the dormitory ships for the gas plant workers, I pass the sign that welcomes travellers to the islands. Shetland is such a welcoming place! As you can walk to visit kin, there is a lot of tea drinking. It seems that every Shetlander can be identified by their island of family origin. I'm a Whalsay woman! In Canada, I have lived on the same island for 50 years and do not feel as much at home as I do here! We live in a metropolitan area while the town of Lerwick has fewer than 7,000 inhabitants.

There is a lot of pride in Shetland history, culture and dialect. 2014 is the Year of Dialect and poetry is everywhere on the island. Even in the  public toilet cubicles!
Can you read this?
Having spent 25 years teaching emergent writers and ESL students, I pick up language easily and enjoy reading the poetry. So much to see and to learn, so little time! 


  1. Thank you for the nod to my blog!
    I hope that you will show us your new scarf....is there a link to their shop by any chance?
    The coastline looked very rugged and judging by what you are wearing it must be chilly. Brisk walks are so invigorating...but they tend to give me an appetite.
    The house by the harbour is totally enchanting....I love all the grey stonework.

  2. The wind has been cold Tuesday and Wednesday. The previous 3 days might have been Shetland summer (20 degrees). The walks along the shore are lovely and since I am visiting family I am being offered a lot of meals. The grey stone houses with their beds of tulips are quite lovely. Sea Salt has really great casual clothes for the active retired set.

  3. I love those rainjackets -- no wonder you're tempted!
    You're making me a bit homesick for my family in Northern England -- a different landscape there, of course, but that same sense of connection.

  4. It is wonderful to visit a different part of the world and to feel such a family connection.That Sea Salt line of clothing is perfect for home. It's too bad that they're not available in Canada.


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