Erin Green Author - blog
As a child, I used to see 'the News' once a day at 5:45pm after I'd watched 'Ivor the engine' and 'Jackanory' - yeah, that's how old I am! Anyway, after the News came the weather forecast - this is what I was waiting for. It wasn't the technical magic of today's satellite images but literally a cut-out map with moveable cloud symbols and black knicker elastic defining the 'highs and lows' of the next day. Rarely, any mention of the weather beyond tomorrow - such simple times, hey? Geography is not my strongest subject, but still I used to wonder at the distances, the locations and marvel at those tiny islands at the very top which were sometimes missed off the actual map. Seriously, they'd be cut off and I'd wonder if they weren't having weather tomorrow? Those tiny islands included Shetland ... 'where the ponies come from' was what I'd think.
As I've grown older, my ear has always tuned in whenever Shetland is mentioned based on those early memories. Did they still have days when they had 'no weather'?' Actually, what entertained me was their inclusion within a white box, which became the norm for many years. With my imagination, I'd muse at there being an actual painted line or picket fence placed around Shetland - a bugger for the shipping routes.
Shetland was always on my bucket list so Christmas 2018, I booked a week's holiday inside that white box on the weather map landing at Sumburgh airport in April 2019. I'd booked a beautiful cottage overlooking the clifftop and the North sea - such beauty surrounding me night and day. Let's just say that after the week was up - I didn't want to come home! I'd spent each day travelling about the island, throwing stones at Mavis Grinch (yep, I missed hitting the North Sea!!!!!), watching the puffins nest of Sumburgh Head, admiring the stained-glass windows plus the stunning rainbow upon the wooden floor of the Town Hall and being blown about by the gales at Eshaness lighthouse!
Shetland has many topical issues to address regarding the environment, pollution, wild-life, population, career prospects, education and health/wellbeing. And yes, it seems so surreal to actually see Shetland ponies in Shetland!
I married Shetland's issues with allotments where plot holders attempt to address some of the concerns in their green-fingered community.
The truth is, I didn't want to come home. I would have happily stayed forever surrounded by the cliffs, the rolling sea and the open skies and, a hell of a lot of weather!
During the long train journey home from Edinburgh, I opened a Word document and jotted down notes ... that document became my book 'From Shetland, With Love'.