We are 60 Degrees North

It's a bit windy today!

                              Well I have been growing my beard for this year ‘s production of nutcracker and now I’m beginning to look like a member of ZZ Top. I really need to go to the hairdressers and get it trimmed to something approaching a more Svengali lookalike! I now really cannot understand why people, men I should say correctly, like growing such enormous beards as it really is a pain when you’re trying to eat soup!!!! I mean it gets everywhere and it’s so difficult to clean. I remember my mother going on about how nasty beards were and to an extent I can understand what she means! Anyway, this will be all whipped off after Christmas as I won’t be wearing this when I go on my holiday to Abu Dhabi. Yes, this is all back on after a minor blip in the system. They had been a slight problem with my friends work but it’s all been ironed out, so I am looking forward to seeing her as the last time I saw her was in Auckland 2015.


Nutcracker rehearsals are in full swing and it is only a matter of about three weeks before our first dress rehearsal. We are having to dress rehearsals one for each act as there will be a lot of things to iron out! My living room has been used to construct various pieces of the set out of some very large cardboard boxes that one of my ballet mums provided me with. She is in charge of the council’s IT department. The new Anderson high school is having about 77 new screens put in place in classrooms and they all arrived in their own box carefully packed up. To give you some idea of the size of these boxes, and they are made a very durable hard cardboard, they are 6 foot 6“by 3‘3 “ by 1 foot. We made the soldiers fought last Sunday and there was a success and with a false brick wallpaper glued on the front and side it looks quite convincing. I found some simple Stainglass photos on the Internet and printed those off and we glued those onto the box front with a brick frame around them and from A distance it will look quite convincing. We must do the same with the appearance of drawing room so have some family photos in frames on one side and a Christmassy view out of the window photo on the other flat. I am assured that the Christmas tree will grow to a great height i.e. 3 m tall but It will have to be either pushed up by a small agile stagehand or pulled up via a clean the system and fishing line which is stronger obviously. I am nervously hoping that all this is going to be ready in time and that it is going to work! I think to date this is the most testing and demanding project that the ingenuity of Shetlanders has been called upon to produce. We have had some pretty good stage sets in parts productions made by ballet Dads so here’s hoping. The tree is being made by a team headed by a Polish gentleman who is the dad to one of my pupils who is playing Clara. She is very good and very capable, and I think has a very good potential future as a dancer.


Rehearsals themselves have been fraught with the usual injuries, thankfully not too many, and children simply not turning up because either parents could not be bothered to read their emails or simply forgot or had more pressing social engagements. My friend Izzy who runs the drama Group has similar problems so we both sympathise with each other on that score! 


We have a meeting with the orchestra leader and conductor tomorrow and will be able to find out a bit more information about what they are playing. I know that they are playing the dances out of Act II but I have not actually heard what they’re playing yet. I really need to send someone along to record the rehearsal, so I can have an idea of what is being done or has been done. Still we will just have to muddle by with the best that we have. I will let you know how it all goes! I have a lot of people interested in how this production goes anyway because I have leaned upon a lot of my old mates in the business for useful tips or information on various parts of the choreography. 


Well my sister is now back in New Zealand and is staying with a friend of mine in Wellington. I spoke to high C The of the morning and she told me that she had had coffee and cake with my sister. She also told me excitedly that she had felt her first earthquake while she was at work and I see only this morning that they had a strong earthquake near Kaikoura. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that everything is gearing up to another big one as they had a big one in November last year. They keep talking about “the big one “and I know how scary a big one can be.


We have had some pretty mixed weather here over the last week or so and according to the ever hysterical media we were supposed to experience extremely bad weather with the arrival of storm Brian which swept in from the Azores a few days after storm Ophelia hit us but true to form the stormy weather missed us by miles and all we ended up having was a bit more rain than normal and the usual wind that we expect this time of year


Well it’s almost the end of the month and we have the dreaded nonsense called Halloween coming up on Tuesday night. I have to go out to a drama rehearsal so this time I shall be prepared as last year I got home from a call out and found that my front door and windows had been covered in eggs and not only that, but aches and broken pumpkin had been shoved through my letterbox. This was at 11 o’clock at night and it took me a good hour to clean up the resulting mass just inside the letterbox. The egg on the door and the windows was much harder to get off and a friend of mine came around with a pressure washer but even that didn’t do justice. This year I am going to tape my letter box up and padlock my garden gate so any little devils or Demons Will be barred from axis! Apparently, a woman down the road from me suffered the same treatment purely because the lights were all off and the car was not there. This sort of vandalism is simply not warranted and is criminal. 


Rehearsals for the show are in full swing. Yesterday the Orchestra were rehearsing downstairs in the main hall of the community centre that we use so myself and the lass playing the sugarplum fairy went down stairs to listen to some of the pieces. When we listened to the Waltz of the Flowers It swiftly became apparent that the music we had been rehearsing to was rather different! I was envisaging this slight problem popping up so today my two dance Captains, as they are called, and myself will listen to the recording I made of the orchestra and try and work out what to do. The actual morning rehearsals we did of snowflakes and flowers went extremely well considering a lot of the children had been away during the three weeks of holidays, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! Again, for a group of youngsters and teenagers who only meet once a week to rehearse it is going reasonably well.


I even had the luxury of being able to sit down last night and watch a little bit of Strictly which again the theme was Halloween! Some of the routines were quite good. I also remembered that the clocks went back an hour so was able to do that before I staggered off to bed. I wasn’t staggering because I had consumed any quantity of wine but because I was dog tired and my feet ached considering!


I must wear compression stockings because of my spiderweb veins and the NHS stockings supplied to me ladder quite quickly and I can only get one pair every three months. So, a few weeks ago I was casting around on eBay and decided to type in compression stockings type one and stumbled upon this seemingly amazing offer of toe less stockings for the princely sum of about 2 pounds a pair. Yes, they were from China, but I looked at the picture of them from all angles, as you can on these websites and read up the gen on them and decided to order a pair of them just to see what they were like. Well they arrived in the post on Friday when I was at work and on Saturday morning getting ready for rehearsals I decided to put them on and wave them for my usual days’ worth of punishing schedule. They were extremely comfortable, and they fitted my heel and the underneath my foot well and the crucial point was that they gripped my calf muscle in exactly the same manner as my NHS stockings which out of interest cost about £30 a pair whereas these stockings at £2 a pair to form exactly the same job! All I can think is that someone somewhere in the supply system UK is making considerable amount of money. I can’t see that there would be any disadvantage in wearing these stockings occasionally as my feet and calves seemed to feel just the same when I took them off as when I take off the stockings I get given here. I shall be ordering some more of these just as a reserve supply because some of the stockings are used to wear that were prescribed here the manufacturer has actually stopped making them now which is a shame as they were really good ones and very comfortable even though when driving they did ruck up under my toes which is an extremely annoying thing.


I have been putting together a parcel of goodies to send my parents and daughter and when I asked my father what he would like sent from the UK he said Imodium! These tablets are for stopping diarrhoea and other symptoms like IBS. However, in New Zealand the drawback is that six tablets cost about £5 to £8 a packet! And here you can get them for £1 a packet!! They carry out the same function. However now you cannot be going to the supermarket and buy six packets ago because if you scan them in the machine told you you are only allowed to buy three packets. When I questioned this, I was told by the shop assistant that it was probably because you could overdose on them! Well yes Paracetamol definitely but tablets designed to stop you fouling yourself??! Anyway, I simply went and paid for three packs, which I was allowed, and then went back to the shop later on bought another three packs. When I asked my daughter, High C, what did she want for Christmas? She said that she really missed Jaffa cakes! So, when I went into Tesco and had a look at these, well actually they are cakes aren’t they, the difference in price between the genuine brand than Tesco brand was £2 cheaper and then I discovered in the Polish section that they were selling something called Rasberry Jaffa cakes and these are delicious!! So, she is getting a couple of packets of those as well along with sweeties for elderly parents, sweeties that you cannot get in NZ, so they will be winging their way to NZ at some point. I will have to buy some Christmas cards as well from the Red Cross and write goes up so my dad can post them for me. I am also waiting for my German food parcel which will come probably at the beginning of December. That is something always nice to look forward to! Who knows I may even get to make a Christmas cake this year albeit a bit late on! I have found a nice simple recipe which looks remarkably easy to make ha ha ha! The last one that Low C and myself made was a unmitigated disaster!! 


Speaking of children, I had better get the Nutcracker set out of their bedrooms, so they have somewhere to sleep this evening when they come to visit me! My friend John has been helping me to make soldiers fort and some drawing room flats for the ballet out of these aforementioned boxes which contained the screens for the new high school which opened on Friday to the pupils. We have wallpapered the fort and the flights and printed off photographs and scrounged old curtains and various things to achieve the effect we wanted and hopefully they will look good on stage! We just must get them from my house to the theatre in tact! And not in a high wind!!


Well, I think that is about all that has gone on this month. I can’t wait to get these shows over and concentrate on Panto work. I have to choreograph a dance number for the Pirates…. a bigger bunch of different sized gents, some with two left feet, to the tune ‘Wannabe’ which you may remember was the big hit in the 90’s for the Spice Girls!!! The only slight drawback is that we are doing it as a Tap number so that should be interesting, shouldn’t it? As my good mate Bob used to say ‘Anythings doable’!!




Just as I was finishing this off this popped up on FB. I was aware that a German film crew were filming up and a friend of mine was helping them. So hope you can watch it and see a bit of the lovely place where I live and work!


Toodle Pip!!

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.