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From dusty archives to sandy beaches

Today started out foggy, the sun trying to poke through, with the ever present wind blowing the clothes dry on the line.

I spent a few hours in the archives at Lerwick… research is never done, and the thrill of handling old documents never fades. I think of Ursula Williamson as she writes a letter to the landlord in 1875, saying that she can’t pay her rent that year as she cares for her 99-year-old aunt and disabled sister. I imagine the merchant painstakingly writing amounts owed and paid, how much fish was caught, the names of skippers captured for all time.

The sun burned off the fog and we made our way over the one lane bridges to Trondra and Burra Isle, where we went to Meal Beach and dipped our feet in the Atlantic Ocean. A visitor from Canada caught my eye - a scroll of birch bark had sailed across the sea to lay at my feet on this Shetland beach. The currents often bring gifts from Canada and further south: driftwood and seeds (that they call sea beans). My birch scroll was a welcome sight, a cheery reminder of home.

Rita made a stir fry for dinner, then we watched the evening draw in at downtown Scalloway. The wind has now risen, but the clothes are still on the line (Rita is of the mind that the wind dries just as well in the night as the day, and no matter the occasional stray clothes that periodically get blown astray).

We are finishing the evening with tea and biscuits (I took photos of a sampling of biscuits available at the local Coop). Tomorrow looks to be sunny and clear…


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