Saturday, 29 December 2012

Yule in the Valley


















Today was Hannah’s birthday. At 22 and with a First Class degree in Drama she has the world and her life before her. 
Meal Beach, Burra
Tomorrow she must travel back to England to pursue her career. The house will miss her as she has grown into a beautiful, talented young woman. Her chosen career to portray the world to others through acting must take her to the cities where opportunities lie to make her dream a reality. We hope she may find that reality a little closer to home.
In days gone by culture and the oral tradition was rooted in communities. It was prized as the repository of their own history, of moral conflicts, of philosophical judgements and of course of fun. Looking through the prism of modern capitalist society culture and entertainment have become a very tradeable commodity. This has led to rural communities being obliged to accept culture and entertainment defined by business with any regional bodies suffering from poor investment.
In Shetland a new cultural centre opened recently to a baptism of austerity and considerable ill will. Its impact as a community asset was set back in the manner of many public projects. Designed to offend by architects determined to make an impact, it went well over its large budget and now starts its life lumbered by debt and public division over its financial state. The sum total of all this irresponsibility is that the numerous talented young actors and musicians cannot depend on being able to use the facility.

"Found Muji "

Dorota Rychlik, Vaila
In early December our little band of Organic producers, ShetlandOrganics CIC, played host to a Japanese company, Muji. Travelling around large areas of the world they were seeking out produce for their new concept store, Found Muji. Products for them could be anything with no emphasis on volume production, but with complete integrity and traceability. Their researcher had detected our first attempts to market our new concept of NativeShetland Organic wool.  Our concept involves selling a uniquely Shetland product with complete provenance – Muji is the first large company to view products in these terms. They had done their homework and knew what they wanted to see for themselves. We had never met such people in this industry before. They were very courteous and appreciated our efforts to explain things. Of course being invited over to Vaila and a grand lunch by Dorota added an unforgettable icing to this cake. Dorota’s wit, charm and generosity are legendary now in these islands and as it turned out she had spent time in Japan so could swap anecdotes with our guests.
Muji are to return in the summer of 2013. It will be fascinating to see how this relationship develops.


Yule in the valley


The Smithy, Uradale Farm
As a family we have feasted and enjoyed each others companionship. Trips have been made to the Smithy where mulled wine was drunk and tales were told. Everyone is well and Ross, the Vet, is the only one who must stay away. He is now looking after animals in Yorkshire.
 The cows eventually were housed on the 23rd December. Jakob and I fetched them home in 6 trailer loads on a day of very fierce wind and sleet. Dangerous it may have been, but we managed. The cows were very reluctant to move when the hail bit into their soft faces. They were also reluctant to go into the trailer, but thankfully quietened down quickly once they were inside the byre.  Although the animals still need fed, other jobs must now wait for the new year to begin. The best way of coping with the short days of winter is to take a tip from Nature – eat well then sleep long.