Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Well…no-one said this was going to be easy!

Well…no-one said this was going to be easy!
We finished all of the work on our house and now have this on the market, but only one viewing (a carpet-treader at that) to date is a measure of how deflated the housing market is.  It’s true the house has only been on the market for a week and a bit, but I confess nonetheless to being a little disappointed not to have had a flurry of initial interest.  Hopefully, this weekend will see more viewings.
I have to say, I’ve been astonished at how much stuff we have both hoarded over the years and I’ve learnt my lesson.  I’ve even managed to keep things from my childhood, like old comics for goodness sake!
One of the frustrations I am feeling about the necessary hoops we are having to jump through to make the move to Shetland is that they are stopping me from painting.  The thought of relocating has really awakened a desire in me to paint again.  The trouble is, my preferred medium is oils and the smell of oil painting and house viewings are not a good marriage!  There are many reasons why I am looking forward to getting to Shetland, but picking up a brush again is very high among them.
Anyway…I thought I would leave you a picture of the house we’re leaving behind.  As yet, we do not know where we will settle as we will not start looking in earnest until we have an offer on the house.
Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The courtship was short before the proposal to move to Shetland was made and following our week there I can confirm that it is now a fully-fledged engagement.
The wish to move away from Coventry is a long held aspiration but the decision to relocate to Shetland is relatively new, having reached this conclusion only two months ago.  In that short space of time, we have researched the Islands, registered CVs with a number of companies, applied for jobs, had an interview, travelled to Shetland, made good and lasting friendships, prepared our house for sale and established preferred locations to settle.
Among the friends we made were Chrissy and Tommy, who offered us a house to stay at for the week - an offer we very gratefully accepted.  In doing so, we made another lasting friendship with Janis and Edward in the adjacent house.
I arrived kitted out in my cold weather clothing only to find the Islands bathed in glorious sunshine, skies of deep cobalt blue and hillsides ablaze with purple, burnt sienna, burnished bronze and viridian.  As an artist, this was the promised land!
The warmth of the weather, however, was as nothing to the warmth of the people.
I look forward to the wedding and hope the marriage will be a long and happy one.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Work, Work and More Work!

It has been some time since my last post, which is not indicative of little to report.  Quite the contrary.
I have spent the last few weeks working on the house and gardens so that it can be put on the market for sale.  This has included digging out 6 tonnes of soil and replacing with three tonnes of gravel (no easy feat with the house on the side of a hill and everything moved by either wheelbarrow or ‘rhino’ bucket) and a considerable amount of re-decorating.  This week sees a focus on de-cluttering and cleaning, with many things going to local charity shops.  By the end of the week, the intention was to have been to invite various estate agents round to offer their views on what price to pitch.
That is…until this morning, when I received an invite for interview early next week in Lerwick, with the possibility that another might be arranged whilst there.
Louise and I are now busy trying to sort travel arrangements for this weekend with a view to catching up with the estate agents on our return.
Shetland has never seemed closer!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A Shared Vision

Well, it's been some time since my last update but then so much has happened.
Despite two job rejections, I have another application submitted and yet another in development.  Louise is waiting on four applications so, hopefully, something will come off these.
I decided it was time to break the news of our plans to my mother and her partner.  I knew this would be difficult as I see her every weekend without fail and, clearly, that won't be possible if I'm living in Shetland.  Suffice it to say, she was somewhat upset but understood our reasons.  She was reassured to some extent by my intention to fly her and her partner up to see us and vice versa and I think she knows that I will move heaven and earthg to see her as much as possible.
My children are also adjusting to the news.  I think it's fair to say that my 19 year old daughter, who is currently at University in Wales, is taking more time to get used to the idea than my 16 year old son, who is off to College to study film-making.  In fact, my son has expressed interest in coming to live in Shetland as he, ultimately, wants to be a natural history film-maker and recognises the opportunities Shetland presents in this regard.
We also broke the news to some friends of ours and we were interested to see how they would react, knowing that they, too, had been contemplating a relocation to the coast.  Well, their reaction was wonderful and they too now share our desire to start a new life on the Islands and have set up their very own Shetland Relocation fund.  I must admit, that it would be wonderful if they too managed to get there.
The last bit of news concerns Bailey, my mother-in-law's dog.  Bailey is now known as Hayley after his 'procedure' at the vet's!  He's recovering well I'm pleased to report.
Earlier reference to my son's film-making reminded me to post a couple of examples of my oil painting, which is something I intend to throw myself into when we get to Shetland.  I must admit that over the last ten years, my photography has taken centre stage and my painting has not received the attention it deserves.  I fully intend to rectify this and have a number of ideas that I want to put into practice when settled.  I hope that you like them - please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Pieces of the Puzzle

Well the car boot was a success insomuch as it raised a not inconsiderable sum toward the Shetland Fund and, in doing so, separated Mrs M and I from material possessions that we neither wanted nor needed.  Another car booting adventure is planned for this Sunday as we prepare to get the house on the market and continue to identify things that need to go.
We have also started work on the house to increase our chances of success with its sale.  A child-friendly balustrade has been attached the decking in our tiered rear garden.  Two weeks annual leave have been booked and set aside to decorate parts of the house and complete work in the rear garden.
With the close dates for job applications having passed, Louise and I wait anxiously to hear if we will be called for interview.
Bailey has his appointment with the snip of doom coming up in the near future and Jacqui texts us each day to tell us things we already know about the islands.
A select group of friends have been told about our plans and the responses have been positive. With some family members, other friends and my current place of work, timing will be important and we will need to be able to point to some concrete developments before divulging our plans.
Although things are happening very fast, we are impatient to start our new life.  We hope to have the house on the market by the end of July/early August and to have completed our de-cluttering within this timescale also.
Fingers crossed that all the pieces fall into place.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Work to Live

The past few days have been frenetic.  Much of my time has been spent in search of the Holy Quail (a job).  As there are no more then four quail seen in the Shetlands during a typical season, the chances of seeing one are slim.  I have to keep reminding myself that despite less opportunities than mainland Britain, there is also less competition.
As of yesterday, I have two job applications submitted.  My wife has submitted one application and six speculative CVs.  We have immersed ourselves in books about the Shetland Islands and printed off numerous documents about the housing sitiuation there, both buying and renting.
Despite long days at work and long evenings researching the islands, we are still having restless nights dreaming about a new life.
Numerous job alerts have been set up, including a friend of a friend who lives on the islands.
A builder is visiting tomorrow to quote for work needed to sell the house which we hope to have on the market before the end of July.
Car boots and trips to various charity shops are also scheduled as we look to downsize before the move and jettison many of the trappings of a materialistic city life.
So much to do but such rewards to be had!
Anyway...I introduced us in my last post but neglected to post some photos, so I will rectify that here.  Be kind...



Alfie & Prudence


Monday, 25 June 2012

New Beginnings

Hello.  Welcome to my blog which will follow my journey as I 'cut da string' to my life in England and look to relocate and settle in Shetland.  There will, of course, still be ties to my life in England with friends and family living here, but moving to a new life in an area of outstanding natural beauty is something I have longed to do for many years.  A number of possibilities have been considered over time but, like moths to the flame, it is Shetland that draws my wife and I.
I say my wife and I but, in truth, there will be three of us as my mother-in-law will also join us.  I have two grown up children; a daughter at University and a son at college.  My daughter's pursuit of a career in drama will, I'm sure, take her to cities I have no wish to settle in.  My son, who is studying film-making and who loves natural history, has expressed interest in Shetland, given the fantastic widlife and scenery, so I hope that, in time, he will want to join us there.
There is, however, a long road to travel before we can consider ourselves as Shetlanders.  Books can only tell one so much.  Various websites about island life and making the move help, as do videos posted to You Tube, but it is establishing contact and relationships with people who have already made the move that, I feel, will be particularly helpful.  To this end, I hope that this blog proves a useful vehicle.
The first real step has been taken today.  An email, with CV, has been sent for a position on the Shetland mainland.  It is for considerably less than I earn currently but, I hope, will allow me to make a contribution to island life drawing on my skills and experiences.  My wife, Louise, has updated her CV and will be sending off speculative emails to prospective employers this week.  She will also be looking at current vacancies with a view to seeing what she can apply for.
So what else can we offer besides work-related skills and experiences?  What else can we tell you about ourselves?
Well names seem a good place to start.  I'm Peter and I'm married to a wonderful woman called Louise who's mother is called Jacqui.  I am also a photographer and artist with a keen interest in natural history, which helps to explain why the lure of Shetland is so strong.  As you may have gathered by now, I also enjoy writing.  Louise has many interests including dress-making, photography, crafts, cooking and writing (she also has a blog - princessprudencediaries).  Jacqui's main interests include film and her dog Bailey.
This leads me to the other members of our motley crew looking to settle in Shetland.  Louise and I have two beautiful dogs: Prudence and Alfie.  Prudence is ten now and a lovely lively Airedale Terrier.  Young Alfie is four and is a Parson Russell Terrier.  Jacqui's dog Bailey is a cross between a Pug and Shih Tzu and, at six years of age, is older than Alfie,  Because the two 'dogs' Bailey and Alfie have not lived together before, precautions need to be taken and Bailey will shortly be taking a trip to the vets as 'Arthur' and leaving as 'Martha'!
Finally, for now, I am sure that obstacles await us and that our resolve will be tested.  The scale of what we are undertaking seems overwhelming, but we are all committed to a better, healthier and more rewarding way of life and, with God's help, we will get there.
If you are resident in Shetland or are also making/have made the move, I should be delighted to hear from you.