Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction.
“But Mr. Jeremy liked getting his feet wet; nobody ever scolded him, and he never caught a cold!” ~ Beatrix Potter.
Namaste all, that’s what we do now, right? We don’t shake hands, we keep outside two-metres of each other, and we watch the news with growing anxiety and concern. I’m hoping to keep this blog post upbeat, I’m going to tell you about frogs, but first, I need to outline the business side of things (and feel free to skip on past this to the bit about frogs!).
Amid all the uncertainty regarding Covid-19, I wanted to let you know that I am following the current Scottish Government, NHS and Travel Industry Legal advice and recommendations, as well as my intuition.
As many of you will know, Shetland has a growing number of confirmed cases of Covid-19, a proportionally high number given the population of the islands. NorthLink is still operating services in and out the islands, and Loganair continues to fly back and forth to Shetland although their service is reduced. Our government has outlined that any non-essential travel should be avoided (read into that what you will). I will continue to monitor the situation and keep you up-to-date with any cancellations or changes. The local authorities here decided to close the local schools ahead of the rest of the UK so, as of Monday, I am now homeschooling my two children (aged seven and three).
I continue to monitor the situation daily, and I have decided to postpone or cancel all tours until at least the end of April, and most likely beyond. Following that (end of April), I will review the bookings in place over the summer and depending on where we are and what the national advice is telling us – as well as what travel restrictions may or may not have been placed on individual countries – I may need to cancel more.
I have relaxed my cancellation policy so if any visitors have bookings but would like to postpone or cancel, please get in touch and there will be no fee, and where payment has been made upfront, I will reimburse you the full amount. These are exceptional times, and we need to all pull together and help one another through. I have been in touch with those of you who have bookings between now and the end of April and will keep everyone else updated as the situation develops. If you would like to get in touch, make changes, cancellations or ask me a question you can email at email@example.com.
Our recent trip to New York now feels like a lifetime ago. So surreal to think that global travel can't happen at the moment.
We recently returned from a holiday to New York, a wonderful, busy and charismatic city and I was relieved to get back to the peace and tranquillity of home. It is a strange reality to now find ourselves socially distancing at home. In Shetland, we often feel far removed from things that are happening around the world, but today, we find ourselves right in the thick of it as this virus is brought to our shores too – there is no special immunity from Mother Nature.
On a positive note
I do hope that we can take some good from these unusual circumstances that we find ourselves in. We are enjoying the slower pace of life, making the most of what we have around us. The situation has been compared to wartime Britain, but it’s important to remember that during the war, our grandfathers were told to go to war, today we are being asked to stay at home. So today on the blog I’m going to share one of the projects we have been working on at home this week. I also want to acknowledge how incredibly fortunate we are in that we have access to the outdoors and have a big garden for the bairns to explore; this means that our ‘classroom’ is vastly expanded. This is a privilege that not everyone shares. Hopefully, my frog-blog will inspire a few people homeschooling to try this at home too. If not, I hope you can take encouragement in the knowledge that no matter how upside-down and back-to-front the world may appear, the wheel keeps turning and, the first signs of spring’s arrival are just around the corner. And, more importantly, take solace in the knowledge that we are not facing this virus at the beginning of winter, we are going into it as we go into spring and with better weather, spirits will begin to lift.
Filming on the new series of Shetland has been suspended amid the virus. This is one of the filming locations from Series One.
I promised that today’s blog would be about frogs and, to be honest, I don’t have the brain-space to write about much else! But, I promise, I won’t speak about the frogs again (well… maybe in my Instagram stories).
We started homeschooling this week, and I believe that children learn more from the natural environment than they do from a classroom and, just as in writing, I live by the ‘show don’t tell’ rule. This means allowing the reader, or children, in this case, to experience the story – or the frog – through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than being told and told again until it sticks. So, on this thread, we went out into the hill to find spring. I was determined to show them, and not just tell them.
Finding frogspawn and solace in the Shetland hills.
We didn’t have to go far, just beyond Lerwick, along an old road we found what we were looking for – frogspawn. We had buckets with us and jackets zipped high against the biting cold wind. We gathered a small bucket, the little tadpoles inside developing nicely.
This is where I need to add a disclaimer: We took frogspawn from a roadside ditch that in a few weeks will dry out and kill the spawn. Frogspawn should always be collected responsibly, and you should never remove it all unless it is in an area where it can’t thrive.
Collecting frogspawn responsibly.
Once we got it home, we set to work building a pond. It is quite simple to create a little pond in your garden. This is what we did:
Making a pond in the garden to welcome frogs, and spring.
And that’s it, one super-easy home-made pond to welcome our froglets in to.
So, amidst all the chaos and uncertainty, we are finding small ways to carve out a new kind of ‘normal’, and I hope that you too can do the same, wherever you are and whatever your situation may be.
Ps - If any of you have got to the end of this week's offering, well done, and thank you for supporting my business at this difficult time. Finally, my seven-year-old, Hansi, has started to collect stamps so if anyone would like to send a postcard with a stamp from your corner of the world then please get in touch and I can send you an address. You can email me here. Thanks again x
“Visitors want to have the best experience; they want to see Shetland through the eyes of a local. They want to taste the salt on their faces, smell the sea and bear witness to the wind in their hair. They want to drink in the sights, the smells and the sounds of an island community. They want to be shown the places they would otherwise not discover. They want to piece together the fascinating jigsaw and truly discover Shetland; this is the trip they have dreamed of.”
Sign up to my monthly email newsletter for more Shetland inspiration.
A little about Laurie
Hello, and welcome to my blog. I hope that you find what you're looking for, whether you are planning that perfect holiday or maybe you're from Shetland and looking for some inspiration. Hopefully, there is something here for everyone.
Copyright © 2018-2020
Shetland with Laurie
Copyright ©Alexa Fitzgibbon
(unless otherwise stated)
Shetland tourist info: shetland.org