Puffin Spotting in Shetland

Men and Underwear are a heady mix, especially when combined with a bit of Puffin Spotting on the side

Night Ferry to Shetland

I had a text late the other night from (Socialist) Jonathan, who isn’t to be confused with Jonny. 

He said “Guess where I am?”

Well so long as he wasn’t hovering outside my door, it was too late to care.  I rolled over and went back to sleep.  He woke me again just after six the next morning with another one. It simply said,   “ WTF . . There’s no buses to Unst and I have to take another two ferries”

From the limited information he had just given me, I could see he was on his way to visit Soozie.   Soozie and Jonathan go back as many years as I do and we formed a bond immediately on meeting.  We thought of ourselves as the Three Bandidos. Soozie was always nicer to Jonathan than Mary was to him, as Soozie isn’t interested in the money, but always the man! Once when Jonathan thought he might be in love with Soozie, he took the National Express from Lancaster down to Margate in the hope of spending a weekend of wild unbridled passion with her.  Having had a Fish Supper, ( Well it was Friday), of traditional cod; chips; bread and butter and a cup of tea – (no frills for Jonathan) on Margate Seafront, he suddenly whipped out a calculator and proceeded to halve the bill.  I don’t think Soozie minded in the least but as the total was less than thirty quid, I couldn’t see why he didn’t pay for it all himself.

Hotels are more fun on expenses…

I told Soozie that a girl has to make a stand at the outset and if he was expecting her to pay her share of the evening meal ( such as it was) and half of the night in the Bed and Breakfast I could see it wasn’t going to go too well. I mean, recalling back, even though my first night with LM was only a Hoilday Inn – EXPRESS, we did have a nice meal out at Southampton Marina and a good cooked breakfast the following morning.   Soo, of course, not being as shallow as I am, declared that men paying for ladies was very “Yesterday” and she was an independent woman and used to doing things for herself.  She also went on to say that although I had stayed in some very nice Hotels – “Intercontinental” and the “Mandarin Oriental” to name but two, I should remember that these were all on ( The Pilot’s) expense card and therefore it wasn’t like he had actually paid for it himself. One – nil to Soozie me thinks!

So I asked her if she had bought some nice frothy lingerie for their first night of passion and she argued that if Jonathan was interested in what she wore rather than in her mind, then he wasn’t a very serious person and she didn’t think they would have a future together.  She continued, ( yes Folks, there is more) that he was a Socialist and a Devotee of Community Living and therefore his interest in frilly underwear and designer handbags was strictly minimal . At this point I nodded sagely and started to count down.   It was only a matter of time. I have yet to meet a man who would choose to stand opposite a woman wearing sensible cotton knickers, slightly frayed from too hot a wash than someone wearing red or black Agent Provocateur G sting and a push up bra. I mean! Come on…. Although I concur that maybe I am just attracted to the wrong type of men.

It’s all about the lace…

Anyway that evening was a long time ago.  Soo went to the bathroom to get changed ( she also said the Fish Supper had given her terrible wind which she couldn’t expel in front of Jonathan.)  Consequently not only did she have to put the bathroom fan on to hide the noise of her expelling said gas from her body but her stomach had bloated up at all of the greasy batter she had consumed that night and she thought it not a good look having a stomach like a Biafrian refugee.   Having removed her grey “non iron” work trousers with permanent crease and her very serviceable white work shirt ( she had, after all, come straight from her job in Accounts at Medway Council) and changed into some sort of night attire with a furry animal on the front she was very surprised to find Jonathan standing there with his coat on.  Before he could lay twenty quid on the bedside table for his share of the room which he wouldn’t be sharing now with her, he had picked up his rucksack ( the equivalent of a Louis Vuitton over-nighter in socialist quarters) and headed off into the night.  He said he was very sorry and even though the last National Express coach back to Victoria had gone, he would wait at the Bus Station until the first one in the morning. And with that he left!

That was the last that Soo had seen of him….

She was pretty disappointed that I kept in touch with him and said, as a long and very dear friend, I should take her side. However, Jonathan does what Jonathan wants and kept in touch with me more to berate my choice of men ( it was The Pilot at that time) and to tell me to stop listening to BBC News. He said I would be better informed watching RT or al jazeera uk as there wasn’t so much of a bias on their reporting. Being a shallow sort of girl, I said if she wanted to play Russian roulette with her underwear on a first date then she had no one to blame but herself. I didn’t expect her to do the Dance of the Seven Veils ( after all Jonathan is a socialist who eschews frivolity or anything wasteful ) but he is a man and as such his standards seem to rise or fall depending on how his underpants feel that day. In other words, Soozie should never take for granted that bringing a copy of Tolstoy would bind him to her forever. A man is a man is a man! ‘Nuff said!

So fast forward to him turning up unannounced on the Isle of Unst where she now lives, might be what one would call “taking a chance”.  Of course I need not have worried because an hour or so later I get yet another text from him again saying that he had called Soo and she would be down “fairly shortly” to collect him. In the meantime he was to sit himself down on the side of the Harbour and await her coming…

I have to say I was fairly surprised and it took all of my willpower not to call her and see what the sitch was. I knew that she hadnt forgiven him for leaving in Margate that night and she was always a little miffed with me for still being on speaking terms with him. The last time I had a party and he was there she simply plonked her bottle of Lambrusco on the hall table and declared that if he was in the same room as her she was turning around and going home again. Which she did!

Running away and hiding from life

When she told me that she was moving to the Shetland Islands once she retired I had to admit that I was slightly sceptical. She told me that there were only two other neighbours near her; the internet was patchy and she had to get a ferry to visit the Doctor or to find a large Supermarket. She said Amazon wouldn’t deliver and because she knew I hated all ferries in the North Sea she didn’t expect me to visit often. ( She said the last bit with a bit of a pout as if waiting for me to contradict her. I didn’t. She was right. I hate night ferries.)

However none of that would stop her and she would spend her time writing Poetry; ( that’s another one. What is this fascination with writing poetry lately?) looking for seals and puffins and treating herself once a week to tea at “Belindas”. Belinda is the local tea shop – not a new friend from Shetland – and she said she would visit there to treat herself to a nice piece of Coffee and Date Cake and catch up on emails as the internet speed is slightly more interesting that the one she receives in the flat she bought. She also likes to chat to Doris who is always there on a Monday; Tuesday and Thursday before lunch. She nips in to keep warm. Doris told Soo that if she stays there she doesn’t need to put her heating on and Belinda doesn’t mind if she takes a nap, so long as she keeps the pooch on a lead.

However, give Soo her due, she hasn’t complained at all and takes great delight in sending me pictures of her puffins ( again that is not a euphemism) and asking for me to exchange them for dolphin pictures which she knows are sadly quite elusive for me – still! Its a hollow victory for her as obviously she thinks this is very funny and hasn’t quite forgiven me for suggesting that part of the reason Jonathan “bolted” was because her underwear wasn’t up to scratch.

Soo’s idea of underwear being fit for purpose means its comfortable and the elastic doesn’t cut in over the top of her legs or across her tum tum. Also if she can get three for a Fiver in Matalan, then she is one happy lass, however if she does continue to bleat on about Puffins and the lack of my Dolphin pictures I shall exchange them for a DicPic which Jonny sent me one night when he was in the bath. Now Jonny obviously thought that was one way to seduce a girl and even though I have to say it was pretty impressive, I want to counter that and say I am way over sending porn across the Internet to someone you hope to shag shortly.

You have no shame, she told me!

She further went on to say that if I had got it right in the first place, how come I couldn’t keep a Bloke and if she tried to add it up then I would have got through more men than she would have bought new ( 50% cotton/50%polyester) knickers and to give me a very recent example of my own shortcomings and mistakes, look at the debacle I had with Artur when having told him I wanted underwear for Christmas ( along with the jewellery he had already bought me) he took himself off to Victoria Secrets and purchased a thong and peephole bra!

I know I shouldn’t have told this story to Soo even if we were both a bit smashed but it did highlight Artur as being a narcissist because that sort of stuff you would only buy if your girlfriend was a size eight and less than thirty years old – so Soo informed me, again. As she droned on further that night ” I mean if he only wants to see you in that shite its akin to leaving thirty quid on the bedside table on his way out”

Some men are only after one thing!

Well I didn’t really mind because at that point Artur had been very generous to me, not only with jewellery and lingerie but with a bit of free tax advice also. So if I had to prance around with not a lot on to get some free Retirement Planning Advice then who was I to complain? Especially if it was in Amberley Castle https://www.amberleycastle.co.uk/hotel/rooms which, lets face it, is a million times better than a run down Bed and Breakfast on Margate Seafront.

Anyway, I do hope that the Bird from Billericay ( my successor) who seems to have a voice filled with estuary vowels and a nasal twang appreciates him, even if his dog is stinky and pees on the sofa. As he said, she is a lot nearer, he doesn’t have to keep paying for the Dartford Charge and she doesn’t bolt. Not once! Not Ever! Just, not at all !

We all know how I rate underwear and also my men, so that’s the end of this conversation with Soo before it all gets nasty and we go off on further tangents. As they say – opposites attract!

Stop Press from Unst…..

Later that night, I had a text from Soozie.  She said that she had been busy Puffin Spotting all day ( no, that still isn’t a euphemism) and didn’t have time to collect Jonathan anytime soon.  She told me that if he hurried he could catch the next ferry back to Aberdeen.   “So let me be clear….”  I replied back.

“Yep,” she tapped”  Revenge is a dish best served cold.  I left the Bastard there ! He has called a few times but I just didn’t reply”

Whether those two will also still be on the list for Hydra this summer is anyone’s guess…..

And now I’ll finish off with a song which takes me right back to the Hotel Intercontinental ( even if it was on airline expenses! ) Cleared for Take-Off

  1. Sumburgh Head RSPB Reserve, Hermaness Nature Reserve, and the Isle of Noss are some of the best places on the Shetlands to spot puffins and other sea birds. Sumburgh is the most accessible puffin location, with a road leading right up to the puffin viewing sites. Hermaness has the largest colony of puffins, in the tens of thousands, and although it’s at the northern-most part of the Islands, walking trails make it easy to photograph puffins. For those seeking extra adventure, the Isle of Noss is only accessible by foot and ferries have limited running times in the summer, however, the rugged cliffs on which the puffins nest make the perfect backdrop for stunning photos.

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