Category Archives: introduction

C’est la vie

Marcel Proust had his madeleine in France, I have mine in Lerwick!

Falling in love with an island (or any place on Earth) will make you shift mountains and turn a dream into reality.

This certainly happened to Valérie and Didier Pîquer, today’s proud owners of C’est la vie, located in Commercial Street opposite Harry’s Department and the Fort Café (the town’s best Chippie). 


An authentic French experience guaranteed from the moment you step in. The décor, atmosphere and a welcome with a smile invite you to a very convivial establishment. Your eyes are drawn to the myriad of treasures ranging from le comptoir to the brioche and other delicacies displayed under glass bells on a table in one corner. 

Whereas Valérie comes from Paris, Didier is Basque. A magic blend that brings an amazing 3-page menu on a clipboard! There is something for everyone. 


From the famous Croque Monsieur family  to the platter of charcuterie, they offer you the best produce. Brioche, madeleines, cookies, gauffres and langues de chat are homemade. If some dishes are directly imported, Didier confided they came from the finest Basque (from either side of the Pyrénées) or French supplier – local artisans. 


Each plate feels gastronomical – each bite, an exquisite moment your senses will memorise for a very long time!

Valérie shared her deep delight as clients shared smiles and even their appreciation in French, as it feels such a heart warmer.


Although they only opened to the public on the third day of April, locals and visitors are already flocking in, sampling what C’est la vie has to offer, and the menu has so much to offer. 

It is the start of a great adventure! 

If you are a fine gastronome in search of some culinary and traditional Gallic delights, just come along and push the door. You will be in for a real treat! 

Book your table to avoid disappointment. 

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wunderhübsch (#wearewoman #4)

 We are woman, we are beautiful.

When it comes to the Nordic connection, the web widens as we network. This is exactly what happened with a kindred spirit from Hamburg, as we began to mingle via Instagram, followed by Facebook. Northwhile, alias Diana Lukas-Nülle, is a lover of all things north, wild, sheepish, travel, design, hearts carved by nature and write. I love the way she speaks about the light, north, snow, Norway or Fair Isle…  Whilst she insists how I would love Iceland. Funny how we eventually met in Shetland on her way to the Hebrides.

Diana Melby Aug 2017.jpg

Photo by Nordicblackbird

This intrepid north wanderer returned to an island she loves and has a pied-à-terre, as she had a contract with a knitting designer and Misa Hay to design this year’s WoolWeek Magazine.  On two occasions, we met and shared by the water – in Melby, where we watched an otter playing in the bay whilst we savoured some homemade cake we found and bought from a local box; and at Ninian Sands, where we marvelled at the magic of the Atlantic, a wondrous sky, changing light and the shape of clouds… We spoke deep words, found some hearts fashioned in stone and felt the wings of the maalie, my favourite seabird the Fulmar (Petrel) I love to nickname “Jonathan”, for this long distant relative of the albatross seems to fly for fun – and sometimes at very close quarter!

Some enchanting evening we pursued at my humble hut for a splash of homemade lamb curry and a hope to see Northern Lights after twilight. Of all those moments shared, the one that prompted a poem was triggered as we walked along da shoormal  (that area in the shallows…) on that bridge of shell and sand. Diana was combing in search of something specific, whilst I was gathering my own pocketful of treasures.

This prompted the following poem.

For you, D. L-N.,

for your friendship & cunning eye.

 

Heart Hunter

 

On the great bridge of sand and shell,

she untied her shoes and

walked free to

feel the pulse of each sandgrain,

blue of evening and

Atlantic;

by the shoormal where dark sand shifts,

she imprinted her higher self,

eyed washed off

stones

spewed by

vile tides, hunting for

hearts molten in

rock,

hearts in shingle, or tidal shaped, among

plovers and sugar kelp –

what the Moon pulls in between

stars, thin waterline,

polished

nacre.

She came to walk to an island,

she entangled time in

rollers,

smiled at the world’s greatest tiara,

gifted my hearth with two

new stones,

her heart and mind still in

sandgrains.

 

NH, 2017

dianas heart

She said one day she will own sheep… She’s still to find her home island. In the meantime we share that passion for the Nordic realm – Norway, Norge – island life, light, wild & remote, hearts molten in anything natural and photography.

 

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Krásná (#wearewoman #3)

COMPASS HEAD BOOK COVER I owe her the back cover photograph of my book, a lifetime friendship on a plate, a well of laughters and shared moments of emotions…

 

We are woman, beautiful.

 

Any i Bryggen 17 June 2016 I met Aneta Lukzikova through Anita Orheim (see blog post “Vakker #wearewoman [3]“) over a decade ago. Like Anita, Aneta was then in academic transit and decided to establish her own “hame” on this latitude. Our friendship blossomed through time and shared slices of life. We earned each other’s trust and respect gracefully, travelled the length and breadth of our islands, and even crossed the sea last summer to reconvene with Anita on her homeground for a weekend of sheer happiness in and around Fana. I had promised Aneta a beer in Bergen, we did just that. Today, we know ourselves pretty much inside out.

Of this, I’m very proud. Forever grateful to have her friendship, her love and trust as a woman and a close friend, so close I can call her my Czech sister.

 

For you, dear Aneta, I am going to improvise you a poem as I’m typing,

 

We have travelled so many roads,

crossed many bridges,

sea, earth marks.

You have

listened and dried

so many blueprints from cold rain;

laughed at my face by

the White Wife,

helped me to

rise from

earth

and

mud…

We crossed the sea to

share a pint,

taste simple pleasures in Bryggen to reconvene with

our own clan made in Norge.

And every time

I needed

you,

dear Czech sister,

you offered me a hearth and smiles.

I am in awe of your pure

heart.

 

© Nat Hall 2017

 

 

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fluttering [4]

amazon-buy-buttonIf Charles Baudelaire opened his masterpiece, Les Fleurs du Mal, with an open letter with “dear reader”, he invited the world to discover his literary monument with a quill. He lived with his time.

I too write with a traditional tool – a fountain pen – and I too live with my time, that 21st century yellow button. Click on it, and it will lead you straight to Compass Head.

His invitation au voyage has remained one of my favourite poems, and catalyst for my own life journey as a woman and a poet. It has animated my heart since I discovered it back at le lycée Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence whilst studying French Literature for the Baccaulauréat. Today,

I am inviting you to my 21st century invitation au voyage, through some 124 pages peppered with sand, spray, earthly elements, headlands, lighthouses, in a triad of tongues.Light [3].jpg

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fluttering (1)

 

12933134_1730950360525488_8546018913097351899_nPlease mark a date in your diary, Compass Head, available on Amazon, will be celebrated at the Shetland Library in Lerwick on Friday 20 May 2016.

We – the poet, our Shetland Librarians and friendshave the beginning of a plan.

More to come, as dusk slides into a starry night.

 

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recompense

Nat_Hall_16_by_9

It is official since tonight: Nordland Publishing welcomed me as their third poet, following a contract agreement and a shared wish for years of fruitful collaboration. As a poet & writer, am utterly thrilled to be part of the family. Wonderful birthday present that crowned a 15-year old literary project, soon to turn into a book, entitled Compass Head.

Compass Head, this first solo collection of poetry, with elements of flash fiction, is very much a Shetland product, even though it is above all a geopoetical journey from my native Normandie to my chosen, Nordic home – where my heart beats – through time and space. As for From Shore to Shoorma/ D’un rivage à l’autre (BJP 2012), co-penned with Donna Allard, Compass Head is peppered with French and Shetland dialect. It is my privilege and orthographic signature, in the sense such journey is tainted, as a multi-lingual voice. It only feels too natural as a process. I believe Kenneth White – the father of Geopoetics – would embrace this.

It is a very exciting project am only too happy to be nurtured by Nordland Publishing, under the editorial headship of MJ Kobernus, to whom – as well as fellow blogger & author Andy Murray, who got the ball rolling – I feel indebted.

A wonderful adventure has begun, and I feel the heart of young Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island pounding inside my shirt :-).

The most wonderful feeling.

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Jul, Yule

     There is magic around every solstice & equinox. 

This year’s winter solstice is no different. I must thank my angels. On this occasion, he has a very earthly name, as Andy, for opening an unexpected door…

Andy is better known in WordPress as City Jackdaw. A fine poet, the  writer and fellow blogger, he is also an author & a friend.

Andy, THANK YOU ☺️ 

My poetry has now a home. Nordicblackbird has found her roost.

How magical and somewhat surreal to know a friendship struck in such way would lead to be united & bound by a same publishing house.

I feel ever so humble. 

What a wonderful Yule present 🙂

My forthcoming break (starting tomorrow afternoon) is all sorted out: that first manuscript will reach the Norwegian capital! 

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