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.
Filed under 2018, 60N, blogging, celebration, colours, community, home, images, introduction, island, lerwick, life, review, scotland, shetland, spirit, spring
Our school flag shines inside a gale, as we are about to abandon the Old AHS for brand new walls at Clickimin….
This morning, one single thought dawned on me: our final day with our pupils at our familiar street address, Lovers’ Loan.
I share a common blend of feelings, like so many of us – torn with leaving a great headland and the Old Institute Sir Arthur Anderson had built in the name of education (1862) and shifting into a state of the art 21st century building.
To mark such move, I penned a piece now with the New Shetlander for a future issue.
Cheerio, Lovers’ Loan
We pile boxes upon boxes, whilst our
lashes tears in rain –
for this last
bairns fill corridors with voices only
The green and gold of our
we cannot stop.
Speckled swaabies in search of toast some pupil
wet grass –
they know the restaurant
watch silhouettes behind
departure from granite walls,
shiny square slates…
Our final day at Lovers Loan
Lerwick, Old AHS, 4 Oct 2017
I will miss our “Hogwarts”.
From one era into the next.
Filed under 2017, 60N, Arcania, autumn, blogging, colours, community, earth, education, geopoetics, hairst, home, images, island, lerwick, life, migration, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit
Love my homeworld, and shared it with five intrepid explorers.
Here it is, in a poetic form.
A Day among Birds
I felt the sea today,
gannets, gannets filled
my sky – solan,
a sea of wings in island blue above
my eyes, like a painting or
morning had flushed off in
My memory now
filled with salt they call
spindrift – today I felt
Filed under 2017, 60N, Arcania, birds, blogging, boats, celebration, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, lerwick, literature, north, poet, poetry, scotland, seabird, shetland, shore, spirit
“Nat, I challenge you to a short poem…” I still remember Chris’ words one fine evening at the Mareel Café in Lerwick during one memorable Open Mic’ Night in 2016.
At the time, little did I know those words would generate such a fabulous collaboration with Visitors – a trio of very talented singer/songwriters based in Shetland (till band member Chris Grant left last autumn for his Glasgow homeground with a mix bag of excitement and sadness…).
To the poet, writing for a band feels playful and self-indulgent.
Whilst band member Chris Grant has known my writing from 2012 through the National Theatre of Scotland’s Ignition project, fellow members Cha Johnson and Andy Kinnear have been exposed to my poetical world from the Shetland Open Mic Night sessions. When it came to their project as a band, they had some of my spoken words in mind for the purpose of one song when the opportunity arose. Whilst they were assembling an EP later named after the final lines of my short poem, I quickly scribbled a very short piece recollecting my “first time” as a then visitor to 60N. This recollection never left my heart and mind, so magical and powerful this very first experience felt, and became imprinted in my heart forever.
This I translated into words,
submitted to Chris, who immediately related to the piece. Perfect was his response. And left it like this, until he recorded me in a tiny office on his last day at work.
Although I had no idea of what was really happening, I later received words from Chris explaining me about Visitors’ plans and project. A bigger picture began to shape in my head. With Chris in Glasgow, I left the spoken word in good hands. Meanwhile, Shetland Times journalist and singer/songwriter Adam Guest penned an article in the islands’ weekly. More light on Visitors‘ work!
An EP to be launched in Shetland
So little did I know Visitors would launch their work at this year’s Shetland Folk Festival in South Nesting. News filtered gradually via all three members earlier this spring. I still remember Cha’s lovely words- both at Gutters’ Gaet and Andy’s… We all turned more excited about such launch! From Cha’s messages to the rehearsals at Islesburgh and Clairmont Place, I discovered the entire EP, tasted fabulous slices of life (as well as Andy’s newly improved home made chilli con carne!) in fabulous company; a wild ride in Andy’s car to listen to the CD newly arrived in his lair, and reconvened with Chris and Roo.
On the night, 29 April 2017
Whilst Visitors had already invested the South Nesting Public Hall for the indispensable sound check, I joined in with the audience. Familiar and other faces lined up against the wall, ticket in hand. The air was crisp in a dry though overcast world… I left the comfort of my peerie buggy as soon as I saw my trio of artistes emerging from the building. Reunited on the night for the gig! Hugs, smiles and kind words filled our hearts.
Little did I realise the concert would be performed in a jam packed hall with other great bands following in our footsteps…
Visitors live on stage, 29 April 2017 at the South Nesting Hall for the launch of the EP at the Shetland Folk Festival 2017.
And Chris invited me on stage to close the act, whilst reading those words I once scribbled about “little did I know this would mean home”. The act well, very well received by the audience on this fun night of performance. Maggie already released in iTunes. The rest of the EP to follow in the great digital constellation of the apple.
Happy poet, humble and thanking you, dear Visitors for such an epic adventure 🙂
Tattooed in my heart forever.
Filed under 2017, 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, collaboration, community, earth, geopoetics, gig, home, humanity, images, island, launch, lerwick, mareel, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shetland folk festival, shetlandarts, shore, spring, verse, woman, world, writing
When writers meet, share and offer work, words and more, Poetics shine.
On the ninth day of July, such thing was done. Inside the stones of the long house, by the harbour, we gathered on shiny floorboards on the first floor, where a mix of faces beamed with delight.
Familiar ones – Kevin, Doug, Marsali, James and Debra… And then new ones who smiled and unleashed most kind words. Among them, the co-editor of Shetland Create, Angie, the grand orchestrator of it all, welcomed us all, eager to meet us in the flesh.
What a splendid night we all had.
One by one we shared words created on the very island where we walk and draw inspiration from.
With such theme as home, selected verse from Compass Head felt so very apt on the night.
Fabulous slice of life shared in the warmth of Lerwick’s Peerie Shop Café – a place where I still come to write – in fabulous company.
Angie’s feeling so very much shared. Here, the night in her own words: https://shetlandcreate.com/
Now we are connected.
…to Jacqui Clark’s clunk 😇
Havra, celebrated once more, shining in the limelight, this time thanks to Scottish poet Sally Evans via her blog & brainchild, keeppoemsalive, and featured along other poets Sally enjoys.
Connected to the great Scottish family one more time.
Happy poet 🙂
Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, collaboration, Compass_Head, earth, geopoetics, island, launch, lerwick, literature, magazine, norman, north, poet, poetry, poets, scotland, shetland, spirit, update, verse, verse poetry, white, writing
Fresh verse on offer, for pleasure, inspired by a mathematician within a fraction of seconds. This ties very neatly with Geopoetics on a more universal scale. And later thought of Edwin Morgan, the great poet from Glasgow.
It is titled: Out of Our Space
Tell me again,
how far from our star to
So many zeros between
should we ignore
sleek speed of
93 million miles away,
or a mere 9.3×10 to the power of 7 –
we manage to
glimpse of each sunrise.
rotating moons, elliptical rides, rings, or
us and the unknown?
Reset the clock in standard form and
the right button.
Lerwick, 7 June 2016
Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, arts, earth, education, edwin, geopoetics, home, island, lerwick, literature, morgan, offcourse, poet, poetry, poets, scotland, shore, verse, verse poetry