Sunday, 7 August 2016


Confusion 07.08.16

It is the second day in a row of gale force winds and sideways rain. I understand now why hay is cut in small batches. It has felt inefficient but reduces the risk of spoilage. Any hay already cut and left will take a long time to dry now and although that still standing has been flattened, it remains a better option. 

Ive not been looking at the shipping forecast recently and it does not surprise me to see gale warnings in a long band across from Fisher Forties Cromarty to South East Iceland

Gale warning - Issued: 0938 UTC on Monday 8 August 2016

Northwesterly storm force 10 decreasing severe gale force 9 soon, then gale force 8 later
Northwest 7 to severe gale 9, increasing storm 10 until later, then decreasing 5 or 6 later.
Sea state
Very rough or high, becoming rough at times later.
Rain or showers.
Moderate, occasionally poor.
What does it all mean? What is the point?  I  could be anywhere. Perhaps thats it. the where doesn't really matter. So could i be at home then? I think not, for routine and ritual and responsibility would impinge.

Sunday evening and i go for food and music in the pub, ive been looking forward to this all week. Oh, music in the pub means no food, thats a shame, ok, ill have a beer and go home to cook. However, although it is yet easily half an hour before the music starts, you want me to buy a ticket for the music even though I'm not going to listen to or I'm not allowed to buy a beer? The owner calls over and i am served.

Tonight is the first night i haven't felt welcome. Different bar staff and i felt unwanted, it didnt end there. I had one beer, left and cooked myself an omelette. I  return much later, after the music has finished. I find a girl too young to serve, behind the bar, i sit at the bar and wait with patience. I am told, by a very drunk man, wanting more, that I should ring the bell, and he thumps it hard, several times. I say life is too short, i can wait. We engage in conversation.

Later. Or even earlier or in the middle, or all of those, I seem to upset him by disagreeing with his views. I support his nieces opinions on her education. The young girl is his niece, she is fourteen. she says i am sitting in his stool, i say this is where i have always sat when Ive been here, perhaps we haven't both been in at the same time before. 

He says, authoritatively that he is related to most people on the island. That doesn't give him permission to touch me, crowd me or push me into a corner. I ask is he my friend. He replies that he is very choosy about who his friends are and i comment that i am also choosy about who touches me and if he is not my friend then this is not comfortable touching.

First time round he ignores my words but stops touching me. Gradually tho, we disagree over more than where his niece is choosing to go to school. The financial reality of faroese independence comes up, i talk about the evidence i have seen of european money coming in via Denmark to improve the infrastructure, he gets closer and closer, he says fishing is enough, it will support them all, there is no need for Denmark, there is no European money and certainly no need for tourists. 

I think fishing is not enough and talk about the plight of the salmon farms and the health of the fjords. I'm touching on sensitive ground, i am hemmed in and his hand is firmly held on my arm.  i ask again is he my friend and he says again he is very choosy. I say I'm very hemmed in and i wouldn't expect to be this close with someone who is not my friend, move back please. He picks up his shot glass and his beer bottle, says the faroes don't want tourist here and moves away. 

I come home and consider my evening. Sarah, from Birmingham, who spent much of her childhood here, said earlier, its still a backwater but i had seen it as something more vibrant. she only ever stays here when she visits so perhaps doesn't have other places in the faroes to compare it with.  for me, the degree of openess and vibrancy i have seen is as directly compared to the rest of the Faroes  not with the rest of the world.

This morning i begin to see it as a closed hierarchical community. Ok if you know your place and stay in it. 

Sadly though, the main point of contention was not independence but his nieces choice to move from Denmark (mum) to live here with dad and go to school in Torshavn, starting next week. He feels it is a decision that will ruin the rest of her life. So for all his fierce patriotism he does not want her to take even a small part of her education here. It is routine for faroese teenagers to take a year of their schooling in Denmark so I see this as little different and think her views need respecting.

I will try not to let one drunk man spoil the island, I tell myself there will always be those who dont want things to change but it was not a pleasant encounter and right now i feel little desire to be here.