19 July 2002

How Shetland lady stays ever young at heart…

ENA Leslie has been a corresponding member of FWC for many years and it was a privilege to meet her recently at her home on Main Island, Shetland.

To say the weather was changeable that day would be an understatement but the walk from Lerwick to where she lives at Gott was unforgettable. Who would have thought that there would be a rush hour up there. Well there is and walking alongside a main road with the mist swirling about and lunatics driving without so much as a side light on, proved to be a bit scary.

However past the peat banks there is an old track used in quieter days gone by and soon the only sounds to be heard were kittiwakes and curlews. The view across to the sea was decorated with marsh marigolds with the occasional abandoned dry-stone walled croft, home to only birds now.

During the seven-mile walk I got absolutely drenched but then the high winds dried my clothes and hair. We walked briskly through Veensgarth (translated as Vikings Farm) and saw the Norwegian influence, ever present in the area.

At last Enas home was in sight, nestling close to the waters edge where seals bask on the shore. It is a large house, shared by various members of her generation of the family whose younger members still farm the land that her father bought at the turn of the last century. Apparently before then the land was farmed mostly by Norwegian women.

Over a welcome mug of coffee this delightfully independent lady told us about her childhood, how she could remember walking along the now eroded coastline to school and as a child in the first World War remembering the ships coming in and her mother giving them spagnum moss for the injured troops.

I could have stayed for a week and listened to Enas quietly spoken tales of life on the Shetland Isles and perhaps learned her secret of staying young at heart.

Jean Howells

Ena Leslie (left) and Jean Howells.

BEDS, BUCKS AND HERTS

Wed, Jul 24, 1pm. Meet at Pitstone Wharf for afternoon tea cruise on the canal. (Turn off B489 at Pitstone and follow signs to boarding wharf).

Cost £10.10p. Contact

Anita Johnson (01525-220304).

CORNWALL

Sun, Jul 21, 2pm. Meet outside St Tudy Church for a garden safari visiting 10 beautiful but very different gardens, £2.50. For those requiring lunch meet at 12 noon, cost £5.45. Contact

Jenny Matthews (01872-510141).

CHESHIRE

Wed, Aug 7, 12 noon for 12.30pm. Meet at Portal Golf Club Tarporley

for lunch. Menu choice from

Dorothy (01829-732482),

Hilda (01477-537565) or

Lucy (01477-532395) asap.

CUMBRIA-PENRITH

Wed, Aug 14, 12 noon. Meet at Roundthorn for lunch followed by talk Reflexology by Tricia Brown.

Contact Marlene (01931-712248).

GWENT

Thu, Jul 25, 7.30pm. Meet at June Davis home, Maesmawr Farm. Guest speaker, please bring a plate.

Contact Marilyn (01600-780260).

NORTHANTS

Wed, Aug 14, 2pm. Visit to Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens for tour followed by tea and cakes. Contact Rita White

(01604-810351) by Aug 7.

NORTH COTSWOLD

Wed, Aug 14, 2pm. Visit to Kiftsgate Gardens, Hidcote near Mickleton. Entrance fee £4, unusual plants for sale, 4pm meet for tea in restaurant. Contact Helena (01386-438319) or

Pauline (01608-737733).

Oct 12-19. Autumn trip to Costa Brava £315 inclusive. All FWC members welcome to join us. Further details from

Pauline (01608-737733).

N. YORKSHIRE/S. DURHAM

Thu, Jul 25, 1pm. Meet outside main entrance of Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle to see special exhibitions Royal Sugar Sculpture and Behind the Mask. Cost £3 party rate. Contact Elsie

(01609-883233).