Thursday, December 24, 2015

After... Ben Fogle - New Lives In the Wild UK

If by any chance you have not see "The Show" here is a link... 

I am so overwhelmed with the amount of truly wonderful people out there inspired by Fair Isle and my story as told by New Lives in the Wild UK. with Ben Fogle. Thank you so much for all your well wishes and plans to come to Fair Isle, my little home of joy and beauty. I hope to help who ever I can to get here if they wish a visit in the new year. 

On Thursday Dec 10th 2015 when the the show first aired I heard Channel 5 had 1.6 Million viewers during the broadcast. The show has been broadcasted a few more times and plus internet viewing has made it well watched by so many folks. I started getting emails and Facebook friend requests before the show even started from a few press stories... Daily Mail & Daily Record 

In fact I was getting so many friend requests that Facebook suggested I add a Follow button to let people see any thing I choose to make public. (I wouldn't put it on Facebook if I didn't want it public anyways, so you are not missing much.) Please follow me if you wish...

At 9pm I started watching the show for the first time... They where here shooting and in production in mid June so it had been a long wait and a bit of a worry as how I would be portrayed for quite awhile.... I watched it with some of my friends and neighbours with plenty of French sparkling wine. Ten minutes in my phone started ringing... it didn't stop during the whole show. (hello I'm in England and I am watching you on TV right now... I would like to bring my wife and I up to your Guesthouse?) I didn't want to be rude but I'm watching it too! call back tomorrow. please. that happened 4 times during the show... I love the enthusiasm and go for it now of these folks!

My phone rang the rest of the night... some friends... some more interested folks... at 1;30am. my phone rang from a lovely guy just wanting to talk about living the dream for an hour... then my phone rang at 7:30 am, and went on to do so all weekend...My son Henry was laughing at me everytime the phone rang. Friday morning when I checked Facebook I had over 1000 followers (now over 1700 follower) Plus over 1000 friend requests most not duplicated because I guess folk don't know the difference between friend and follower. I have accepted very few as friends In fact I had just gone through my facebook account and deleted a bunch of friends I had never met which seems sort of silly now. My facebook mail inbox said +99 messages! but it was hundreds... I had hundreds of other folks asking to join and messaging at my other facebook groups too, - Friends of Fair Isle - Auld Haa Guesthouse - Artist T.H, Hyndman page. 

When I looked at my Email it was overwhelming! how can I answer all of this? I'm just one guy and everytime a answer a message I get 2 more questions back. it's not just emails and Facebook! I had 20,000 hit on my blog the first night, over 50,000 this week. My youtube videos are getting lots of playtime too. Then there is Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, LinkedIn etc. things I hardly use, all asking for connections. At this point I have only managed to get to about 25% of the folks who have questions....

Fair Isle gone Hollywood!

Ok, I am going to try and answer most questions...
  • How do I get to Fair Isle? look at this Travel info link.

  • Can you send me some Guesthouse info? Auld Haa Guesthouse

  • How do I get a Patchwork Cap like yours? did not make it... I bought in Dublin, Ireland on my travels: John Hanly & co.

  • I would like to buy a Puffin Hat? I'm sorry I don't have any stock. I plan to make some in the new year. So talk to me in Feburary if you are still interested? The price is 40 pounds each.

Was Ben Fogle nice?

Yes, he is genuinely a nice guy and I think it shows on camera quite well. Though he was only around for a few days and I realized this was him doing his job and at work. He is very good at his job. And he still came across very humble and pleasant. There is a real man in there, like so many that travel for work and have long days, I could tell he missed his family and had all those pressure that goes along with it. Being away from home so much, even though he gets to go to amazing places is hard for him as a father and a husband I gathered. I don't get jealous of celebrates... I was however very jealous as Ben told me of his new The Big Fish fishing show between takes... Again he is travelling the world fishing instead of interviewing weirdos like me. Nice work if you can get it! I kept on saying "I'm on the wrong show! take me fishing! please!" Well I took Ben fishing with Jimmy and Daniel off of Fair Isle and that was pretty darn good too.

What about living alone?

Well first, my son lives with me. He goes to school in Lerwick, like all kids do from the outer isles in Shetland. It is not a fancy boarding school... it is Anderson High School in Shetland and they have living accommodations for student who live in the more remote areas of Shetland. This is cheaper for the Shetland Islands Council than having so many teachers for so few students stationed in remote places. In our case since the age of 12 Henry has gone to school only to come home every third weekend and on holidays. So yes, it does feel as I live alone most of the time. And no, I did not send my son away to a fancy boarding school.

In the past few years I have met a couple of very wonderful women who have travelled to Fair Isle, unfortunately personal commitments and other issues have kept us apart. Dreaming and wanting to move to such a remote place is easy, the realities are very hard on any relationship or person. Let's face it, relationships are not easy anywhere. Fair Isle does add a bit more complexity to it all. Yes I have gotten many correspondences from hopefully single woman... One said " If you every get tried of being lonely, let me know?" I wrote back, "If it was only that easy." I noticed she lived in Portland, Oregon... (Very convenient... not!) she wrote back, "I know" I don't think I'll hear from her again. I was talking to a friend and noted... If a single Mom was getting this type of attention from so many unknown men, she would be petrified and overwhelmed! I feel much the same as a single Dad. It is all very flattering and with good intentions. 
On the most part the messages and correspondences have been great! So many nice couples wanting to come and see Fair Isle together, Surprising how many guys have just wanted to say well done man! you are living the dream! Loads of people want hats! New fans of my artwork is always nice. Thank you so much everyone. I even got Christmas cards in the post! I have the best fans! some even sent small gifts and rootbeer! lol. Thank you!

What is next? LOL!

The BBC Scotland have a on going documentary on Fair Isle that they have been shooting on and off for most of the year... I'll let you know when it is coming out... but I think it will be quite a while... and no I have not sold the movie rights to my life story... and Daniel Craig has better things too do I'm sure. Ha! It's great to have a a friend that can simply take the piss out of you with photoshop just encase my head gets too big in my 15 minutes...   cheers!

Merry Christmas! 
Love Tommy & Henry



  1. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year from deepest darkest Galloway x

  2. I'm glad things are going well for you. I don't think you will be feeling lonely for a long long time lol.
    Merry Christmas to you both
    X x

  3. Merry Christmas to you and Henry. My daughter loves the gannet hat I bought fir her when my friend and I visited a few years ago. You might remember taking pity on us two "artists" as we really couldn't face the walk back up to the Observatory after seeing the area around your studio, chatting to Henry, etc, and you kindly drive us back up there. What a nice man, and we both were so impressed with Henry, such an engaging and articulate boy. If anyone deserves a happy future, you certainly do, and Zi wushu you all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

  4. Good luck up there and I hope you're well I loved the show

  5. My husband and I watched your programme and like everyone else thoroughly enjoyed it - Henry is a credit to you and his mother and you are a very nice man - I hope you get lots of bookings and that it has quietened down now - the correspondence and phone calls must have sent you doolally - I wonder if it's like this for everyone? Generally I have enjoyed this series of new lives and hope you don't regret taking part

  6. Hi Tommy, I have messaged you also via facebook messaging but I am pretty sure you will have PLENTY of correspondence to wade through. Would love to visit Fair isle with a view to coming to live there- am hoping you may know how we can pursue that. Hope you can grab a mo to reply when you get a chance and your feet touch the ground again! happy New Year!

  7. Great to read this, and the series has been a good one too!

    Fair Isle looks such a great place.

    Have a good 2016

    All the best Jan

  8. What a great post!!i had almost forgotten what a beautiful place you live in..
    I think i will google how to get there from my place in Norway.Thanx for the links


    1. let me know If you have any questions. cheers Tommy

  9. Where you live is stunning Tommy!! Loved the programme with you Henry and Ben too....felt really jealous looks so peaceful 😉

  10. brilliant program about you and your island. You are great guy and we hope to visit you and your island one day.All the best Tommy..Lani family Buckinghamshire

  11. I am absolutely disgusted and sickened how you can break a chickens neck and kill your lambs/sheep for food totally unnecessarily. You chose to live there and those beautiful animals are knowingly killed with your sons awareness. Absolutely disgusted and sickened at your attitude towards these poor creatures..As for Ben Fogle,I'm surprised at his agreement with this but after seeing him supporting hunting this morning on TV I'm no longer a fan of his. Shame on you both.

    1. Julie, your world must be so different from mine? You have no idea how much I love and respect animals and wildlife. It is a shame you could not see that and you are clouded with your own agenda and not accepting of a more accountable life style where we respect life and our food more because we are closer to life and death and closely connected to the spirituality of all things.

  12. What a shame that negative comments are posted on here. can't get food much fresher than that chicken. You'll find that only killing and preparing food when you need it is just about the best way.

    Anyway, that's just my opinion...

    I wish Tommy and Henry the very best of everything. Well done Tommy, you're an inspiration.

  13. What a hypocritical view and comment. I guess some vegetarians think they are "the only compassionate and good" kind of people in this world. But they are still eating some living things (vegetable is "alive" until you kill it for food) to survive! For non-vegetarian who only buy processed food (or someone killed it for your consumption), thinking that I didn't kill it (and I closed my eyes when someone killed it for me) so I'm cleared of sin! What a hypocritical crap! God give us both kind of food: vegetable and meat!

  14. @ Julie, due to religious reasons I abstain from killing animals whenever I can. Having said that, I wonder where you, your family members or loved ones get the food from? Some divine beings dropped the food on your plate fully cooked? In time to come I hope you learn to see the world through a more open minded and compassionate view. The fact that food doesn't come easy makes the people living there more respectful of the food sources and every kill is done out of necessity instead of fun and wastage. Bless ya Tommy, you have a big heart and I hope to visit you and the island some day. Cheers!

  15. Hi, I've just watched the rerun of the show. Thank you to your and your son for sharing an insight into your lives. Fascinating!

  16. Tommy the island looks fantastic but did not see any trees. Are there any at all there and if not, is that just due to the weather or other reason. ?

  17. Hi Tommy (and Henry) I 'stumbled' on the show a few days and was transfixed. I live on the coast...Southport in the North West of England. It's not remote though but it has some really cool wildlife locally in the Formby Pinewoods. You came across as a very contented guy. I always expect Americans to be 'brash.' No bad thing but it can be wearing at times. You on the other hand had a 'way' with you that the camera liked. Your son is a credit to you. he was very polite and pleasant. Probably as a result of living in such a beautiful place and also because with so few people on the Isles he hasn't become 'cynical' in his viewpoint. If I ever get to the Fair Isles yours is THE place i will stay! I loved your comment 'Never trust a thin chef.' How very true! Best wishes. Frank. email...assuming you have time on your hands:

    Cheers for restoring my faith in human nature!

  18. Hi Tommy and Henry
    My husband Nicolas and I just watched the show with Ben Fogle and wanted to say hello from France to both of you. Fair isle is a very beautiful place. We are these kind of people who would love to move away and start a new life in such a wonderful place. You did it and, wow, well done !!
    Hope everything is ok for you and Henry. Enjoy your life !! Hope to meet you both one day Fair isle need to be discovered !! Nadine & Nicolas from France

  19. Hey Tommy and Henry!
    I loved the documentary! Inspired me a LOT!!!
    Someone from Australia

  20. I am here now and just want to say thank you for a tremendous post and an all-around entertaining website. It is an extraordinary site you have here…I sincerely acknowledge BLOGGERS like you! birthday message for mother long distance

  21. What a wonderful piece of information you provide in your article. The information you provide is excellent. Please continue to provide us with such important information. My latest article was about Click Speed Test Check Clicks Per Second. See my article on Click Speed Test CPS Test Click Test. Check out my website and let me know what you think.