Great countryside and walks – and no bears…

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Originally from Nova Scotia, artist Wilda Goyetche moved to Sheffield six years ago after spending three years in Bermuda. She met her Geordie husband Steve working in Bermuda in the computer industry. In Sheffield Wilda retrained as a fitness instructor and took up art as a hobby.

Initially she found Sheffield dark and dreary by comparison. “When I got off the plane in Manchester I didn’t want to set my bags down. But the people and the city itself have grown on me and today it seems bright and fun.”

Wilda has always been in love with painting but never believed she could be an artist herself. She taught herself,and the hobby soon became a full-time job. Today her pictures can be found on walls in Bermuda, Britain, Canada, France, Slovakia, Sweden and the US.

She’s set to exhibit at Art In The Gardens in the Botanical Gardens on Saturday and Sunday, which last year attracted more than 350 artists and 16,000 visitors over the two days. Visit wildago.com to find out more about Wilda’s paintings and www.eventsheffield.com for Art In The Gardens.

PEOPLE, ABOVE ALL

Moving to a new country takes some adjusting and the people in Sheffield gave me a warm welcome from Day one. Abbeydale Sports Club as well as neighbours and even people met on the bus have all been sources of new friendships. Folks who buy my art have become friends, too. And there are senior citizens who are still so active and teach me about local history and how to stay young.

WALKING & TALKING

I walk everywhere because I’m not fond of driving in Sheffield. Not only is it healthier, you get to know your neighbours and, believe me, they are worth knowing here. When I walk to an appointment I have to allow a few extra minutes because I almost always run into someone who likes to stop and chat.

Being married to a Geordie and living in South Yorkshire I’ve had to learn a lot of new words like mardy, marrah, nesh and nowt. I still mix up pants with trousers, pudding with custard and biscuits with scones.

Peak District walks are great. I like the sheep and horses and purple heather everywhere. I like the views of barren moors as much as the lush green valleys, all just five minutes from Sheffield.

WILDLIFE

Compared with Canada, there’s nothing really dangerous here like bears, so walks in the countryside seem safer. I like ducks stopping Dore village traffic and that in my ‘suburban’ garden you can spot foxes, owls, mice, toads, squirrels, many birds, butterflies, hedgehogs and most recently a baby rabbit. Once a fox buried a duck egg in my flower bed…

BUILDINGS & GARDENS

Everything is so old compared with Canada and where I come from the homes are made of timber. Here the old stone cottages, barns, mews and churches have loads of appeal. I also like the gardens and the way everyone here seems to be born with a green thumb. Even the tiniest yard is often very beautiful with flowers and features. I love roses climbing up a stone cottage and the smell of the yellow jasmines as I wait for the bus outside the Botanical Gardens.

There’s an Italian barber shop on the corner of Campo Lane and Hawley Street I like very much (partly because the owner has hung my pictures there). Also, I did a painting of the elegant Chimney House on Kelham Island which was once home to an elephant named Sarah.

WEATHER

Believe it or not,I do like the weather. I like that it rarely snows and there is a long growing season. With all the rain it seems to stay lush and green much of the year. I like that people walk around in wellies and that my husband comes home from mountain biking every weekend covered in mud, grinning from ear to ear.

FAVOURITE FOODS

Waitrose and M&S – and it’s not just the packaging; fresh breads from the Co-op in Dore; the friendly Honey Bun Café for tarts in Bakewell; Blue Moon Café near the Cathedral; Elif on Ecclesall Road for takeaway kebabs; The Mohul in Totley for curries; and that continental market that comes to the city centre every so often.

SHEFFIELD TRAIN STATION

I didn’t take trains before moving to Sheffield so it is a novel means of travel for me. Besides being a beautiful building, I have good memories of trips to London from there. One of the commissions I did for Sheffield Doc/Fest last year had the station in the background. Sketching it gave me even more appreciation of its beauty and interest.

SHEFFIELD TOWN HALL

Steve and I were married at the Town Hall and I was sworn in as a British citizen there. The same lovely lady (Hilary) signed both certificates.

PARKS

I spent a lot of time at Graves Park when I lived at Norton, where I used to go to see the owl at dusk and the hairy cows (Highland Cattle I think). The Botanical Gardens, Ecclesall Woods, the Round Walk – we’re lucky to have so much green in a city.

ARTISTS

There are many good Sheffield artists. I am an admirer of Joe Scarborough, Lynne Wilkinson, Pete McKee, Phil Lockwood and Wendy Carlton to name just a few.