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Voluntary Action Shetland

New Shetlander - 280 Simmer 2017

Front Cover issue 280 Summer 2017

The attractive cover of the latest New Shetlander is by Paul Bloomer: ‘I dreamt I saw geese flying through northern lights’.

The content is full of variety. It leads off with the vividly descriptive story ‘Benediction’, first published in the magazine in 1967, together with an appreciation by Mary Blance of its writer, the late John Harold Johnson (pen name Ronnie Sill).

The editorial looks back at the result of the General Election, and the history of past General Elections in Orkney and Shetland. Willie Thompson’s ‘Wadder eye’ looks sharply at various national and international issues, and back home.

Ian Tait’s First World War research has now enabled him to present an intriguing picture of ‘The Swarbacks Minn Sports’: the sporting activities of the men of the 10th Cruiser Squadron, based in and around Busta Voe. Sports available included angling, cricket, football and golf. 

Eileen Brooke-Freeman explains a process that few of us knew anything about: selecting the names on Ordnance Survey maps. In ‘Determining the name’, she introduces us to the nineteenth-century Ordnance Survey name books, which are now available online, and explains their purpose and use. Everyone who has ever complained or even wondered about the names on maps will be interested.

There has been a great response from poets in this issue. They write on a wide range of subjects, giving much to think about. There is also a tribute to one of Shetland’s best poets: the article, ‘Lights on the darkening water’, is a translation of a chapter from the latest book by the Swedish poet Håkon Anderson. His book is entitled British miscellany; literary rambles, and the chapter deals with the poetry of Stella Sutherland. He selects favourite poems and reflects on the strength of Stella’s writing.

‘A collection of kinship’, by Berenice Carrington, takes us into the world of ethnographic drawing, and explains the thinking behind her 2016 exhibition in the Old Haa, Burravoe. Nine images bring the exhibition to life, illustrating links between items in the Old Haa collections and other parts of the artist’s experience.

‘The watcher’, a poignant short story by John Cumming, paints an everyday picture with clarity and understanding, and ends strikingly.

Kerry Karam has been researching ‘Knappin’, and has found it to be a fascinating subject, where almost everyone she interviewed had an opinion. Her article is based on one aspect of her research: the idea of knappin in writing. Many opinions are quoted (but no names mentioned!)

The magazine is on sale now, and costs £2.

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