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Voluntary Action Shetland
Hairst 2006

Issue 237 - Hairst 2006

The Hairst 2006 issue of the New Shetlander, 237, appeared on Wordplay weekend, with the editors enthusiastic about the event, and about books in general.  The magazine is packed with a wide range of interesting content. The cover picture is an unusual photo from St Ninian’s Isle ayre. 

Emma Perring, SIC policy and development co-ordinator, describes "A developing relationship between Shetland and Tharaganbadi" in Tamil Nadu, where Shetland aims to help people striving to rebuild their community after the tsunami disaster.  This is a project where interested individuals are still welcome to get involved, as Emma explains.  Some of Shetland’s young folk recently were involved in the Tall Ships Race, and something of the thrill of that unique experience is captured in Robert Wishart’s vivid "Under full sail". Both articles have good photographs. ‘Banks Broo’ writes a stimulating Wadder eye, reflecting pride in our community on one hand while challenging our worship of the motor car on the other.

Local history is always important to the New Shetlander.  In an article featuring a song, a melody and a background story, Charlie Simpson reminds us of one notable element of the Second World War in Shetland: the Home Defence Company of the Gordon Highlanders, otherwise known as Da Blinnd Hunder.  The song is intriguing, but fun.  Ian Tait’s chosen photographer from the past is John Smith, pictured at his desk in Hamnavoe School in 1912.  A highlight for many local readers will undoubtedly be Brian Smith’s paper on Laurence Williamson of Mid Yell.  Laurence (1855-1936) was a clever and extremely knowledgeable man – he was of great assistance to Jakob Jakobsen, for example – but he was also an unusual and eccentric character. 

There are two excellent, contrasting short stories: John Cumming’s sharp and shocking "Neill", written in the voice of Burra Isle, and Morag MacInnes’  "Three steps to heaven", an amusing Orcadian account of one man’s experience of Stromness Shopping Week.  We look back briefly to the launch of the National Theatre of Scotland, when HOME Shetland was performed on the Hjaltland: we feature extracts from the work of Jackie Kay and our own Jacqueline Clark.

The poetry is wide-ranging, and includes a dialect translation by Christine De Luca, a set of three haiku-style poems on Iceland by Christian Tait, and John Magnus Tait in good form, writing in English.

There are the usual book reviews, and a lightsome quiz invites you to "Extend your dialect word power"


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