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Voluntary Action Shetland
Issue 243, Voar 2008

243 - Voar 2008

The 243rd New Shetlander, with a cover showing Jack Duncan and Robbie Tait at work on the sixern at Hay's Dock, is in the shops.


   The editorial, we need hardly say, is about John Graham, and all the things he did for the magazine, and for Shetland. It's heart-felt.


   As usual, the New Shetlander contains fine poetry. Jim Mainland has produced six translations from eastern European poets into the Shetland dialect. He first tried them out, to acclaim, at the New Shetlander Christmas concert last year. Here's hoping there are more in the pipeline. Christine de Luca is at her best with a meditation on an old school photo from Waas, and Gordon Dargie revisits a folk tale from Burra. There's a preview of Jen Hadfield's new poetry collection, Nigh-no-Place.


   Everyone knew the Varangian, and Alex Johnson explores her history and the people who owned her. His piece is illustrated by interesting photos from the southern hemisphere, her destination. Another antipodean offering is Robyn Hukin's "Cheynes, trains and puzzles completed", which deals with the solution to a genealogical mystery. Ian Tait comes slightly nearer home when he deals with James Russell, who emigrated to Cape Colony and looked after a diamond mine.


   Fiona-Jane Brown, a postgraduate student in Aberdeen , writes her first impressions of Shetland, and ponders what Shetlanders had to tell her about superstition and good and bad luck at sea. Wendy Gear, the new writer of Da Wadder Eye, discusses environmental and health matters.


   There are two articles on health matters: Margaret Birrell argues that "La moderation a bien meilleur gout", especially where alcohol is concerned; and Debbie Thomson tells the story of the CLAN house in Aberdeen , boon to many Shetlanders.


   There are stories: Laureen Johnson's "Wire-tapping", and Barbara Fraser's "Whin maet wis maet". And John Cumming writes in beautiful dialect about a sea-cook.


   The New Shetlander editors love a long, meaty book review. This time there are seven pages of them! It's an enjoyable number.


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