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Voluntary Action Shetland

Issue Number 267 - Voar 2014

New Shetlander issue 267 front cover

The Voar New Shetlander, No 267, is full of variety and interest, from within Shetland and beyond. The eye-catching cover photo, taken on the Alison Kay by Kevin Ritch, accompanies the lead article, So Much to Sea, a feature on Shetland’s seafood industry, contributed by Ruth Henderson of Seafood Shetland. Well supplied with photographs, the article reflects on the huge yet often unrecognised importance of the industry, and the interest in the current So Much to Sea exhibition. The information may well surprise some readers.

Christine De Luca presents a vivid and sympathetic picture of a skilled fiddler: Jean Pole, the quiet expert (1880 – 1965). In the days when when hardly any women played the fiddle, Jean’s skill and knowledge were acknowledged by fiddlers of her day, at home and eventually farther afield, and the article expresses a wish that she might be better remembered. Again, there are several photographs.

Dr Mark Smith introduces readers to the Writing the North project and imminent exhibition, exploring the literature of Orkney and Shetland. The project is a collaboration between Shetland Museum and Archives, Orkney Library and Archives, the University of Edinburgh, and island writers. One of the writers involved, Morag MacInnes, has also contributed to this Voar issue; she writes a perceptive appreciation of Eric Linklater’s Kind Kitty.

In An oily muggie ebbs up in da Dear Green Place, Mary Blance is delighted to recount the events of the Shetland Day at the Glasgow Film Festival in February. Textile artist Diane Garrick recently completed a residency in the map department of the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, and obviously enjoyed it immensely. Her lively article Maps, maps and more maps is beautifully illustrated with copies of several kinds of map, by kind courtesy of the National Library, including a Cold War Soviet version of Edinburgh, and a hand-coloured map from 1582, together with pictures of Diane’s own work.

There are three short stories. John Cumming’s vivid Draig depicts a father and two youthful sons in a peerie boat on a freezing cold routine day that suddenly gains an element of nightmare. Kay Wheatcroft’s Sea bean recovery 1945 is a quietly told insight into the mind of a returning POW. Jennifer Johnson has recreated some possible events in centuries past that may have led to The Balfour line.

Poems by Gordon Dargie, Christine De Luca, James Sinclair and Kay Wheatcroft add to the quality of the magazine, as does Laughton Johnston’s contribution of poems by the late Jim Rankin, former teacher of English at the AndersonHigh School, and a published poet and dramatist. Laughton has included short biographical details of Jim Rankin.

Da wadder eye focuses locally, with a sympathetic glance to the flood-stricken areas of Britain. The editorial considers the impending choice of Yes or No, and the shortcomings of the national debate so far. Book reviews complete the magazine. 

The New Shetlander is on sale from 14 March, price £2. 

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