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New Shetlander - 286 Yule 2018

New Shetlander No 286

The Yule issue of the New Shetlander contains a typical mixture of new writing, plenty to read on a winter night. With the centenary of the end of the First World War only just behind us, the magazine leads with ‘Finding out about the war’ by Angus Johnson of Shetland Archives. Angus, who has helped with many a publication on the subject, explains his life-long interest in the War and his reactions to what he has read and learned. The War also features elsewhere: Laughton Johnston adds a final footnote to the poignant story of ‘The last testament of James Scott Jamieson’, while Jim Harold of Glasgow tells the story of a relative of his, Robert Balfour, killed in action in 1918.

There are two very different short stories. Annie Broon has written the entertaining latest instalment of the adventures of James John and friends at Sullom Voe (construction phase): ‘Dancin wi Dodie - part 1’. Allen Fraser, winner of the 2018 Rhoda Bulter Award, contributes ‘Mairweet, mairweet’. Weather was the subject required by the Award, and weather dominates the story, which is set in the past, and involves witchcraft.

The Adie family business used to be important locally and many people will know that the business began with Thomas M. Adie. Chris Adie has now researched the story of T.M. Adie’s father, Dr John Adie, born in 1782. Dr John was a navy surgeon, and a colourful character, heartily disapproved of by many of his descendants! Chris’s narrative takes us to 1819; the final instalment will appear in the next issue.

Poems by Roseanne Watt and Peter Ratter are specially featured. Roseanne won the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize, and Peter was on the shortlist of five.  The New Shetlander is delighted at their success.

‘Lunklet’ writes ‘Da wadder eye’, and is obviously keeping a close and observant eye on Shetland from somewhere ida sooth. Like so many others, Lunklet follows social media, which means that ‘watching home from afar is easy’.

Frank Manson, another exile, contributes ‘Backward glances’, which recalls his young life in Hillswick and Lerwick in the 1950s and 60s, and focuses especially on Christmas. This piece should strike a chord with many readers.

Two young prizewinners from the Waas Show write poems about the natural world, one about fish, the other the seasons.

Christine De Luca’s poem ‘Refuge’, with a parallel Norwegian translation, was written in memory of the young Norwegian men of the Shetland Bus in the Second World War. The poem accompanies Christine’s short article: ‘A Shetland Bus connection’. James Sinclair’s poem ‘Island dreams’ is a striking tribute to two friends of his, now no longer with us: the poets Alex Cluness and Jim Moncrieff. 

There are more poems, and book reviews as usual. The New Shetlander is priced at £2.

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