Latest Life is packed with controversy and interest

This month’s edition of Shetland Life is packed with controversy. Should there be elections to the Charitable Trust? Editor Malachy Tallack thinks not, and it is his contention that democracy is not always the answer.

Then Jimmy Stout offers food for thought in his letter from Fair Isle. Will Lerwick’s prestigious new museum and archives be safe from flooding? And, as two men await a court appearance for allegedly clubbing 21 seals to death, he says that the seal population is too high in some places, and argues “non-managment is really mis-management”. The same applies to rabbits, the population of which has reached “epidemic proportions”.

By contrast it is wallabies and possums that are eating the garden of Louise Brewer in Tasmania, her contribution being an antidote to life in Shetland.

The Shetlink article refers to the controversy about a proposed slaughterhouse in Scalloway’s East Voe – why were houses built in an industrial area in the first place?

And it tackles the ambulance issue which has recently hit the headlines. Could retained firemen be trained as community first responders, to be first on the scene prior to the arrival of the ambulance?

The same subject is on the mind of Vaila Wishart, in fine form as she derides the “cunning plan” of the first responder scheme as a “daft and dangerous way of saving money”. She has also discovered something about the CT scanner.

Then Sandy Peterson airs his thoughts on stopping young people behaving badly, and architect Richard Gibson gives his opinion on what went wrong with Lerwick town centre and how the planners could not cope with the advent of the motor car.

He preferred Lerwick in earlier days, and there is more nostalgia in Douglas Sinclair’s historical article about Bakers Well, in what is now Mounthooly Street, when up to 50 women would wait to get water.

Past times in Unst are recalled by Jonathan Wills, who was skipper of the Muckle Flugga attending boat Grace Darling (some of this material is in a new book from Unst Heritage Trust).

There are good recollections of the time the fire brigade got to the Isle of Vaila in two hours – and bad memories of a notorious dentist.

Taking Shetland into the present, and out of the box, is Adam Grydehøj, who will host a conference taking a “holistic” look at islands in Lerwick’s museum in May. The UK is an island, he reminds us, and so is Greenland, 1,477 times as big as Shetland.

Ronnie Eunson sings the praises of his favourite bird in his article and Donald Murray’s column, Note from a Niseach, is always thought-provoking.

Even more variety is on offer in the magazine with lots of photos of cute children from Garry Sandison.

There are regular features too – Shetland place names, an article in dialect, Joyce Garden’s wildlife diary, this month with a stunning photo of a winter sky, and the usual favourites for younger readers of the wordsearch and Tushie Truncherfaece.


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