Life includes history, dialect, green issues and belly dancing

A varied selection of articles is on offer in this month’s Shetland Life, on sale today. Editor Malachy Tallack discusses the possible decline of the dialect, which, he says, he was “quietly discouraged” from attempting to speak.

The present wish to keep it alive is tellingly portrayed in Sandy Peterson’s hilarious pupil-teacher dialogues – one from 1959, when the English-speaking teacher reprimanded the Shetland-speaking pupil, contrasting with one from the present when the roles are reversed.

In Shetland ForWirds, two academics from south who have been studying the dialect wonder if the familiar “du” will still be prevalent in 30 years time, or will we all be speaking an Anglo-Scots mix?

There is more dialect in Eileen Brooke-Freeman’s article about place names. This month she explores association with kye – the prefix bu (as in Buness) denotes a stock of cattle.

However Ronnie Eunson, in his regular article Rooin da Krangs, is more concerned with the jargon of officialdom.

The coming of spring is celebrated in Joyce Garden’s Wildlife Diary, in which she visits the Cairngorms, and if you fancy a seasonal delicacy you could try Ann Prior’s recipe for nettle, cheese and walnut scones (as well as chocolate fudge cake).

Vaila Wishart is on fine form, as ever, wondering if the council will ever stop spending money: “is there a big machine in the Town Hall which re-programmes them with the inability to say no?” But she praises Shetland’s annual Voar Redd Up, a fine communal effort.

More green issues are explored in the article about the appointment at Shetland Amenity Trust of carbon reduction officer Harriet Bolt. Her aim is to cut Shetland’s carbon dioxide emissions by 28,000 tonnes in two years, quite a task when it is pointed out that this is equivalent to taking 10,555 cars off the road. We can all do our bit by recycling plastic bags and using energy-efficient light bulbs.

More recycling is featured in a week in the life of the Auld Skule Recycling Centre in Aith. Did you know it is a popular Sunday outing and volunteers patiently sort buttons and do the jigsaws to make sure all the pieces are there?

There is history in Douglas Smith’s article about the sinking of the Tirpitz, and local history about Lerwick’s Danish Dairy, complete with photos, from Douglas Sinclair. The black and white tiles of the dairy, which sold butter and cheese but not milk, are still visible at the entrance to a Lerwick shop.

Coming right up to date are panoramic photos from John Pedley and an article about Shetland’s cultural strategy from writer Cathy Feeny. One person, she says, can make a difference – witness the popularity of African drumming and belly dancing.

There are all the popular regular articles too – Tushie Truncherfaece and Notes from a Niseach, as well as the wordsearch, sudoku and crossword.


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