13th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

New Life tackles all the issues, big and small

The June edition of the Shetland Life magazine goes on sale today, and proves to be one of the best for some time.

Very interesting is editor Malachy Tallack’s take on the current Westminster revelations, where he points the finger at journalists, labelling them a “notorious bunch of expenses junkies”. Interesting because Tallack is a journalist himself, but he goes on to qualify his statement.

If an employer, even the state, offers to foot the bill for something, most people would say “yes please”, Tallack reckons. He then goes on to equate the example of Douglas Hogg claiming £2,000 to have his moat cleaned, to that of clearing out the drain at the back of his own house, albeit on a smaller scale. If the money is available Tallack would take it, he says, but if he’s dreaming of claiming for a moat at Channerwick off Shetland Life expenses he’s probably out of luck.

Contrast that with the view of Vaila Wishart, writing in her Comment column, who thinks that ethically the politicians “haven’t got a leg to stand on”, and even goes as far as to suggest that some of the “fiddling” needs to be investigated by the police.

Staying with journalists, former Radio Shetland reporter Jonathan Sutherland, now rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in Scottish football in his job on the BBC’s Sportscene programme, shares his passions in A dream job.

He’s certainly enthusiastic, is Sutherland, who reveals that he is much happier behind a microphone than his attempt at print journalism as deputy editor of the short-lived Shetland Weekly newspaper. He makes no secret of his love for celebrities and “celeb” culture.

Now to history. In the second of his two-part feature, Douglas Smith tells the story of the German battleship Tirpitz, bombed near Tromsø in Norway in 1944, while Douglas Sinclair recalls King Alphonso of Spain’s visit to the isles on a cruise ship in 1931. Charlie Simpson, meanwhile, highlights a planning controversy a century ago when Lerwick people united (almost) to oppose a new herring station development at Twageos. He compares that with the current windfarm proposal which appears to be splitting the central Mainland community.

There are four pages of photographs of South Georgia, taken by Robert Wishart after popping ashore for a bit of stravaiging while traversing the Southern Ocean on his yacht Keita. He proves as adept with the camera as he is with the sextant, or whatever apparatus modern-day James Cooks use to find their way around the Antarctic regions. Shetland’s dwindling number of ex-whalers will find some of the images fascinating, although Wishart concentrates as much on the natural beauty of the island as the crumbling station which many of them will remember.

Burra-based councillor Betty Fullerton, who will be stepping down as “chairman” of NHS Shetland, as she prefers to be called, reveals in 21 questions what has motivated her from her teenage years in Cunningsburgh to her work in the bank, council and health board. If she could go back in time she would like to be a teenager or a child again, she refreshingly discloses, a sentiment many of us would share.

Elsewhere Val Turner digs into archaeology, Joyce Garden writes about wildlife, Ronnie Eunson highlights agricultural matters, Simon Mundy explains what his artist mother June Hainault found so fascinating about the isles, and Ann Prior shares some tempting recipes in Essential eating.

Finally, in his Notes from a niseach Donald Murray deals with something we are all familiar with – wind! In his well-written piece Murray underlines the power, effect and devastation which a storm can bring, and also how an ill wind brought some good to the village of Borve in Lewis.

JWT