Times Past 07.08.09

25 Years Ago

Scottish poet Alan Bold has spent some time recently researching the life of Hugh MacDiarmid, and last month he visited Whalsay, where the poet spent nine years of his life, from 1933-1942.

The house in which MacDiarmid lived has deteriorated over the years. The roof has gone and inside rubble covers what used to be the living room. Mr Bold is now suggesting that the SIC buys the cottage and renovates it as a monument to the great poet. He believes such a task would be relatively inexpensive and “used as a museum” would be an asset to the island, which he describes as “an island of exquisite, visual sensations and vital people”.

The owner of the land where the house stands is Mr Jimmy Arthur of Sodom, who lives nearby. He remembers MacDiarmid and his family well. They lived very frugally, he said, and it would not take much to do it up to the condition it was in when they lived there.

Mr Arthur said that he gets quite a few visitors each year coming to visit the old ruin and thought it would be a good idea if the house could be renovated.

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Aerogenerators – windmills to the layman – could soon be a major development in Shetland.

At Wednesday’s planning meeting councillors considered a report on the subject from the director of planning Mr Gordon Mann. The department has recently received planning applications connected with a proposal from North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to use wind power to help meet the need for electricity here. The board wants to carry out tests on the amount of energy available at two sites – Sroo Hill in Cunningsburgh and Susetter Hill, Voe.

If the tests are successful, says Mr Mann, the board will then put up aerogenerators on each site. The Cunningsburgh site will contain three generators of probably 750Kw capacity. They would be mounted on towers 30 metres high. At Susetter Hill the machines proposed are bigger, generating 3,000Kw and 45 metres high.

Mr Mann suggested various points that councillors may like to consider about such developments and reported that the Hydro Board is willing to fund a trip to Orkney so that councillors can see the development that have taken place there.

Members of the council were generally in favour of the proposals, and it was agreed a delegation should go to Orkney.

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The person who has lost a partly eaten 5lb box of chocolates near Lerwick town centre can pick them up from the police station where it has been handed in.

50 Years Ago

For the first time ever in Shetland a man appeared in court on a under the 1958 Litter Act for smashing a bottle on the pavement and leaving the fragment – but because it was the first time this Act had been brought into force in Shetland he was admonished.

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If Mr Leonard Clancy, holder of the world record for permanent waving, has his way women in Fair Isle and Foula will have the smartest hair styles in the world.

Mr Clancy travels all over the country and the continent for three leading manufacturers of hair colour products and creams, demonstrating latest hair styles.

He was in Fair Isle on holiday last week and will be back next spring to give demonstrations on these two islands of the latest styles.

100 Years Ago

Biting the skipper’s head – There was some humour and a hint of what might have been tragedy at the Sheriff Court on Monday afternoon, when a Dutchman, Peter Roozen, was charged with biting Ernest Sharmah, master of the steam drifter Majestic, H.444, on the head, at Mr John Harper’s fishcuring station, Holmsgarth, on Sunday.

Roozen pled guilty to the charge, and was represented by Mr G. W. Hoggan, solicitor.

The Fiscal said that the accused had had a disagreement with a member of the Majestic’s crew. On Sunday, while drunk, he went to fight him, and got into the cabin. A knife was lying in the cabin, and accused took it up and said he would do for the crew. The skipper closed with him, and in the struggle was bitten. He did not charge accused with using the knife.

Speaking on behalf of Roozen, Mr Hoggan said he was drunk at the time. In Holland it was not unusual, he believed, for men to use their teeth. “This is,” he said, “quite a customary plan in Holland for showing affection in the wrong way.” There was no effusion of blood in the complaint, and he objected to the knife being produced by Mr Galloway.

The Sheriff inquired where the skipper was bitten and it appeared to be a little behind and above the temple.

The Sheriff – He might have taken off his ear.

Mr Hoggan – There is no production of an ear in Court, my lord.

Subsequently the Sheriff asked if accused had been injured at all in the struggle.

Mr Hoggan – He has an eye that speaks for itself, my lord.

The Sheriff said that seeing there was nothing about effusion of blood, he would impose a penalty of £1, or 14 days imprisonment. The money was paid in accused’s behalf.

The knife, which Mr Galloway had lying on the table in Court, was a business-looking instrument some eight or nine inches in length.


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