Views from the Scord 09.10.09

Harbour activity

It was a quiet week for Scalloway Harbour in general, but fish landings were up considerably on the previous meagre week.

The only non-fishing related vessel using the port was the harbour mainstay Ronja Settler which made regular visits to the port throughout the week, often delivering salmon in the dead of night as she fetches her cargo from distant sites.

The fishmarket lay empty on Monday morning but landings improved throughout the week resulting in a reasonable total of 1,146 boxes by last Friday.

The Radiant Star, Comrades, Fertile, Prevail, Venture, Quiet Waters and Venturous contributed to the total with the highest single landing coming from the Venturous with 351 boxes on Wednesday.

The Banff-registered Caspian was in port for shelter last weekend and the Fraserburgh-registered Solstice also landed on Wednesday evening.

Shoreside activity on the pier was also minimal during the week and the last remnants of the large steel salmon cage broken up in the West Quay still remain, awaiting transfer to Lerwick for scrapping.

New fish shop opens

The revitalisation of the Scalloway Main Street took a further leap forward last week with the opening of a new fish shop in the premises formerly occupied by the Post Office.

The new shop is an addition to the successful fish selling business of the Hunter family, who have operated fish vans from a factory unit at Blacksness for many years.

The new shop is being run by Joan Hunter and son Gilbert, a combination that truly “keeps it the family” as the main business is run by older son Andrew and wife Vivian, assisted by father Gibby.

As a mark of the family’s approach to the new business the shop was formally opened with a ribbon cutting performed by Andrew and Vivien’s children Campbell and Sheryl.

The shop will sell all types of fish landed locally, last week including shark steaks and redfish and a number of exotic species from further afield, such as tiger prawns and fresh tuna.

The Hunters have also gained a solid reputation for quality smoked fish, with new varieties of smoked mackerel, kippers and smoked scallops on offer. The shop is also stocking other fish-related products, local vegetables and cured products such as marinated herring.

Andrew Hunter said it had taken a year of preparation to get the project to this stage, although he confessed that a shop on the street was not something they had ever considered. Then they were approached by the owners of the building that houses the shop, Michael Johnson and Terry MacCaffrey, who had speculated that a fish shop would be an ideal addition to the newly-developed area and existing nearby shops and butcher’s business.

“I’d like to thank Michael and Terry for approaching me,” Andrew said. “It’s a really good idea. I’d also like to thank my family for putting up with me when I’ve been getting stressed in the run-up and the Radiant Star for donating a box of haddocks to us for the opening.”

Andrew thinks the shops on the street will benefit from each other’s passing trade and to capitalise on that they have opted to keep the shop open until 6pm in the evening to catch workers returning home during the week and on Saturday too.

The recent influx of people to occupy new housing and the prospect of further developments continues to bolster the future prospects of the village and centrally placed amenities can only add to that progress.

The rest of Anderson’s Buildings was converted from a derelict property to modern flats earlier this year by Hjaltland Housing Association, in an innovative refurbishment that included a nursery and childcare business on the adjoining shop frontage.

Variety night

Scalloway Hall held a treasure chest of acts for Saturday night’s Shetland Bus Friendship Society (SBFS) variety concert.

Regular compère Leslie Watt hosted the evening and a show that provided a wide range of entertainments for the large assembled crowd.

The show began with a two young musicians from the Scalloway Junior High School, John Williamson on saxophone and Annie Hunteron clarinet, who played brief but cheerful numbers to a warm response.

The audience were then treated to one of Hazel Jamieson’s Shetland poetry recitals, performed in the suitable attire of an auld Shetland wife, complete with headscarf and “peenie”.

Hazel’s natural delivery of charming verse is a pleasure to watch and hear and the hearty applause she received as she shuffled off stage again showed this was a shared opinion. Her whimsical and light-hearted poem was a fitting warm-up for the next act, a sketch appropriately name Going around the Bend.

While amateur dramatics are seldom seen apart from snippets like this in Scalloway, this gem surely made an impact on all present with laughter aplenty at the antics of Bella Jamieson, played by Vilma Glancy. She attempted a driving lesson with the despairing, sozzled, pill-guzzling instructor “Mr Articulus”, played by Magnie Williamson, as Bella’s shockingly poor driving drove him to drink and eventual arrest.

All played too much hilarity, plentiful sound effects, local references and undoubtedly a spot of well-placed extra ad-libbing on the part of Mr Articulus which added to the chaotic nature of scripted events and drew even more laughter from the crowd. The policeman was played by Davy Cooper and hapless passenger Samantha by Anne Arthur.

Some historical characters were remembered in the next act, a poetry recital by Davy Cooper of a verse written a generation or two ago by Alistair Thomson about the dances at the Scalloway Hall, which was well received in the same venue by and audience that for the best part could remember the times and events referred to.

Three-piece family band the Wisharts are a well-honed and popular act that have played Shetland events for 37 years and surprisingly this was the first time they had played Scalloway Hall in all that time.

Their mix of popular country tunes, with three-part vocal harmonies to guitar with harmonica and mandolin accompaniment, went down well and set feet a-tapping in the hall.

Similarly Jim Budge and friends performed a set of four songs that warmed the crowd and went down well and held a mix of styles and songs from a well-practised ensemble. Vocals from Jim, Neil Cruikshank and Una Simpson, harmonies from Rick Nickerson and the combination of all of the above along with their respective instruments and Peter Hutchison on accordion in each song made for a rich and varied musical tapestry of heartwarming vintage songs.

The North Ness boys, or rather two thirds of them in the shape of Clive and Trevor Jamieson, went down a storm with the crowd and actually drew cries of “more” as they finished. Their precise and characterised style of performance is formal but delivers a finely constructed product that appeals to a wider crowd, featuring a much-applauded Sea of Heartbreak and a gospel number among their set for the evening, described as “absolutely brilliant” by the compère.

Davy Cooper returned for another stint, now described as “the fuzzy wuzzy man from the YMCA” by the host, in reference to his policeman’s outfit from the comedy sketch and hirsute appearance, for a bit of classic Shetland story-telling.

The five-strong Scalloway players then returned for a Goon Show style round of gags and puns played directly from scripts entitled Radio Gaga, with many a jovial groan and cringe from the crowd at the barrage of jokes and quips.

Petite songstress Cheryl Goodlad made another dramatic vocal appearance on a Scalloway stage, accompanied by piano on this occasion, to sing two songs tailored to suit the evening, namely Moon River and Amazing Grace, which were both projected amply and note perfect.

Hazel Jamieson returned again with another charming dialect verse about a “visit to the shop” which once again brought a smile and a chuckle from the crowd and her rapid seamless delivery of lengthy comical verse in character and without a moment’s hesitation is a marvel to behold.

The evening rounded off with a set from old favourites Fradnr Gamla, whose three fiddles, guitar and accordion set the crowd tapping and smiling again to leave the evening on a musical high note.

A raffle was also held with an extensive list of prizes and the total raised was £635, which will go towards equipping the new museum premises, after expenses.

The SBFS museum project is now fully under way with contractors on site to convert the former knitwear factory into a suitable venue for the Scalloway Museum collection.

Mark Burgess


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