South Mainland Notebook

Future jarls elected

At South Mainland Up-Helly-A’s recent mass meeting and annual general meeting, Dale Smith from Sandwick was elected jarl for 2013 and Keith Lobban from Gulberwick for 2014.

“I’m delighted and looking forward to participating,” said Dale, who is currently the festival committee secretary. “I really hope that the whole South Mainland supports this event.”

Keith proclaimed himself to be delighted too. “I am honoured to be given the opportunity to be jarl in 2014,” he said, “and am looking forward to working with the committee, who are doing a great job to ensure the success of Up-Helly-A’ in the South Mainland.”

That great job includes at present galley building and torch making. On the agenda for the future are fund-raising and a large variety of other activities, so whatever skills people have there will be a chance for them to join in.

Excluding the Jarl’s Squad, 23 squads have been formed so far, which is an ideal number for the four halls which will be open. The squads will go clockwise to Gulberwick Hall, Sandwick Social Club, Ness Boating Club and Bigton Hall, with six starting in each. The Guizers’ Hop will take place at Cunningsburgh Hall the following night.

The committee has been looking for advertisers who would like to appear in the first ever South Mainland Up-Helly-A’ programme, 500 copies of which are going to be printed. The response has been very positive, and an appeal for donations for fireworks has met with similar enthusiasm.

If you are interested in advertising in the programme contact Dale Smith on (01950) 431419. You can also call him if you would like to volunteer, or you can get in touch with any committee member.

Sale of work and auction

Homebakes, books, CDs, DVDs and bric-a-brac will be on sale at Bigton Hall tomorrow evening.

There will also be tombola, and bairns can play games such as trying to guess the name of the doll. The sale is followed by an auction and tea and biscuits.

The event is run by the Church of Scotland at Dunrossness and St Ninian’s in Bigton in aid of church funds. It starts at 7pm and the hall will be open tomorrow afternoon from 2pm to 4pm to receive donations.

Bookstart at Bigton

The Bigton Toddler Group is playing host to a Bookstart Rhymetime session on Monday, run by librarian Marghie West.

The toddler group meeting at Bigton Hall is from 10am to 11.30am, and Marghie’s activities begin at 10.15am and last for 30 to 45 minutes. They include rhymes, singing and games. All children from birth to school age are welcome.

The cost of toddler group meetings is £1 per family, which includes tea and coffee for the grown-ups and snacks for the bairns. The group also meets on Wednesdays from 1.30pm to 3pm. Rhymetime sessions are free. For further details call Michelle Harrop on (01950) 422360.

Dog training classes

If you have a problem pooch, a pup or a dog that won’t do as it’s told, you might be interested to know that dog training classes are starting up again at Boddam Hall on Tuesday.

The five-week course takes place from 7pm to 9pm and costs £12.50. Its main aim is to teach owners how to get their dogs to respond to basic commands. For more information phone Helen Thomson on 07876 583825.

Community garden

The Quarff Community Garden Group has been out planting daffodils, crocuses and tulips as part of a project to bring the plot, situated next to the Quarff School, back to life.

The garden had been largely neglected since the school closed, but this year the Bigton Mother and Toddler Group was approached to see if they would be interested in rejuvenating it. They then put the idea to the Quarff community as a whole and the garden group was formed.

“A mix of people have shown an interest,” says group chairwoman Diane Forsyth. “We’re all novices but keen to get involved. This year we tidied away weeds, nettles and thistles, and other things that weren’t supposed to be there.”

The area has now been rotovated and grass seed planted.

“What we plan to do is wait and see what comes up next year,” says Diane. “We don’t know what’s in the ground at the moment. Once we do we can decide which plants are worth keeping, and we can put in new plants to keep the garden looking good through all the seasons. People have promised to bring cuttings from their own gardens, so we shouldn’t have to buy too much.”

Diane sees the garden as particularly appealing to young families.

“There’s a refurbished play park with swings at the back of the school,” she says, “and there’s a multi-court at the front which is a lovely big space to play in. The garden is little but it’s nice to have it there. Folk can use the picnic table, and we hope to get the bairns involved in painting plant pots.”

Grown-ups willing to wield a paintbrush will be set to work on the decking, fences and bird tables, and anyone who wants to help with the gardening will be able to do so either with the rest of the group, or if the set times don’t suit them they can be given a task to do on their own time.

“We hope that the garden will help to keep the community going as a community,” says Diane, “and that it will become a place where different people meet.”

To find out more call Diane on (01950) 477840.

Successful sale at Quarff

The organisers of the recent Christmas shopping afternoon at Quarff Hall wish to say a big thank you to everyone who braved the horrible weather to support it.

They are also grateful to the volunteers who baked and all the folk who helped out in other ways, including the businesses that participated and the stallholders who donated the raffle prizes. The event raised £400 for hall funds.

Boating club events

Why not kill two birds with one stone tomorrow night, and combine picking up a few stocking fillers with a takeaway or a supper out?

Ness Boating Club’s supper and shopping night starts at 5pm, with around 15 stalls displaying their wares. Fair Trade, the RSPB, Cancer Research UK and Save the Children will all be represented, as well as many local businesses. The goodies for sale will include homemade cards, jams and crotchet work.

Suppers will be served from 5pm to 7.30pm, and the selection of tempting dishes should ensure that there is something to please every member of the family.

Choose from a menu which features fish, king rib, nut cutlet, sausages, chicken curry and macaroni cheese. Orders can be phoned in from 3pm on (01950) 460712. Entry to the event is free if you are eating supper, otherwise it is £2. The shopping goes on until 9pm.

Also coming up at Ness Boating Club is a fishing trophy presentations and meal night, which takes place on Saturday 21st November at 7pm for 7.30pm.

The meal consists of three courses and starts with soup, followed by fish or chicken pie, with a crumble or meringue for pudding. Tickets are available by reservation only and these need to be booked by Tuesday by calling Brian Halcrow on (01950) 477260 or 07780 712386. The cost is £10 for members and £13 for guests.

Entertainment for seniors Jim Budge & Friends will be singing country music numbers, accompanied by guitar and piano, on Wednesday at Bigton Hall, and the audience can expect to be invited to join on with some of the songs.

The event is run by the South Mainland Community Association’s senior citizens group and starts at 7.30pm. All are welcome, and door-to-door transport is laid on where possible. For further details phone Ann Black on (01950) 460297.

Stunning response

Folk may remember reading in this column about the Christian charity Blythswood Care, and its Christmas appeal for shoe-boxes filled with gifts for people in the developing world.

Well, the secondary pupils of Sandwick School have certainly responded to the charity’s request for help. They organised a shoe-box collection and recently presented a Blythswood Care representative, who came to the school to do a primary assembly, with an amazing 80 boxes. Teacher Liz Adamson said she would like to thank everybody who donated.

On the same day staff and pupils wore pink and gave money to the Breast Cancer appeal, raising a grand total of £165. The South Mainland can be proud indeed of such a generous and community-minded bunch of youngsters.

Timetable consultation

With its reliable service and friendly drivers the number six bus, which runs between Lerwick and Sumburgh, is a familiar feature of South Mainland life.

Now, as a response to new flight times at the airport, certain changes to the timetable are being suggested and the public is being asked to comment on them.

In the Sumburgh to Lerwick direction it is proposed that the Monday-Saturday 10.50am service should leave instead at 11am, the Saturday 3.15pm at 3.40pm and the Sunday 10.50am at 11.35am.

In the Lerwick to Sumburgh direction, the Saturday 7.30am service would be replaced by a bus at 6am, and on Sunday the midday service would depart instead at 12.45pm, and the 3.15pm at 3pm.

Today is the deadline for making your feelings known about these proposals. Either email or phone (01595) 744886.

Bingo tomorrow

It is family prize bingo night at Cunningsburgh Hall tomorrow. Doors open at 6.30pm for eyes down at 7pm. There will also be teas, coffees, juice and biscuits, a bar and raffle, and games for the children. The proceeds go to the Cunningsburgh under-fives.

Great gift bazaar

A beautiful afternoon brought lots of families out to the gift bazaar at Cunningsburgh Hall on Sunday, where the Christmas season was clearly under way.

In front of a backdrop of flashing fairy lights, organiser and jam queen Sheila Fowlie was selling fudge, hats and cards she had painted herself, as well as pots of her own recipe preserves.

Many of these, such as rhubarb and strawberry and banana curd, were highly unusual. All, however, were equally delicious.

Folk had the opportunity to do a comparative tasting on scones and pancakes as part of the delicious teas that were being served, which also featured cakes and mince pies, and gooey concoctions involving rice crispies and chocolate.

The Red Cross were selling cards too, along with other gift items. Intricate handcrafts, such as embroidered bags and jewellery from Indonesia, Nepal, Palestine and other Third World countries, were available from Fair Trade.

This was a chance to stock up on wrapping paper and buy Christmas table decorations and ornamental candles. There were all kinds of lovely presents for wee bairns, including beautifully illustrated books and toys.

Particularly appealing were the various cuddly toy birds available from the RSPB’s stall, which gave an accurate call when you squeezed their tails. Also on offer were fascinating framed archive photographs of Shetland and elsewhere, along with clocks and watches.

Sheila, who came up with the idea for the event only six weeks ago, said she was very pleased with the £350 raised for the mental health charity Mind Your Head, and wished to thank everybody who took part.

Had it been a lot of work? “A bit,” she admitted modestly. “Still, I’ll not have to do it again till next year.”

School concert

Dunrossness School is celebrating St Andrew’s Day early this year, with a concert of songs and music with a Scottish flavour on Thursday at 2pm. All parents are invited to attend.

Cathy Feeny


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