18th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Tochts fae Tushie Truncherfaece

Meenie’s Viking spoon

Whit do you mak o beards? Dey ir aawye eenoo in aa shapes an sizes. Some hae joost a peerie sproot fae dir chin. Idders hae a straggly effort you want tae tak da sheers tae. Da bearded champions hae a tick bush dey peek oot fae ahint. An hit is usually fluffy an waftin o shampoo. Is dat really laek a Viking?

A’m braaly prood o my beard. Should a richt Viking no hae a beard laek mine? Coorse an weel lived in. My beard can tell you whit A’m eaten for da last twartree days an offers a variety o flavours tae sook. Feth, you might even fin a peerie flech at hame dere.

“Whit does do mak o my beard, Meenie?” I axed her runnin my claas trowe my glory.

“Du’d be better aff athoot him,” she said, coontin da loops on her knittin wire. “Du’d aesy look a hunder year younger!”

“Do I no hae whiskers ony Viking wid envy?”

“Tushie,” she gaffed. “Dy beard is a trusset trowie beard, foo o dastreen’s supper an flechs. Dat is naethin laek a Viking beard.”

“Nonsense,” I telt her. “Whit does du ken aboot Vikings?”

“Mair as du wid iver lippen,” she telt me, layin doon her maakin. “Does du ken whaar dis cam fae?” she axed, haadin up wir soup spoon. “Hit’s no joost ony ladel, dere’s a story ahint dis spoon,” she said.

Da bairns gaddered aroond Meenie aside da fire. She telt wis aa aboot her grandmidder’s grandfaider wha wis a young trow when da Vikings cam tae Shetland in da eight or ninth century.

Meenie’s great-great grandfaider wis taen aback by da cleanliness o da Vikings. Dey washed dir hands an faece ivery day an bathed ivery week. Dey even changed dir claes regularly. Dis wis unheard o by humans an trows in Shetland at da time.

Da Vikings med a point o bein weel groomed. Dey combed dir hair an beards so nae flech or leftower maet stood a chance. Dey even worked wi razors an tweezers tae achieve da perfect Viking look.

Dey sported a variety o hairstyles an beards. Some o dem even bleached dir hair wi a kind o soap dey med. Da men aften hed mair varied hairstyles as dir weemin. Some even plaited dir beards. Meenie hed da sense no tae suggest I try dat wan!

Snurtysleeves wis gittin agitated listenin tae aa dis. “Whit does dis prinkin an preenin hae tae dae wi wir soup ladel, Mam?” he axed.

“A’m comin tae dat, hadd dy wheest!” Meenie telt him.

She gied on tae tell wis aboot hoo some Vikings wid keep dir hair reasonably short for practical reasons. Dey wid niver hae hit ower clippit as dat wis hoo slaves kept dir hair.

Snurtysleeves gied a gant an purled wi a piece o yarn hingin fae his sleeve.

“A’m gittin dere!” said Meenie.

“Ee thing dey wir very pernickety aboot wis keeping dir lugs clean. Dey even hed a special tool for da job,” she said reckin for da silver soup spoon.

“Gadge!” roared Snurtysleeves. “Dunna tell me a Viking hockit in his lugs wi wir soup spoon?”

“Dat’s richt,” said Meenie. “An we ir privileged. No aabody has a genuine Viking earspoon dat dey use ivery day.”

“Weel, I’ll niver preeve soup fae yon spoon agaen,” announced Snurtysleeves.

Meenie ignored him an gied on tae tell wis hoo Viking earspoons wir med oot o bane, ivory , metal or silver, laek wir een. Dey wir treasured possessions an aften wir ornamental. Richt enoch, wir ladel hed a design on da handle. Sometimes Viking weemin even wore dem hingin fae a brooch wi idder peerie tools.

So dat wis me pitten in my place aboot my trusset beard an Snurtysleeves pitten aff soup for life. Aa in wan fell swoop. So noo you ken hoo tae spot a real Viking. If you come across ony, check dir beard is weel combed an hae a look in dir lugs. A’ll laeve you tae judge for yoursels.

Three cheers for Up Helly A’!

Tushie Truncherfaece x