Times Past

25 Years Ago

Oil companies have been asked to give an undertaking that they will deal with any major spills and pay for cleaning up operations.

The SIC ports and harbours committee voted this week to maintain the status quo on its policy on oil spills and to pass the matter on to the Sullom Voe Association Ltd. for discussion.

The committee had considered setting up a £250,000 fund for dealing with spills, either through a trust, an insurance fund or by insurance policies. The main problem would arise if there was an unidentified spill during the night.

The committee heard that an insurance policy would cost £40,000 a year for Sullom Voe and £50,000 a year for the whole of the Shetland coast.

Captain Bert Flett said: “I am completely happy about the present arrangements, although you can’t possibly eliminate the risk completely. We have been operating now since 1978 and we’ve had two unidentified spillages, both of which have been cleaned up and paid for by the oil industry.”

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Ove Joensen, probably the best known visitor from Faroe since Jakob Jakobsen, was back in Shetland this week. In the past two years he has twice tried to row single-handed from Faroe to Denmark but on both occasions his journey ended in Shetland when bad weather forced him to give up the attempts.

On this occasion he arrived in considerably greater comfort – as bosun of the smart refrigerated cargo vessel, Helena, which called at Scalloway on Tuesday to load a cargo of frozen fish for America.

Mr Joensen has no intention of giving up his ambition of being the first man to row from Torshavn to Copenhagen – the statue of the little mermaid is the finishing point, according to the contract with his sponsors, Ide Moblar, the largest furniture company in Denmark. He will soon be giving up his job on the Helena to plan for his third attempt, leaving Faroe early in June to ensure better weather for the journey. He believes that the first two attempts were made too late in the season.

50 Years Ago

Anderson Institute sixth-former Frances Robertson of Lerwick, is going to spend a most interesting Easter vacation. As a guest of British Railways he is to spend his to spend his holiday on a mechanical engineering course, based in Glasgow, during which he will visit all the main engineering workshops in the district.

The course has been arranged for him through the Scottish Youth Employment Service and it is the first time a Shetland boy has been successful. Altogether 65 senior schoolboys were recommended for the course by their headmaster and Frances is one of only fourteen who have been selected.

British Railways meet all expenses of the course, including travel. The idea behind it is to introduce potential mechanical engineers to the railways, but there are “no strings attached”. If the youths want to enter the industry and B.R. want to have them, then they are accepted for training as potential members of the senior technical staff, in many cases doing a “sandwich” course at University in the workshop.

Frances is the son of an engineer, and was science medallist at the A.E.I. last year, when he also obtained a very good pass in the higher leaving certificate examinations. He is a leading member of the local company of the Boys’ Brigade – he already holds the Queen’s Badge and Duke of Edinburgh’s silver award, and is working for his gold award.

100 Years Ago

Old Shetland Customs – Lecture in North Yell – The success attending the last lecture by “Jimmie Tammie Fraser” on “Shetland, past and Present,” was the reason of his again appearing at the North Yell Hall. M.P.s and would-be M.P.s may come to this hall, but no one could draw such a crowd as assembled on Wednesday night to hear the redoubtable Jimmie. Previous to the commencement of the lecture the audience were treated to a number of gramophone selections. The thanks of the public are due to Mr P. Sandison for organising the affair, and to his energy and enthusiasm is due the great success of the lecture.

Mr Sandison occupied the chair, and in introducing the speaker, he drew attention to the necessity of the younger generation knowing the history of the Isles, and the manners and customs of their forefathers. The lecturer introduced his subject by remarking that a few days ago he had gone to Ratters for “rivelins” and there met “Charley,” who commenced to rage and scold for the use he (the speaker) had made of his name in the last lecture. Two such bosom friends could not long continue to be at enmity and Charley softened, though “the hell of all diseases” was troubling him sorely. Whilst in this mood the speaker obtained the substance of this lecture.

In the course of his lecture Mr Fraser dealt with the manner in which the people served up their food, the way spades were made, the treatment of diseases among animals, and his own proficiency in making household articles. The customs of the people during Hallowe’en, Christmas, New Year, and Candlemas were treated in a manner which caused the audience to be in one continuous roar of laughter. He described his own experience in the custom of “chasing the craw.” On whichever house the craw alighted after being chased, therein dwelt the future wife or husband. In search of a wife he chased the “craw” and endeavoured to get it to a certain house. The “craw” refused to go where the lecturer wished, but instead alighted on Liskie’s byre. Very angry, he climbed to the roof of the byre to drive the “craw” away, and in doing so fell through the roof and landed on top of a “clocking hen.” What was his surprise to find in the byre Osla (his present wife), and her father. “So,” added the lecturer, “the craw was wiser than I was.”

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A Melbourne Sensation – Lion at Large in Street – Melbourne’s latest sensation, writes a correspondent in that town, was an escaped lion in the public streets. It appears that one of the chief turns at the Melbourne Opera House is supplied by Fasola, an illusionist, who had procured the assistance of the lion to add sensationalism to one of his feats. At the matinee the lion was in his cage in the wings waiting to “go on,” but, becoming impatient, he tapped the door several times with his paw. The door flew open, and the beast marched towards the footlights. It was an unrehearsed and unexpected performance which might have created a panic had not one of Fasola’s attendants directed the animal’s steps across the stage. One of the performers who was standing in the opposite wing mistook the lion for a dog, and patted him as he passed, but was pretty well scared when he learnt the truth afterwards. The curtain was rung down, and the stage-manager allayed the fears of the audience until the entertainment was resumed. Meanwhile the animal strolled into the street, and found his way into some offices, where he was promptly secured and caged by the attendant.


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