June’s Life: from faith to whaling

This month’s edition of Shetland Life is a stimulating read. Editor Malachy Tallack writes about the price of fuel, probably the biggest issue facing Shetland residents, and speaks for many when he says: “filling up the car is a traumatic experience”. The rise in fuel prices is a serious as climate change, he says, but there does not seem to be a solution.

Fair Isle correspondent Jimmy Stout muses on the present unseasonable weather, a wash-out even for birds, and about the recent election. “Shetland voted as I would have predicted, proving little and giving little for any candidate to enthuse about.”

Columnist Vaila Wishart puts it more bluntly (“Tavish had his cage rattled”) and goes on to wonder why the council seems so keen to do business with the Faroese. She also ponders council re-organisation – losing 15 out of 72 managers without services being affected “speaks for itself”.

From Tasmania, Louise Brewer wonders why the pom-bashing Aussies were so enthusiastic about the Royal Wedding.

School librarian Kat Brack is the subject of 21 Questions, always a revealing article, and regular contributor Bryan Peterson writes about sectarianism, also hugely revealing. It was a “genuine shock”, when living in Glasgow, he says, to experience the levels of hatred between Catholic and Protestant communities, so bad that in certain workplaces the different faiths had to have different lunch breaks.

Another fascinating article, this time about Arctic whaling, comes from Marsali Taylor and will be concluded next month.

The regular Past in Pictures slot this month features Lerwick’s gas works, which used to stand on the site of Charlotte House – amazingly the site was only cleared in 1977.

The magazine celebrates creat­ivity too, with a set of photos showing the work of potter John Jacobs, based in Vidlin. Then there is literary culture in the form of a translation into Shetland dialect of a Chekhov short story The Lady with the Little Dog, with rec­ognisably local names and places being used instead of the originals. A great way to read a classic.

Shetland Life also features photography and the usual favourites of sudoku, crosswords, cartoons and children’s items. The magazine has something for all ages and is on sale now.

Rosalind Griffiths


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