Times Past

25 Years Ago

The Firth construction camp could close next year. As work continued on demolishing a part of the oilworkers’ camp this week, BP confirmed that they were considering their use for what is left of Firth.

A BP spokesman said it would be “premature” to say that they would give up the lease on the construction village but, now that the terminal’s need for major engineering and maintenance work was decreasing, they would be looking at alternative accommodation for those workers who had to be brought in from south.

“The need for Firth may have disappeared completely by next year,” he said.

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Shetland Islands Council this week vowed to put into practice its talk about financial belt-tightening. It has declared that within four years it will no longer be spending oil money to subsidise the rates, that there will be no increase in council spending in the next financial year and that each committee should list in order of priority every aspect of its spending, with a view to seeing what could or could not be cut.

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The Underworld Cafe in the basement of Bowies Restaurant has closed down because of vandalism and the owners are now planning to open a small hotel. Mr John Bowie explained: “We want to open a small hotel with about six bedrooms which will hopefully play a bit better than the cafe. The cafe seemed like a good idea but the young people did not respect it and there was vandalism. It really needed more supervision than we expected.”

50 Years Ago

The pony sales in Baltasound and Lerwick this year showed the quality of ponies is continuing to improve mainly due to the work and foresight of the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society. Prices were generally higher than previous years, and most Shetland breeders were delighted with the results as the importing of pedigree stallions was continuing to show dividends. Over 200 ponies were on sale.

But Mrs M. Cox, a former president and moving spirit in the society’s plan to rehabilitate the Shetland pony, said she was “extremely disappointed” that some selfish breeders were selling their animals to mainland buyers before the sale at Lerwick and Baltasound.

Mrs Cox said the society took a stern view of this “sabotage” – more ponies had been shipped south this year before the sale than ever before. The breeders were simply cutting their own throats, for if this state of affairs continued the sales would have to close down.

Mr T. Myles, the society’s secretary, said both Lerwick and Baltasound sales had been the best for many years. Buyers from Denmark and Holland were in the forefront.

Mr R.H.W. Bruce of Sandlodge received the top price of the day at Lerwick – 76 guineas paid by Mr Van Den Berg for an eighteen year old black mare, Berry Flo, and her foal.

Top price of the day at Baltasound was paid to Col. Reginald Houldsworth – 49 guineas for light chestnut star filly, Gleam of Houlland. Mrs Cox paid 41 guineas for a dun filly owned by Mr J.W. Thomson of Haroldswick.

Mr Myles said the sales had proved most successful and he was sure next year would prove even better.

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Because of the present financial situation in which Shetland Tourist Association finds itself, the County Council will increase its annual donation of £12 10/- to £50 this year, and will review the amount of grant annually.

This was decided by the County Finance Committee on Tuesday, when a letter was read from the treasurer of the Association acknow­ledging receipt of the usual £12 10/- donation.

While not ungrateful for the small measure of support the Council felt able to give, the Association suggested they might wish to have another opportunity to consider their obligations with regard to the development of an industry which was expanding yearly into an asset of no inconsiderable value to Shetland.

100 Years Ago

New Coastguard Station at Bres­say – Sometime ago the Admiralty decided to erect a coastguard station on Ander Hill, Bressay. The station will in some respects resemble the present station at the Knab, but it will be much larger, and the building will be two stories in height. Watchers in the station, who will be supplied from Fort Charlotte, will be able to have a wide range of outlook north, east, and south, and will be in constant touch with Fort Charlotte by semaphore and Morse signalling. On the completion of the building, the signal station at the Knab will be vacated. Mr A.B. Douglas, contrac­tor, Lerwick, has been the successful offerer for the erection of the station, and it is expected that the work will be completed in about six months from now.

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The Diving Bike – A corres­pondent sends us the following item:- While one of our haddock skippers was getting a lesson on a bicycle last week, out on the broad station at Port Arthur, he suddenly made a rush for the jetty, losing control of the machine and plunging headlong, bike and all, into the sea. Fortunately man and bike were rescued none the worse of their bath.

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The International Language – The day of the one language man is past, but anyone learning a language like French or German would need to spend many years in careful study before satisfactory results could be obtained. Linguists have been striv­ing to form a language which could be used as a sort of go-between. The essential feature of such a language is that it should be as easy as possible for everyone trying to learn it. In a measure the desires of these linguists were realised by the production of Esperanto. “Ido” is a simplified form of Esperanto. Its promoters claim that it can be read by anyone with an average education without previous study. Here are a few sentences by way of illustration: La linguo internaciona esas tre facila.

Ne esas necesse lernar nuva literi.

La linguo esas tre hela ed esas tre completa.

Lerwick esas la chef-urbato en Shetland.

Ol esas la centro di la chef-industrio, qua esas la baring-kaptado.

Commercial Street (Komercal Strado) esas la max longa strado en Lerwick.

I hope that other readers who are interested may take the matter up.

Kaelders Head

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Sharks off Orkney – Sharks have been showing themselves in con­siderable numbers round Orkney lately. A Stromness fisherman haul­ing lobster creels in Cairston Roads was the other day followed by a large one. The shark came uncomfortably near his boat, and rowing inshore, the shark followed. The fisherman lashed his bowie knife to the sprit, and, watching his chance, plunged it into the fish.

In the struggle, the knife became unfastened and was lost, and the shark escaped. When some anglers were sea trout fishing in Mill Bay, Longhope, last week, one of them observed a commotion among the seaweed. He went to the spot and saw a shark struggling among the seaweed in shallow water. Catching the fish by the tail, he threw it ashore, and it was dispatched with a hay fork. It measured six feet long. On Saturday a Stromness fisherman caught one about four feet long. On set lines many cod and haddocks were lost by sharks snapping them off the lines.


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