As an ex-jarl among the many guests of Sandy Cluness at the town hall reception on the morning of Up-Helly-A’ 2012, may I say that I am disappointed and a bit ashamed that neither I nor anyone else present thought fit to mention at the time the fact that this was his last Up-Helly-A’ speech as convener of Shetland Islands Council.
As a long-term guizer he has, over the years, brought his knowledge of guizing, the squads, and the type of jokes associated with the festival into play in his speeches which have, I am sure, been greatly appreciated by certainly most of those present. (I exclude those who lack essential local know-how and/or just happen to be in Lerwick on some fortuitious pretext on the day.) His inevitable pointed remark at some individual, a historical quip regarding a squad, and the thinly-veiled barbed comments directed at higher authority have always been received with worthy applause.
I would like to say thanks to Sandy, both for the excellent hospitality always provided by the council on these occasions and for his masterly handling of the mixture of apparently knowledgeable and noisy ex-jarls on one side and somewhat baffled and bemused visitors on the other!
I trust that his retiral will free him for many more years of guizing without having to contemplate either the contents of either the Bill or yet another speech. Well done that man!
Douglas C Smith
(ex-jarl Erling Skakki, 1967)