It may only be the beginning of September but thoughts are already turning to January’s Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ celebrations.
Next year the festival occurs not only on the last Tuesday in January but the last day of the month, the 31st, giving more time for preparation.
However, this is not an issue with jarl-elect Lyall Gair who spoke last night in the galley shed at St Sunniva Street.
“Come du in,” were his first words. “Hit’s goin’ good, dir aa graftin.”
The jarl was looking rather un-jarlish in high viz shorts; he had just completed a 9km run. After going away to change into a Scottish football top, jeans and trademark bandana – he’s already displaying a good deal of hairiness – he told me that it had been a pretty healthy stretch in “da bunker” so far this year.
They had discovered non-alcholic beer, he said. With only 13 of the squad out of 57 with a Lerwick postcode it means a lot of driving for some members. The jarl himself resides in Quarff. Compared with recent jarls he is comparatively young at 37, being elected in October 2003.
The Thursday night meeting had been arranged for the senior jarl to meet the junior jarl who was elected by a vote last Friday at the Anderson High School.
The winner was 13-year-old Brandon Talukder, who said he was “proud” to be elected and would “probably” be growing his hair. His grandfather was a Norwegian.
Football emerged as a common interest, the senior jarl supporting Aberdeen, Manchester United and Scotland and the junior jarl going with Liverpool and Celtic.
Also present were Brandon’s stepfather Peter Mckay, who will be doing a lot of work for the Junior Jarl Squad suits, and his mother Ann-Katrine.
They were a little daunted with the time factor, having to get ready for January, but hoped to have it all done by Christmas.