Document 326

Article for the Shetland Times- An apology to Shetland knitters

Author(s): Christine De Luca

Copyright holder(s): Christine De Luca


Mi haert sank tae mi böts da idder day whin I read dat da exhibition Wish I Was Here is ta come, amongst idder places, tae Shetland, as part o a Travelling Gallery Tour.

Wish I Was Here is an interestin project dat's browt tagidder poetry fae da various straands o Scottish culture, an trowe poetry an art, explored whit hit's lik ta hae a 'fit in baith camps': tae be Asian an Scottish, African an Scottish, Welsh or English an Scottish, a Gael an Scottish. Or a Shetlander an Scottish. Hit's aboot identity, multi-culturalism an whit shapes wis. Robert Alan Jamieson is included an sae am I. Each poet wis assigned a photographer, so da book o poems is only wan product o da project. Der's an exhibition o da photographers' art ta geng wi hit. I wirkit wi da photographer Catriona Grant an truly shö wis an expert, an patient an göd fun as weel. Sae far sae göd.

Noo normally a boady wid be blyde ta be da subject o an exhibit i da National Portrait Gallery. But whin I heard hit wid be gyaain tae Shetland I felt an uncontrollable trimmel comin inta mi richt haand: da een I write wi; da een at used ta coordinate wi mi left haand owre a set a wires an some wirsit. I even hae an openwark hap ta prove hit.

So why sae coy? Weel, lat me jöst tell you whit happened. Catriona took photos o me i wir back gairden fur da book, an dat gud fine. Hoosomivver, radder is exhibit da photo, shö wanted ta mak a video. Shö seemed ta'en wi ee poem o mine, Da Cockle Shall. Hit's a praise poem aboot Shetland knitters, set i da lovely Busta area o Sannis. Shö wanted ta create a dis-located image o me, a kinda wistful Shetlander on video, a kinda tinkin lang sowl........makkin of da shörmal..........

So dere I wis, ee fine simmer Saturday moarnin, makkin fur da beach wi Catriona, complete wi her camera gear an mi doubts stowed awa. A deck chair an a picnic basket wid a bön mi preferred tackle, but no, shö wanted me ta be sittin on a dinin room shair. I hed ta luik oot o place, disjointed. So here's me, kerryin a heavy dinin room shair apö mi back, mi makkin under mi oxter....headin fur da beach. Being passed bi families wi dugs an bairns an fitbaas, pails an spades.

Ta add insult tae injury I hed ta admit ta being a coarn roosty wi da wires. I couldna even mind da pattern fur da cockle shall (except da purl 13 dagidder). I hed hed ta akse mi step-midder, Minnie Pearson, ta come tae mi rescue an shö hed kindly sent me no jöst da pattern but twartree gengs as weel. Bliss her.

So dere I wis, plankit bi da watter's aedge at Tynninghame, Aest Lothian, sittin apö mi shair, tryin ta mind foo da pattern gud. Tryin fur da life o me ta luik authentic. An mi shair sinkin inta da weet saand. Ivery noo an again mi cloo wid faa i da watter. Da wirsit, an mi fingers, got stickier an stickier wi da saat. Da tide wid come in an ....whoosh.....I wid hae ta lift up mi legs, no faa aff o da shair, no loss mi cloo an keep on knittin fur Shetland. Dugs an bairns wid come up ta hae a luik, decide we were mad an head aff eftir a frisbee or a baa. Meanwhile I hed ta luik serene an dis-located, multi-cultural an skilled, as if I could makk da cockle shall ithoot tinkin whit da neist loop wis ta be. Meanwhile Catriona, wi her elegance an skill, is lötin da film roll, luikin relaxed an plaesed hit's aa gyaan sae weel.

Noo dat wid a bön enoch ta makk me prefer dat dis exhibition gud nae farder nort is Perth. But ta add tae mi undoing, Catriona decided - an artistic decision which I have ta support - dat whit shö needed noo wis some Shetland wirds tae accompany da video, ta bring hit tae life. Being naïve in matters o art I tocht maybe I could jöst recite da poem, or maybe hae a converstion aboot dual nationality or why I cam ta write da poem.....somethin related tae da pictirs. But you guessed hit, dis is aa aboot dis-location, so dat widna dö ava. Hit hed ta be jöst wirds, maybe aboot da sea. So dere I am, makkin fur dear life, hoopin da number o loops bides da sam, an sayin wirds. A knitter wid see dat I wis makkin a lok o dirt; onybody could see I wis rödin. Hoosomivver, Catriona wis weel plaesed wi da result, an took grit pains ta get hit aa technically richt. An, in ony idder part o da UK, I tink fock micht weel fin some interest in hit.

Aa I can say is I did hit fur Shetland! An if you geng tae da exhibition dunna gaff. Weel no owre muckle. Jöst be tankful hit's nedder a pile o bricks nor half a coo in fomaldahyde.

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Article for the Shetland Times- An apology to Shetland knitters. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 28 May 2024, from

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Information about Document 326

Article for the Shetland Times- An apology to Shetland knitters


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2000
Word count 901

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Shetland Times
Publication year 2000
Place of publication Lerwick

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 120
Forenames Christine
Surname De Luca
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Head of Assessment, Research and Development
Place of birth Bressay
Region of birth Shetland
Birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Headmaster
Father's place of birth Vidlin
Father's region of birth Shetland
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth Cunningsburgh
Mother's region of birth Shetland
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work, read Scots literature