It’s a privilege to be guest editor for this edition of Shetland Life.
I’ve written a lot of stuff for Shetland Life over the last couple of years, but not til right now did I fully appreciate how big a job it is to put it all together. I am genuinely in awe of our regular editor, Genevieve, and how she does this every month without breaking a sweat.
And this is the issue she left me with: Love and Relationships. Which is fairly apt, since ‘love and relationships’ is the only reason I’m in Shetland in the first place. If I hadn’t met a certain, beautiful Shetlander in a bar in Glasgow, and followed through on a promise to come and visit her for Hogmanay, I wouldn’t be writing this now. I’d probably not have set foot on Shetland at all, come to think of it.
I remember a close (Shetland) friend once asking me if people “really go on dates” down south. They explained that they had never been on a formal get-to-know-each-other date, as their relationships had been with people that they had already known on some level beforehand. In a place where you are quite probably familiar with 80 per cent of the people in your age group, that seems entirely possible.
I was told that often the way of winding up in a relationship was to ‘bag aff’ with someone, and once you had ‘bagged aff’ with that someone a number of times you would have seamlessly transitioned to being in a relationship. It was a slightly mind boggling concept for me, like being told that all romantic matches are determined by the casting of sheep-bones under a waxing moon. To a Glaswegian such as myself, Shetland courtship seemed a strange and exotic thing.
This month, the Shetland Life writers have done a terrific job (as usual) of looking at love in the isles. Getting to grips with Shetland romance has been an absolutely fascinating experience; I hope it is as enjoyable to read as it has been to put together.