a drop in the ocean

Shetland Boat Show 18-5-13 When Marsali has an idea, it has to be shared, however white the elephant.

A keen member of the Shetland Sailing Centre, aventurière par excellence, with a sail when it is not with a pen, or a microphone, she bluntly announced us – Westside Writers – she was in charge of the entertainment for the 2013 Boat Show, we looked at each other and giggled at first. But then, we responded “present”. The thought of reading inside a hall full of boat gear to a mobile audience had never been achieved before, if I omit my recent experience with mobile theatre through the NTS Ignition project (!)

This time, the stage would have to turn into a minuscule island in a sea of traders, passers-by and sailors… A drop in the ocean. Interesting concept, I thought. Already  my vagabond mind was delving back into boats… Boats, boat building, kabe, humblyband, curach… Yes, I would revive my experience with Ruth’s Sunfish back in Carbeth in ’11 – the verse fitted perfectly to the theme and nature of the event – yes, it would tie perfectly with the fresh collection of verse, From Shore to Shoormal! …What else? 🙂

Some of us, somewhere in between novice & performing veterans, others, not so familiar with a stage. However on D-Day, our expectations were wind-blown.20000 leagues under the sea 

Westside writers at the boat show 18-5-13 e-

Madame Loyal, Marsali Taylor on 18-5-13 at 10 a.m.

Whether novice or proficient, we felt a brand new experience. I felt like the diver from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea!  Forget what I had experienced before…  Marsali spoke of fun – well, it would have to be fun! Cornered at the back of the Bowls’ Hall at the Clickimin Leisure Centre, next to two raging rowing machines brought for the purpose of recruiting new generations (and the not so new!) of yoal rowers, as well as the coffee – soup stand, the few round tables took my heart back to Camelot for a fraction of a second. And there was Marsali, clad in her blue sailing club  shirt, watch bell in hand, that resonated every half hour.

Haha, one by one, Marsali introduced us – one by one, we stepped onto the thin galvanised steps and mini-stage to colour a Boat Show with a hint of literary prowess. Doug opened the ball at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Baptème du feu!    A trio of Westside Writers, followed by the ShantyYellMen and Laureen Johnson, punctuated by a ball & the sound of “all is well…” Here was how our two-day marathon of entertainment began. Doug, Patty and I were very brave to grab the first oars… That square platform felt like the hatch of the Nautilus! The ShantyYellMen sang their hearts out, and Laureen read wonderful verse of her own as well as other classic local poets’.

Westside Writers' Doug Forrest

Westside Writers’ Doug Forrest

nordicblackbird in full swing

nordicblackbird in full swing

Westside Writers' Patty Wright

Westside Writers’ Patty Wright

Folk walked, looked , turned their heads, stopped to listen. Others sat down with a sandwich, a cup of tea, lemon cupcake or a hot soup… Others oblivious to the seaward metaphors.We came to share verse, short stories, a tune to celebrate the waves, kabes, sails and hulls.   We braved the waves of each moment. 

Other members of the Westside Writers – namely Claire, Debbie, Vaila, Roger, Beth and Barbara 🙂



Westside writers at boat show  19-5-13 DN




Westside writers at boat show RR






Terry Atkinson & his Monkey's Fist session on Sun 19 May.

Terry Atkinson & his Monkey’s Fist session on Sun 19 May.

However, Marsali had also concocted another string of musicians & special workshop tutor, Terry Atkinson as part of the Sunday

Brian Nicolson & Peter Woods

Brian Nicolson & Peter Woods

entertainment… And what fantastic interludes! Terry taught us how to make a Monkey’s Fist – folk gathered in a circle  and twisted ropes around hands. The atmosphere was really casual and bonne enfant. 🙂

All in all, this experience at the Shetland Boat Show was proven a fun experience, whilst the event was hailed as  a success by local media, Shetland News & Shetland Times

So, 3 cheers to the Shetland Sailing Club for orchestrating a great show and another 3 to Marsali for orchestrating two days of entertainment.


We might have felt a drop in the ocean, but, yes, it was fun!!! 🙂


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Filed under 2013, 60N, atlantic, boats, exhibition, festival, images, island, lerwick, life, poetry, poets, project, shetland, spirit

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