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Fish theft and vodka

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My father used to say the EEC was nothing more than a Tory club. In 1973 I was coveting suede mini- skirts, denim Wrangler jackets and trying to work up the courage to ask him to let me go the ‘Harray’ dance. Harray is the only landlocked parish in Orkney and natives of Harray got the nickname’ Harray Crabs’ as they had no shoreline. (No I don’t know the logic behind it, I suggest you google it). The Harray dance was symbolic of everything that was terrifying to a parent emerging blinking into the 60s and then hurtled into pre-punk 70s. The iniquity of the hall’s reputation encompassed legendary copulations at the ‘back of the hall’, imbibing of vodka behind broken toilet doors with secondary spewing in the same location, and a floor running in spilt beer which was de rigeur. Unregulated, even socially condoned underage binging in the macho rural society that was Orkney then, created the perfect storm of authoritarian parenting for someone like my dad –…

mince and tatties politics and fish

It isn’t quite a year, but it’s long enough to now be able to put my head above the parapet and tentatively say, ’I think I’m starting to get my head round this.’ Last year my only true credentials for the post of Secretary to Orkney Fisheries Association were as the wife of a former fisherman. Another slight inaccuracy, Neil still fishes, but since 1995 we have been unable to rely on fishing for our total income. This is part of the story of this blog and will I hope help to map the dramatic decline in fishing in Orkney since that time.
My background was heavily reliant on family associations with the crab and lobster fishing in Stromness in particular. As kids we were brought up with the vague knowledge of all the extraneous things our father did which meant he was out most nights at meetings of one kind or another. One of the things he was involved with was the OFS or the Orkney Fisherman’s Society, a co-operative set up in Stromness in the fifties to provide the fishermen with a f…