Today’s Wovember Words is “Cardings” and it comes from an oral history project with Shetland Crofters, the recording of which you can find on the the Tobar An Dualchais website by following this link. It was selected by Team Wovember Member Felicity Ford: “When I was invited to participate in Shetland Wool Week, I knew I wanted to explore Shetland in these terms, and to listen to where Shetland wool comes from in person, in order to be able to give this talk. To prepare for a research trip, I spent several months combing the amazing Tobar an Dualchais archives, to hear the voices of Shetlanders talking about Shetland, and to get ideas about what to listen for and – crucially – to find the sounds that are important for everyone who actually lives here. Here is Barbara Graham, interviewed by Alan J. Bruford:
BG: Cardings? Yes, oh yes, you get the cardings! [We] carded all night… and then the young men would come, and the cards was put by, and they was up for the dancing! Finished the night with dancing!
AJB: There’d be quite a few weddings, I suppose?
BG: Oh yes, Aye, the weddings was generally all at home… just home Weddings. A few, they went to Lerwick, but not very many.
AJB: And the dancing would be in the barn, was it?
BG: Yes. Well we just – when we had the little dances – we just had it at hame in wir own hoose. Just end of the hoose; just end of the kitchen.
AJB: You had dances in your own house?
BG: Yes, they always cam to us, they were the four girls of us you see, and so they knew they’d get somebody to dance with! But they were never just big companies that came, you know, just maybe twenty or thirty
AJB: And a fiddler?
BG: And a fiddler. My brother was a fiddler and so… they had the fiddler there already. So we would dance there.
Image: Fiddlers Bid, painting by and © Richard Paul Wemyss, photo credit: Shetland Library/Milford Georgeson. Image found on the BBC website. The painting is in the collection of the Shetland Library
With thanks to Hazel Tindall for directing WOVEMBER to John Graham’s online Shetland Dictionary and for help with some of the dialect ‘wirds.’