At Shetland Wool Week 2014 Shetland ForWirds put on a wonderful evening of songs and readings in Shetland dialect, designed to introduce and celebrate the richness of the Shetland dialect and to share some of the beautiful terms for WOOL and WOOLWORK used in the past and today in Shetland. Laureen Johnson has very kindly granted me permission to share a couple of verses from her fantastic 1980s song, “Leg-waarmers” which is both a brilliant celebration of WOOL’s abilities to protect one’s köts (ankles) from the bitter elements, and a wondrous eulogy to that fabulous must-have accessory: the legwarmer. The meanings of some specific dialect words are put in brackets after those words.
Sung to the tune of “Roamin in the Gloamin”
Hit’s no aften A’m in fashion, an dat is plain ta see.
Short skirts an naked shooders – is no for folk laek me!
But dis year A’m no blate (shy)
an A’m fairly up ta date
Steppin oot in style wi my leg-waarmers.
I wear dem wi me shoes on, I wear dem wi me buits
Dey fairly stop da icy draughts aroond aboot your köts (ankles)
Hit can rain or hail or snow
I’ve da warmest legs in Voe
When A’m kitted oot wi my leg-waarmers.
Der lovely lightsome colours ta brighten up da scene –
I hae red eens, I hae blue eens, I hae forty shades o green.
I hae eens wi stripes an spots
herring-bonns and polka dots.
I fairly catch da eye wi my leg-waarmers.
– Laureen Johnson, Leg-waarmers song (1983), performed at Shetland Wool Week 2014 and reproduced here with kind permission.