Tuesday, 15 August 2017


A new book is due out this week:

MacCloud Falls by Alan Jamieson*

The following article by Harry McGrath is in this week's Scottish Review of Books.

The novel is set "in British Columbia [where] he focusses** on the province’s Scottish connections, First Nations’ land rights, illness and Burns." 

The main character is "an antiquarian bookseller from Edinburgh who has taken a Greyhound bus to a small town in interior British Columbia ...." He meets a girl when his flight from Scotland stops over in Calgary.  The above full length article traces how he uses historical people and places to create his narrative.  

Fascinating!  I recognized so much of it! 

The Edinburgh Book Festival is on all month so no doubt the 'Bookshop' tent will have a copy. It's a good job I did not articulate my complaint of that Book Festival!... namely that it is a huge marketing exercise where one can never get a ticket to hear a speaker/meet a writer in the small-audience tents.   Now here I am wanting to get the (very convenient Milngavie to Edinburgh) train simply to make a purchase in their huge-bookstore tent!

It reminds me of Banksy's 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' (which relates to art galleries).  How about 'Enter Through the Book Shop'? Yes, as I recall, it is, indeed, located at the one-entry-point-only entrance of Charlotte Square where the Book Festival is annually held.


*Publisher: Luath Press Ltd   ISBN: 9781912147076  320 pages.

** I would use 'focuses' but never mind!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017


Over the years I have observed creeping Americanization in its many forms, e.g. clothing (baseball caps, T shirts) but language is the one that intrigues me the most.  To be fair I have been using American, i.e. North American, turns of phrase for all of my 50 years living in the UK. I use them without thinking. Indeed, nowadays so many of these phrases are global. 

One particular phrase that has become common now is the greeting "Hiya".  It used to be more used by children and is a good example of this cultural change.

However the other day I confess that I was quite taken aback with a brief encounter locally! I had parked my car in a British Rail car park and had gone into the station to hand in some brochures and was returning to my car.  Next to my parked car was a family getting out of their car preparing to head to the train.  As I approached my car the father and his 2 little boys passed by me.  Then behind them came mother. The wee boys were skipping about and my attention was vaguely on them, I suppose.  I was aware of the mother coming towards me but was not looking very high off the ground. When she was shoulder to shoulder with me I heard this cheery greeting .... "Hiya!"  I looked up to respond and only then noticed that she was veiled, wearing what I see is called a 'niqab'.   I found the whole encounter curiously odd, i.e. the juxtaposition of a throwaway familiar greeting from a person who was totally  'unfamiliar'.


It's been wet for the most part this summer.  For sailors that is not a problem; all they want is a fair wind.  To that end Iain has been away with friends for one week sailing.  

Here they are on their return Saturday when I drove to Kip Marina to collect them using Iain’s big ‘sports car’ *.     The couple are Peter and Dilys Macdoanld who live in Gairloch.

The Good News:   they had reasonable weather and fair winds and visited many remote anchorages full of wildlife, feather, fur and fin.

The Bad News: Nearing the end of their week’s holiday Iain fell in the cabin in rough seas and cracked a rib in his back, right side.  It is similar to incidents before…  oh dear!  :-( 

He is fine, except that he is now grounded in base-camp again and forced to take life very gently.  Fortunately, life is quiet at the moment (except for yet another funeral!) so we are at home and sit in the garden when the sun shines.

 Lovely weather for ducks   Photo by Jan Piecha, Flickr

Two weeks ago I headed to Giffnock to visit some friends. It had been raining with sudden heavy showers.  At a point in the road en route to their house, the road dips and rises again.  I came upon a ‘lake’ where the water had collected in the dip in the road.  Cars coming toward me had stopped to consider this flood; it looked like the water level could be up to the underside of one’s car.  With a line of cars behind me and also beside me, all stopped, thinking “Oh hell!  What is to be done here?!”  I took a decision as if I was in deep, or at least, deepening, snow. I put the car into 1st gear, stepped on the accelerator and headed steadily into the water…. a slight pause midway …. kept my nerve and up … up … up and out the other side.   Phew!   I certainly am my father’s daughter when it comes to handling cars!   When I got home I said to Iain that I was very impressed with that VW Golf!  I checked the brakes afterwards… OK.  A very good little car!