Happy Saturday! As this is posted I will hopefully still be in bed. The Hibs are playing today but in Paisley, a mere 15 minutes door-to-door from my home to the Simple Digital Arena, home to St. Mirren FC. That means there won’t be a travelling book today since surely to goodness I can just scroll on my phone for the 11 minutes the train journey will take. Most of my books are in boxes after a house move but I can talk about what I read last weekend. On the way to and from Dundee, I read The Life and Death of St. Kilda by Tom Steel, a refreshing and unsentimental insight into the life of the people of St. Kilda before and after their evacuation in 1930. It was a sober and serious book but eminently readable, not flinching from discussing the difficulties of life 100 miles out into the Atlantic for the islanders, missionaries, nurses and people who sought to supply or govern them, with an interesting aside about the role of the archipelago as a missile testing range.
Last Friday I went to Tantallon Castle near North Berwick. On the way I managed to finish two books that were sitting in my bag waiting to be finished, The Hidden Ways by Alistair Moffat and Call Them By Their True Names, a book of essays by Rebecca Solnit about Trump, America and the relationship between truth and authority. Alistair Moffat’s book was good too, a selection of walking routes across Scotland, including the Herring Road between Dunbar and Lauder. It was an interesting contrast between those two, one more serious than the other while both are relevant to these times. We need to know about our past but also to walk and be in the landscape from time to time lest we get too far up our backsides. In a brief sojourn in Edinburgh, I ended up with a football magazine called Glory which had a special about Irish football. It is more of a coffee table thing but I look forward to reading it eventually. Also coming home with me was We Only Want The Earth by Sandy Macnair, a telling of the first season with Hibs back in the Premiership. A lot of it is very recent in my brain but reading about it is no great hardship, especially since I haven’t yet reached the gubbing by Aberdeen just before Christmas.
I am writing this a bit ahead of time so I will also say that as part of the house move, I came across a few books I bought ages ago but haven’t yet read. That’s why my travelling book for the football on Tuesday was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It seems a seminal book in the canon but I haven’t read it so it came with me to Easter Road on Tuesday. Some time soon I will let you all know what I thought of it.
Tantallon Castle was great, one of my favourite places anyway. I had left Glasgow late so my time there was curtailed a bit. Plus I walked the three miles to and from North Berwick, the return leg at full speed to catch the train back to Edinburgh. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and the East Lothian countryside was looking braw. I spent most of my time just gawping at the Bass Rock and down to the Lammermuirs, Doon Hill and St. Abbs Head, a pleasure to be in a dear, familiar place, however briefly. Randomly the HS steward was someone I used to work with in Dunbar years ago, which was a nice surprise.
Anyway, that’s the Saturday morning post. Tomorrow is Loose Ends and it will be in Edinburgh again. Have a nice Saturday. Cheers.