Yesterday I spent an hour in my favourite art gallery, Kirkcaldy. It was a good chance to see the very fine Edinburgh School exhibition again before it shuts tomorrow. That exhibition featured works by – amongst others – Anne Redpath, John Houston, William Gillies and Elizabeth Blackadder, with a mixture of still lifes, landscapes and portraits including by a few by Gillies and Houston of the landscapes of the Lothians and Fife. My favourite of those was the dell in Temple, where Gillies lived in Midlothian, though overall I liked the Anne Redpath of a French town in the murky yet strangely ethereal twilight.
Beyond that I had my usual wander around the permanent collections, spending the most time in the room at the far end amidst the works of William McTaggart, a blend of scenes of children playing, landscapes and seascapes, including watching an emigrant ship leave forever as it turned past the Mull of Kintyre. There was a newly acquired painting with two children playing on the beach at Carnoustie, the sky suitably atmospheric, possibly wintry.
In what probably won’t be a huge surprise to regular readers, a lot of my thoughts this week have been about the Edinburgh derby on Wednesday. My team has been in the news due to the scenes at Tynecastle the other night. I was at the game but my thoughts are too jumbled to make much sense of at this stage.
On a brighter note, I have managed a bit of reading this week. I’m still working my way through the new Nan Shepherd collection, Wild Geese, and I’ve finished my Harry Potter re-read, finishing with the play script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the way to Kirkcaldy yesterday. What I have as my travelling book for today is Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey by Madeleine Bunting, a journalist I liked when I used to read The Guardian. It was a library choice, chosen solely because the title appealed. I’ll let you know what I think of it.
On my pile to re-read is Findings by Kathleen Jamie, a splendid book of essays that I have read many times. Kathleen Jamie has an excellent appreciation of the world, keen but inquisitive, and a new book – like those of Robert Macfarlane – is a moment to cherish. Her last volume of essays, Sightlines, was spotted in the now defunct Waterstone’s in George Street in Edinburgh and I was incredibly close to cheering as I scooped up my copy.
Monday is of course Bonfire Night, the end of the festival of shite around this time of year encompassing the clocks going back, Halloween and of course fireworks. The fireworks I can mostly avoid and there seems to have been a lot less let off around my way in the lead-up this year, which has been appreciated. They put me on-edge, the combination of whizzes and bangs really freaking me out. The best fireworks are seen, not heard, preferably on a telly showing a far distant display. Like Halloween the reasons why the whole thing happens have been lost in the wider onslaught of consumerism; like Halloween and the dreaded C-word, however, it is one massive sensory overload and to be tholed until it’s all over.
Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for this week. Tomorrow’s post here will be the October digest. On Wednesday Streets of Glasgow will return with another street in the Merchant City. Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers. Have a very nice weekend.