I hadn’t planned to do anything for Loose Ends while in Inverness but it occurred to me while browsing in Leakey’s Bookshop that it would be just dandy to link from the potteries in Portobello, a book on Leeds pottery catching my eye. I had seen pictures of Leakey’s on Facebook, of all things, and I decided that when I was in Inverness I would pay a visit. Not that I need more books but the fact I had finished my book on the bus up confirmed this particular notion.
Leakey’s is housed in an old church, a Gaelic church, to be exact, built in 1649 and rebuilt in 1792-1793. Inside it featured a main floor with multiple mezzanine levels. I passed a fire burning and crackling away though it was cold the further I got from it. There was a sense of organised chaos with just a semblance of order, labels segregating sections. It wasn’t too cluttered. A fair few people were milling around, mostly younger folk. The Scottish, fiction, history and travel sections were biggest and I had to exercise severe self-restraint not to come out with more than I could carry. I ended up with four books – Cameroon with Egbert by Dervla Murphy, A Traveller’s Life by Eric Newby, Night Falls On Ardnamurchan by Alasdair Maclean and Seeds of Blood and Beauty: Scottish Plant Explorers by Ann Lindsay – and they came away with me back to Glasgow clad in a paper bag. It was a joyous place to while away an hour, realising not for the first time just how much I want to read and how little time I have to do it in.
To the connections and a bookshop, like a library, yields links to practically anything and everything. Some books could take me to familiar places, those in East Lothian linked with witches or just Haddington though not for any occult reasons; I just saw a book about it. One of my book choices was about Ardnamurchan on the west coast though there is absolutely nae chance that I’ll be going there, unfortunately. Dervla Murphy could lead me back to the Glasgow Women’s Library or to Maryhill, a place Anabel Marsh writes about from time to time. Anabel catalogued the GWL’s Dervla Murphy collection. The book about plant explorers could lead to the botanic gardens at Dawyck or Benmore. 1649, the year the Gaelic church opened, could lead back to Dunfermline, the birthplace of Charles I who met his end in that year. I could also go to a church which is now something else, the Mackintosh Centre in Maryhill or the Mansfield Traquair Centre over in Edinburgh. An interesting bookshop, like Category Is Books in Glasgow, might also be an option. This one was amazing and I’m glad I got to be there.
Thanks for reading. Another Loose Ends adventure follows next week.