Saturday Saunter: Books, quines and bookshops

Good Saturday,

I wasn’t going to bother with a Saunter today. I’m away later to Edinburgh then camping up north for a few days but I realised that I would miss writing this post, even if replying to comments might not happen for a few days. As I write this, it’s Monday night and Skipinnish is in my ears at the moment. I sometimes go through phases when I have to listen to songs constantly on a loop and for the last few days it’s been a live version of ‘Loch Lomond’ by Runrig from their finale concert in Stirling last year. It’s on this playlist so I’ll probably be hearing it in a few minutes.

Scots is a language all of its own. There are many variants and dialects, even in different parts of cities, let alone different parts of the country. Many words are onomatopoeic, others are just better than anything in standard English, not that there’s any such thing as standard English either. My favourite Scots word changes regularly. I’ve written here about the east coast word ‘shan’, which I used to hate and now like. (It means thoroughly unfair or rubbish, incidentally.) Yesterday I was writing a story and somehow brought in a Doric word, ‘quine’, which means girl or young woman. The male equivalent, quite seriously, is ‘loon’. Being from the south east of Scotland, a quine would be a lassie, loon a laddie. Doric, spoken in and around Aberdeen, is beautiful if sometimes incomprehensible to a southerner like me. There are a few good books which bring the Doric, including Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, set in the Mearns, The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd and a lot of Stuart MacBride’s crime novels, to name a few of my favourites.

Autumn is often a good time to catch up with good books as the nights draw in and the temperatures cool. I’ve already read my favourite book at least once this year, the aforementioned Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd, though I am overdue a re-read of A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Notes From Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin, some of my other favourites. As ever I have a considerable to-read pile, added to the other day with a couple of zines bought in Good Press Gallery, a cool independent shop off St. Andrew’s Square here in Glasgow. I think I’ll be taking Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie with me this weekend. That might be the right book to read on a West Highland night.

The other day VisitScotland were promoting Inverness’s own Leakey’s Bookshop on their social media. I was in Leakey’s in February – I wrote about it as part of the Loose Ends series, which continues a week on Wednesday incidentally – and it is a special place, powered by a warm fire and organised into something resembling, but not quite realising, order. It is in an old church, a Gaelic Church, to be precise, and I think there’s something to be said about bookshops in buildings which weren’t intended for the purpose, like Barter Books in an old train shed in Alnwick or the various rambling bookshops in old houses in Wigtown.

A quick Friday interjection. I would like to share another favourite Scots word, ‘telt’. It’s like the English word ‘told’ but more forceful. As in, Boris Johnson was telt by the Supreme Court.

Also, the blog has surpassed its numbers for 2018 already, which is nice so a big thanks to everyone for that.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 28th September 2019. October sees a change to two posts a week, Wednesday and Saturday, so I’ll be back on Wednesday with the September digest. Until then, have a very nice weekend. Peace.

5 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Books, quines and bookshops

  1. Alli Templeton

    I guess I’ll be becoming familiar with a few Scottish terms over the next year with my studies! I remember your post about Leaky’s, and it’s nice to see it here again. Any bookshop that looks like that and has a warm fire has to be a great one. I’ve always loved reading by a fire – the two seem to go hand in hand. And talking of books, I adored Hitchhiker’s Guide, and had the honour of meeting Douglas Adams once when he was doing a book signing near where I was working at the time. I took the first three books in the series I already had in and asked him to sign them for me, which he did, bless him. He was a great – and a very tall – man.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Digest: September 2019 – Walking Talking

    1. Leakey’s is a glorious place. Scots has many fine words, like all languages. There’s quite a few good words to describe the state of the world at the moment and many of its politicians, for example!

      Liked by 1 person

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