Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, once more being written on Friday afternoon. As I write it is sunny and warm outside once more, albeit with a cloud base higher up. It feels like it has been sunny for weeks, which of course isn’t entirely a bad thing. I hope everyone reading this is doing okay.
This week I have been rereading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time. Regular readers will know that I am a bit of a Potterhead and I maybe reread the books about once every year or once every couple of years. I decided the other day that I wanted to read something familiar and something that would actually get me reading regularly again as reading had fallen by the way side amidst everything else that’s happening. I started reading Harry Potter again on Monday or Tuesday and as I write I am in the midst of Goblet of Fire, book four. It’s the Quidditch World Cup right now. I have quite a lot of other things I could be reading so may be in the right place to read them after the Harry Potter binge is done.
Football is of course off at the moment though there is still news happening there. Hibs announced on Thursday that the 20/21 home kit will bear the legend ‘Thank You NHS’ with some of the proceeds from the shirts going to the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, which supports NHS Lothian. It’s a brilliant move and I am very proud of the club for making it happen. Key workers, in the NHS and outside, are keeping this country safe and functioning right now and they deserve our heartfelt gratitude and support in whatever way we can.
My e-mail inbox is full of potential blog post ideas and of course as the weeks go on, more ideas stack up and the number of words dries up rather rapidly. Monday is the centenary of the birth of Edwin Morgan, the first Scottish Makar. I am a Morgan fan and think regularly of his words, in George Square with the ‘Starlings of George Square’ or in other parts of the city or the world. Sometimes in the city centre I think about ‘The Second Life’, written as the city changed so radically in the 1960s, when motorways were cut through communities and tenements were replaced by high-rises. More recently I was reminded of Morgan’s versatility as I listened to Idlewild, since two Idlewild songs feature words by him and ‘In Remote Part / Scottish Fiction’ features his voice. I’m sure we have all seen many men or women on buses, in drink as the old-fashioned expression has it, trying to get down from the top deck on ‘very nearly steady legs’, as in ‘Good Friday’. Perhaps some might toast Morgan’s memory with this from ‘Canedolia’, ‘schiehallion! schiehallion! schiehallion!’
Social media undoubtedly has many bad points though in these times there are quite a few people making it easier to bear. Folk musician Duncan Chisholm plays a piece on his fiddle each and every morning, with the gorgeous backdrop of his Highland home, while Simon Prosser, the Publishing Director of Hamish Hamilton and Penguin Books, posts a David Hockney painting every day, originally of spring but more recently of Yosemite, a place I have wanted to visit for a long time owing to having grown up in Dunbar, birthplace of John Muir. David Hockney largely works now with an iPad, which some people think isn’t right but I think that art is art, however it is created. I remember a good few years ago going to York Art Gallery to see ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter’, Hockney’s work which covered an entire gallery wall with a scene looking up a country lane towards trees. It was amazing though I had to sit back to fully appreciate the thing. Duncan Chisholm’s pieces each day are brilliant, about two minutes in length and sometimes fast, sometimes slow but always to be treasured.
Tuesday past, 21st April, was the 182nd anniversary of John Muir’s birth. I came across a passage from Muir’s work which I hadn’t seen before, from Mountains of California, his 1894 book. It was about wind and I rather liked it. Having grown up by the Firth of Forth myself, I can relate. You can find it in chapter 10 of Mountains of California, near the end, available on the Sierra Club’s website, beginning ‘Winds are advertisements of all they touch’.
On Wednesday I watched a National Theatre production of Treasure Island, put on YouTube for a week. Patsy Ferran, who played Jim or Jemima Hawkins, was excellent. The National Theatre are putting a different production on every week and the current week’s show is Twelfth Night, starring Tamsin Greig, which I will watch at some point as I don’t know anything about it apart from it being by Shakespeare.
Anyway, a wee bit longer than usual but that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 25th April 2020. Thanks so much for reading. Loose Ends Redux will appear on Wednesday and it will go from Fife to Glasgow. There might be something else here too. We’ll see. Until then, stay safe. Speak soon.