Saturday Saunter: Cemeteries, books and history

Good Saturday to you all,

Welcome back to another Saturday Saunter, this time being written not too long in advance on Tuesday. As I start this, I only have a vague inkling of what to write beyond the first paragraph so this could be interesting!

I’ve written here before about the journalist Peter Ross who chronicles the lives of interesting people across Scotland. He’s brought out a new book, A Tomb With A View, which is about cemeteries. It features a few familiar graveyards, including the Necropolis in Glasgow and Warriston and Greyfriars in Edinburgh, as well as others further afield in London, Dublin and Belfast, delving with sensitivity into their stories and the lives of their denizens both living and dead. The bit about ossuaries I would rather have missed, frankly, but that’s because I don’t particularly like skulls. The preface about walking in cemeteries during the early days of the pandemic particularly resonated as I sometimes did the same thing. The Easter Rising keyrings and the Eamon de Valera mugs on sale at Glasnevin in Dublin sound spectacularly tacky.

Over the weekend I was away so didn’t read that much. What I did read were the September entries from Notes From Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin. I haven’t delved into that particular favourite for a while and Roger’s jottings were particularly soothing, about fields, trees and much else besides. I did buy books over the weekend, though – Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty, and the Grampian Quartet by Nan Shepherd, the latter bought in a second hand bookshop in St. Andrews. Dara McAnulty is a young autistic man from the north of Ireland who writes compellingly about his local area and conservation more widely. I hope to read his book more properly soon.

A white wall featuring illustrations of various people wearing face masks hugging each other.
A white wall featuring illustrations of various people wearing face masks hugging each other.

The Dundee V and A is a very fine museum and I had the pleasure to be there this past weekend. The Mary Quant exhibition was on and that was fine, featuring many dresses and the stories of those who wore them. One thing that caught my attention elsewhere was on a corridor wall, drawings by Eleni Kalorkuti called ‘Reimagining the hug’, featuring face mask-wearing people hugging; the illustrations sought to ‘adjust behaviour to connect safely’. A hug from a special someone can’t be beat, it really can’t, but in these socially-distanced times, we are continuing to find new ways to connect with our loved ones.

Historic Environment Scotland are running a new campaign to get Scots talking about heritage, asking about childhood favourite stories and places. The picture which accompanies the HES Facebook post is of Hailes Castle not far from where I grew up in East Lothian and a place I went to as a kid. A place I went to as a kid, and hope to see again soon, is Linlithgow Palace, which is just a great place to roam, complete enough but still ruined with fine views over hills, the Peel and the loch.

Our interesting perspective is about a movement in the Shawlands and Battlefield areas of Glasgow to put up murals in support of Black Lives Matter. One, by a cafe called Jodandy’s in Pollokshaws Road, depicts Andrew Wilson, the first black international footballer. I’m going to have to see it soon.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 3rd October 2020. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow will be here on Wednesday. After that the blog will be on hiatus until Wednesday 21st October. There might be a book recommendation or two on the blog Twitter feed too. Until then, have a nice weekend. Keep well, keep safe. Bye for now.

11 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Cemeteries, books and history

    1. I had noticed, yes. You would definitely enjoy the Peter Ross book.

      One thing I did notice about the Mary Quant exhibition was that some of the styles would be current now. It is on until January 17th next year.


  1. Alli Templeton

    That’s a great idea to get people talking about heritage, Kev, and I love the look of Hailes Castle. I’d love to go to Linlithgow as well, having seen a fair bit about it in my studies last year. Talking of studies, are you OU-ing this year?
    I love the title of the book on cemeteries, ‘A Tomb With A View’. Priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Alli Templeton

        I can understand that completely. I’m beginning to wish I was on a hiatus too, but at least I have the option to defer owing also to life. I’ll just have to see how it goes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read A Tomb with a View last week, which I got based on your recommendation a while back. I loved it, especially the ossuary bits, actually, since I very much do like skulls. Do you remember the part where he visits the ossuary in Hythe and the volunteers say they keep a panic button in case any goths turn up? I tried to visit that church a few years back, and got told by the volunteer that I couldn’t visit the ossuary because it was closed for repairs. After reading that, I have to wonder if it was really closed, or if I just looked too “goth” for their taste, even though I’m not really a full-on goth at all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny! Hopefully they didn’t have to activate the goth alarm that day. I found that bit interesting but skipped the pictures. Glad you liked the book. Peter Ross is excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Streets of Glasgow: Candleriggs – Walking Talking

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