Saturday Saunter: Magic leaves

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, this time being written on Monday night. In the background I have the launch of the Walter Scott 250 programme from Saturday, which is presented by Brian Taylor from Abbotsford. I went to Abbotsford a couple of summers ago and unsurprisingly the library is my abiding memory of the place, wood panelled yet well lit with an excellent vista over the Tweed. The launch featured a light show on Smailholm Tower, which I also visited a couple of years ago, and I have good memories of that place with a fine view over the surrounding hills and fields. I have a considerable backlog of videos and talks to catch up with and maybe I’ll manage some more of these over the weekend since Hibs aren’t in action.

Smailholm Tower: a tower house stood on a rock with a dramatic cloudy sky behind.​
Smailholm Tower: a tower house stood on a rock with a dramatic cloudy sky behind.

I’ve managed to work through a lot of my to-read list in recent weeks and finished two of the books I was working through, Hidden London and Hibs Through and Through: The Eric Stevenson Story. I have immersed myself in the various hidden places under London recently through the Hidden London Hangouts on YouTube and this book accompanies them, produced by some of the contributors from those videos who work at the London Transport Museum. It is a decent blend of photographs and historical details, delving into the growth of London and how it was ravaged by war. The most recent Hidden London Hangout, meanwhile, featured a place which I visited last year, the Mail Rail, the underground railway system which conveyed post under the streets of London. The Eric Stevenson book was very different though no less interesting in talking of the Hibs teams of the 1960s and 1970s. I have two books on the go now, plus an audiobook which I’ve been listening to as well. The audiobook is Ask An Astronaut by Tim Peake, which discusses Peake’s mission to the International Space Station as well as the behind-the-scenes bits about being an astronaut. I’m not far in and it’s seven hours long so it might be on the go for a while. I’m re-reading The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane, which I read for the first time about ten years ago. Macfarlane is one of my favourite writers and it felt like time to revisit his older works. The book I started tonight is From The Jaws Of Victory: A History of Football’s Nearly Men, edited by Adam Bushby and Rob MacDonald, an anthology of writings about football teams who nearly got there, with contributions from some of the best football writers out there, including Nicky Bandini, Giancarlo Rinaldi and Patrick Barclay. I’ve just started the first piece, about Bolton Wanderers in 1953, and it’s set to be a good one. I like to read a variety of different books – it keeps things interesting.

‘These are magic leaves we spread’. That was a phrase in the Walter Scott video of Smailholm Tower and I wholly agree with that. My love of reading is just as acute now as it was when I was a child, if not more so. Next in my to watch list on YouTube video is a short talk about relics of St. Cuthbert held at Durham Cathedral, a place Scott wrote about, randomly enough.

It has been cooler today than recent days, a colder wind blowing. The daffodils are coming out, though, and that’s a good symbol of spring, as is the reappearance of hayfever remedies in my house, unfortunately. The combination of nice weather and the potential of restrictions easing felt right.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 27th March 2021. Thanks for reading. As ever, I’m not sure what I’ll be posting on Wednesday. It might be about a waterway but I don’t know yet. Until then, cheers just now.

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