Saturday Saunter: Gateway books

Good Saturday to you,

I’m starting this on a glorious Friday afternoon, sunny but a wee bit cool. This being Glasgow, of course, there are a mixture of folk going about with thick winter coats or a minimum of garments on. Whatever gets them through the shift. As this is posted I might be out for a walk or alternatively catching up with telly. It’s to be colder over the weekend with snow being bandied about as a possibility. Surely not. I was in Dunbar a few years ago over the Easter weekend and it was cold and snowy so you never know.

Hedderwick, part of the John Muir Country Park - a wooden bridge with rails on either side leading onto a beach and towards trees. An estuary stretches out to the right of the picture.
Hedderwick, part of the John Muir Country Park – a wooden bridge with rails on either side leading onto a beach and towards trees. An estuary stretches out to the right of the picture.

Over the last few months it has been hard for many of us to keep a routine. For me, watching football has been particularly good to keep a sense of relative normality but also to know which day it is. My team plays on Monday this week but in recent weeks there has been a run of games on Saturday afternoons at 3, the time when football should be played, and that has been useful as something to look forward to, even when sometimes the games have been mince. I know that I have written more here about football than normal and that is why. It has been a valuable escape from the news, though of course the game has been in the news a fair bit recently too, not least for despicable racist incidents that have taken place. I wanted to mention the Finding Jack Charlton film that was on the BBC this week. That was excellent, delving into his career in management with Ireland, reaching the heights of international football, but also his difficulties with dementia in later life. Also, the SWPL resumes this weekend and to their credit BBC Scotland is showing highlights of games this Sunday.

Reading has been useful for keeping a routine too. At the moment I have two books on the go and last night I finished another that I partly listened to and finished in print, Ask An Astronaut by Tim Peake. I read quite fast so audiobooks slow things down a bit. That’s not a bad thing and I found when reading it in print that I could still hear the words being read by Robin Ince. I found that I could understand the more technical details better in audio, strangely enough. All sorts of questions were answered in the book, from basic training to whether people could eat on a spacewalk, and it was fascinating. My two books are a bit different, still non-fiction, Thin Places by Kerri ní Dochartaigh and The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane. Macfarlane is a re-read – I read it for the first time about ten years ago – while Thin Places is very new, a book about moths, nature, wildness, identity and loss. It is beautiful, intense and very timely. I remembered just now that I am also re-reading a John Grisham novel for a change of pace.

Last year we went to an event at Celtic Connections about bothy ballads and songs from the First World War. It was a cracking night. The songs had been collected by Jock Duncan, a folk singer who died recently aged 95, in a book called Jock’s Jocks. Jock Duncan’s obituary in the Press and Journal is excellent reading and not for the first time I wonder why we don’t celebrate people more when they’re alive.

In the background just now is an Authors Live talk featuring Konnie Huq. She talked about the concept of a ‘gateway book’, a book that brings people into reading. I can’t remember not reading but sometimes my reading ebbs and flows so I suppose I have had many gateway books that have brought me back into reading regularly.

This blog usually features something special for World Autism Awareness Day though this year, as every year, acceptance matters more than just being aware.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 3rd April 2021. Thanks for reading. A post will follow on Wednesday about the North Sea. Until then, for those who celebrate, a very Happy Easter. To those who don’t, happy weekend. To all, a very good morning. Peace.

4 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Gateway books

  1. It’s the same with the weird mix of winter coats and summer clothing here, though I definitely tend more towards the latter if it is actually warm! It was about 24 degrees here for a couple of days and I had already pulled out my sandals and was walking around in a summer dress to enjoy the warm while it lasted, but I spotted other people still bundled up in puffy coats. So strange, though maybe they thought I was the strange one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I dug out shorts for a couple of days too but I didn’t go as far as some guy I saw walking about sans top. It went up to 18 here which was about right. The car needed scraped this morning though!

      Liked by 1 person

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