Saturday Saunter: Books and places

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, this time being written on Thursday night with The West Wing on in the background as I start this. Unusually, I have a list of things I might want to include in this post so let’s dive right in. Last week’s post very quickly went out-of-date as I wrote about the Scottish Cup Final, of which less said the better. I found the best strategy after the Final was to avoid social media as there were a lot of inflamed passions. I know it was the same but only worse after the Europa League final this week when Marcus Rashford received abuse online after Villareal won on penalties against Manchester United. I saw a sensible Tweet from Jackson Irvine after the Final on Saturday which of course got piled on too. The off button works well. Folk should use it rather than venting. One thing that took my mind off the Final, for instance, was the Eurovision Song Contest which was brilliantly silly for the most part. I haven’t watched Eurovision in a few years and it was good, a decent antidote. A summer without football works for me, beyond a polite interest in the Euros in a few weeks.

I read a good post the other day from the excellently named Orangutan Librarian blog about the restorative power of reading. It won’t be a surprise that I agree wholeheartedly with this and it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as folk are reading something. Whether it’s a Mills and Boon or Tolstoy, a Booker Prize winner or a football magazine, whatever works. ‘Every person his or her book’ goes the second law of library science and it’s true. This week I’ve been reading about football, two issues of Nutmeg and Pat Nevin’s autobiography, which is newly out and probably one of the best football memoirs I’ve read in years. Also sitting by my bed is the Dervla Murphy book I restarted last week and I’m hoping to read it over the weekend. Reading soothes and takes us away from our sometimes frenetic lives. It gives us perspective. In these times, more than ever, we need books. We need films too, TV programmes, whatever gets us through the shift. For me it’s books.

Alexandra Park: sunshine shining through trees in an urban park.
Alexandra Park: sunshine shining through trees in an urban park.

The weather looks like it’s going to be better in the coming days. There’s been a fair bit of rain lately and there’s been a couple of days when the nicest weather has come towards the end of the day. Last weekend I was having dinner and looked out the window to see sunshine on a wet city street, always one of my favourite sights. There was a great article from The Guardian a week or so ago about unremarkable places that struck a chord with me. It included Seafield, an unsexy part of Edinburgh home to car showrooms, a sewage works, cemetery and crematorium, cat and dug home, all next to the Firth of Forth. Seafield also used to have the Eastern General Hospital, where all the best people were born. At a time when going beyond Glasgow except for permitted reasons is verboten, as has been the case for much of the last year, the less beautiful places should be treasured as much as the Pollok Parks of the world. Being able to see hills and water helps and thankfully that’s possible across the city.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 29th May 2021. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow returns on Wednesday and it’s around the corner from King Street. Until then, mar sin leibh.

4 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Books and places

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