Thursday, 31 March 2011
The Recreation Room, which would make a splendid ball-room, has a piano that once was grand, and upon its willing notes a lady 'of uncertain age' is performing 'The Irresistible Quadrilles' which begin with 'A frog he would a wooing go', while no fewer than eight persons, none older than 40, are gliding through 'figure 4'.
This quadrille business, as many excellent Hydropathists will tell you, is just the thin end of the wedge. In 10 years, it will be the polka, and after that the wicked waltz. What are the Hydropathics coming to?
J J Bell on a Scottish hydropathic holiday, 1880s
The meals were served at long tables; one had to mix with one's fellows and make the necessary genteel conversation. There was a fine, full breakfast followed by a fine, full mid-day dinner. There was a good plain tea at half-past five, with scones and cookies and 'fancy bread' abounding. Those who had just arrived, and had missed their dinner, had to be given value for money and so got eggs to their tea or cold meat. At half-past nine a service of milk, bread, butter, and cheese was laid on in the dining-room.
Those late for meals were confronted by a money-box into which, for charity's benefit, they paid one penny per (unpunctual) person, thus atoning for sin. There was always grace before meat and at 9.45 prayers in the drawing-room. At 10 o'clock or so one withdrew, possibly hoping for a nice read in bed. Vain expectation unless you had brought your own candles! The lights were officially turned off at 10.30.
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
One chapter into The Rational Optimist and the case for international trade and the fruits of specialisation - in other words, the opposite of 'living local' and minimising carbon miles - becomes clear. Oh dear. Here is a beautiful picture Documenting Change at Crookedstane Rig last Oct 2010 by Lizzie Rose to cheer up this wet day (but we and the trees needed the rain).....
Sunday, 27 March 2011
Friday, 25 March 2011
Monday, 21 March 2011
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Thursday, 17 March 2011
We have a Japanese friend, Kyoko who used to teach Abi & Elly piano, and once gave a piano recital at my mother's house in Kent. She gave up her concert career when she married, then got divorced and went to work for the head of the Japanese state steel corporation as his personal interpreter. She and her parents came to visit us at Crookedstane in the mid 1990's. She lives just south of Tokyo. I sent her a card of sympathy after the earthquake and suggested she came to stay for a while. Maybe now she will.The illustration (left)is a Moffat artist's impression of a nuclear reactor by Harry Hurren, aged 5.
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Dumbarton is the ancient capital of Alcluid and King Coroticus lived at Dumbarton Rock about a mile from which, at Dunglass by Bowling in Old Kilpatrick, Patrick is said to have been kidnapped while fishing from rocks with a friend and sold into slavery in Ireland at Slemish mountain in Armagh.
It is not difficult to understand why Patrick is generally claimed to have been born in Wales. Apart from the phonetic similarity between Clwyd in Wales and Al Cluid in Scotland, which would have caused confusion, there is the fact that Scots in Strathclyde at that time spoke what is now known by historians as 'Old Welsh', which became the Welsh language of today. Additionally, a River Clwyd – again similar to River Cluid or Clyde - runs through the county.
It goes without saying, then, that any place with such strong historical links to one of the world’s best known saints – Patrick is up there with Valentine and Nicholas – would want to take some commercial advantage of this. But there is not even talk of a visitor centre in West Dunbartonshire, an area which is low on job opportunities and high in deprivation. Perhaps the time has come for this to change?
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Monday, 7 March 2011
Sunday, 6 March 2011
I am very happy to be associated with the literary festival in Moffat and wish it the best of luck.
How brilliant!! Well done Marilyn and thankyou Melvyn.
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Friday, 4 March 2011
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
The beautiful shiny green bookmarks have arrived ready for our Moffat Book Event on Sat April 16 - see? Sad news today, that Jane Russell has died aged 94 at her home in California. What is the connection between a book event and Jane Russell, you may ask. Well, the answer is that Jane's boyfriend Howard Hughes not only invented the uplift, cantilevered, underwired - ie engineered - bra. giving her that memorable cleavage, but he also designed and built the Spruce Goose, a vast transport plane, out of that self-same spruce which goes to make the paper books are printed on. We also have a great design for our flyers in time for Marilyn to distribute some at Keswick's Words by the Water Literary Festival on Friday. I hope to join her there myself to hear Michael Frayn speaking about his latest book, a memoir. I read that John le Carre will be on the platform in Trafalgar Square with other famous authors to celebrate World Book Day and World Book Night, March 4 & 5. I am distributing le Carre's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold to long distance lorry drivers in Crawford to mark the occasion.