Bits and Blogs

A cosmic Loch Broom, Ullapool.

(Photo © Colin Baird)

Fifty First Timer No.4

Performed in Public with my guitar

OK there were two other guitars, a fiddle and a very out of tune singer performing with me. And it wasn’t in front of a hostile audience in Glasgow but a handful of Ochil Mountaineers in Ullapool Youth Hostel. It was still a debut performance.

We played Dirty Old Town, that famous Ewan MacColl song that reminds me of school. Unfortunately performing is addictive and I wouldn’t shut up for the rest of the night.

Sorry OMC.

Farewell Penguin Scotland

This weekend I was saddened to read that publisher Penguin are closing their Scottish office. To me it is another sign that reading markets (or supermarket book buyers) are tired of Scottish writers. When I look back through my reading journal I find that the majority of the books I read are published by Penguin. I am so disappointed in them

Lets hope the publishers left in Scotland continue to publish high quality Scottish literature and aren’t tempted by the easy money to be found in the growing trend of celebrity biographies and sensational blockbuster doorstops.

Read the full story in the excellent blog Beattie’s Book Blog.

Julia’s Blog

Another Blog I discover recently is that of the late Julia Darling. I was prompted to search for information about her after reading Jackie Kay’s poem Darling. I have admired the poetry of Jackie Kay for years but I believe this particular poem can touch every one who reads it. It is perfect.

The blog is very special. It starts in September 2002 and ends in April 2005 with Julia’s death from cancer. The blog is the diary of a busy writer and is fascinating to read from that aspect, because Julia’s style is friendly, funny and generous. But this blog also chronicles Julia’s declining health and it is humbling to read how positive she is about the whole experience.

I have only read half the blog so far but I did read some of the later entries before posting it here and I am amazed at how Julia manages to work so hard and retain her bright outlook even when she must have been very ill.

Reading the blog is like getting to know Julia as a friend and I feel sad to know that I will never meet this special lady.

One Last Blog

The banner of this website is;

‘do one thing a month to make the world a better place’

Once you sign up to The Nag you receive a monthly nag which suggests a list of improvements to make to your life and reduce your ‘footprint’.

Some of them are totally unreasonable, like change to green energy, but that takes planning and needs lots of time and money.

I am still a bit sceptical about this site and not sure what it’s motives are. Today I was nagged and chose to look at my lunch regime. I was immediately offered the opportunity to buy a lunch bag or a flask or a Tupperware box or a water bottle.

Is this really what The Nag is about, selling on merchandise? I can go to Woolies and buy all of these items the next time I am in town. That way I can save the planet by not having goods transported to my door from goodness knows where.

I will keep you posted.


  1. switching to green energy doesn’t take any money, time or planning! i did it in about ten minutes with ecotricity and i pay the same as i did before. it just means changing tariff, not fitting solar panels…


  2. Hi Briony, I suppose it all depend on what you consider green. I personally do not consider windfarms green energey when I have to watch the Scottish countryside being torn up to build them and whole community put at risk for the giant pylons that need to transport the energy they produce. I have already installed a woodburning stove and am in the planning stage of ground heat recovery to replace the LGP – that is green energy. Moira


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