Featured Slider

Books I Bought in Scotland


Most unusually, book shopping was not the focus of this trip. I was traveling with my daughter and, much as she loves reading, she did not want to spend all her time in book shops. She wanted to see castles and pandas and museums as well. I suppose that is reasonable. However, I did manage to pop into a few bookshops and I came home with ten new books. I didn't put a lot of thought into my purchases. Since I didn't have much time in bookshops I just bought things when they looked interesting. Or I bought things because the bookseller was nice. The book second from the bottom in the stack was purchased solely because the bookseller spent 20 minutes discussing what route we should take to get to Kelvingrove Park and what we should do along the way. I had to buy something after he had been so nice.


We did have one day when we visited a few bookshops. Katrina, from Pining for the West, and her husband offered to meet us in Edinburgh and give us a tour of the city including stops at a few bookshops. It was very, very kind of them and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Celia had been nervous about spending time with people we didn't know but about ten minutes after we met up with them she dropped back to walk with me and whispered: "they are really, really nice." She was right.




I could easily have bought so many more books but I was limited by what would fit in my carry-on suitcase. Such a pity. I will have to go back. Celia enjoyed rummaging around in the bookshops. She ended up buying a small dinosaur encyclopedia and an old copy of The Swiss Family Robinson. She wanted a complete set of The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton but there was no way we were going to get that home.



Celia and I also visited a couple of bookshops in Glasgow but the only one I have photos of is Caledonia Books. It was charming and the owner was friendly but we were both very jetlagged at that point and I am sure I missed some treasures.




Of course, I managed to visit Waterstones a number of times since it was just around the corner from our hotel. So, all in all, book shopping may not have been the focus of this trip but I did manage to squeeze quite a bit of it in.




A Poem for a Thursday #44

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Sylvia Plath was an American poet and novelist. Her poems are autobiographical and focus on her own emotions and sense of despair. Joyce Carol Oates wrote of her poems that "many of them written during the final, turbulent weeks of her life, read as if they have been chiseled, with a fine surgical instrument, out of arctic ice." Plath took her own life when she was thirty.

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes
Ebon in the hedges, fat
With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.
I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.
They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides

Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks--
Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.
Theirs is the only voice, protesting, protesting.
I do not think the sea will appear at all.
The high, green meadows are glowing, as if lit from within.
I come to one bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies,
Hanging their bluegreen bellies and their wing panes in a Chinese screen.
The honey-feast of the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven.
One more hook, and the berries and bushes end.

The only thing to come now is the sea.
From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me,
Slapping its phantom laundry in my face.
These hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt.
I follow the sheep path between them. A last hook brings me
To the hills' northern face, and the face is orange rock
That looks out on nothing, nothing but a great space
Of white and pewter lights, and a din like silversmiths
Beating and beating at an intractable metal. 

Blackberrying
Sylvia Plath

Brona is also sharing a poem this week.

Scotland, We Loved You


Here are a few totally uniformed opinions about Scotland based on my one week visit.

It is very pretty. Apparently, the Highlands are even prettier than the area we visited. I will be happy to return and test that theory.

The people are unbelievably friendly. Everyone talked to us. Everyone was helpful. It was lovely.

Scones with cream and jam are the food of the gods.

You can spend a lot of time at the Edinburgh Zoo before the panda decides to emerge. For a whole 2.5 minutes. But that was enough to make Celia's day.

Glasgow is a bit rough around the edges and not quite what I expected but we loved it and would happily live there.

Edinburgh was objectively prettier but it was so crowded because of the festival going on. We will have to go back. Of course.

There are a lot of castles. Celia would happily visit all of them.

I bought some books.

There was a Waterstones around the corner from our hotel. A couple of mornings Celia slept in a bit and I went to the cafe for tea and cake and some book browsing. It was the perfect way to start a day.

We walked over 60 miles in a week. It balanced out all the cake and scones. I wish we lived in a place where we didn't have to drive everywhere.

Trains are very affordable. We went to Edinburgh twice, Stirling, and Loch Lomond. The most we paid was about 13 pounds. For both of us. Round trip. That is amazing. Celia is under 16 so her ticket was 1 pound every time.

Bagpipes are best enjoyed from a distance.

Walled gardens make me happy.

Our flight home was canceled and we got an extra 24 hours in Scotland. Once we knew we had a bed for the night we had absolutely no complaints about that.

British Airways then decided to check our bags for free. If only I had known before I had arrived at the airport I could have bought more books.

Celia has decided she is going to grow up and move to Scotland. I don't have the heart to explain the impossibilities of moving to the U.K. so I am just joining her in unrealistic dreams.

Yes, Scotland, we loved you.


One more thing; Simon, at Stuck in a Book, has brought back his My Life in Books series. I am one of the two bloggers featured today. If you want to read the post it is here.