Island Voices Galore

One of the projects that’s kept me busy recently, along with finishing the first draft of my next novel, is the publication by Twinlaw Publishing (www.twinlawpublishing.co.uk) of a new book – not mine, but one by Janice Ross. Janice has been a busy lady, juggling the demands of publication with putting together her doctoral thesis on the art of blethering.

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Expression in the eyes

Today, the thirteenth of November, Edinburgh celebrates Robert Louis Stevenson Day, thought the birthday commemoration has in fact spawned a week of events from the ninth to the fifteenth – http://www.cityofliterature.com/rlsday-2015/events/

Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Edinburgh on 13th November 1850, is, according to Amazon ranked the twenty fifth most translated author in the world. Stevenson was an essayist, poet, travel writer and novelist, his best-known works being Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as well as his children’s poetry collection A Child’s Garden of Verses.

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Extra for life vests

One third of the 1000 Syrian refugees to be relocated in the UK before Christmas will be coming to Scotland, with the new arrivals shared across half the country’s local council areas. A Scottish government minister has said Scotland’s response to the humanitarian crisis has been phenomenal, with everyone working hard to ensure a warm welcome to those who come here seeking protection, safety and security.

Scotland’s first refugees will be settled on the Isle of Bute, a small island in the Firth of Clyde on Scotland’s west coast. Over the next five years the UK government has pledged to take in up to 20,000 refugees.

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No fog horns, just a jingle

Videos are on my mind. Not the neatly packaged and enticingly or garishly labelled bought from a shelf in supermarket or shop, or downloaded or streamed to computer. But a short promotional video, shot, assembled and brought into the world by me to publicise my novel Any news from India?

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A little slice of immortality

Good news always makes a day go with a swing, puts a smile on your face, a bounce in your step. Makes your fingers dance on the keyboard. My good news this morning is that one of my short stories, Bowler and bunnet, felt and fascinator, has been shortlisted for the H G Wells Short Story Competition, the theme of which was class (to be interpreted as you wanted). http://hgwellscompetition.com/2015/09/21/junior-and-senior-category-competition-shortlists/comment-page-1/#comment-430

So happy to have achieved this as my story will now be published in their anthology. Whee!

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Books, talks, and Totty Rocks

One of the many festivals in Edinburgh at this time of year is the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Its programme of events is so large that when listed make a book to add to the thousands for sale at the event.

Nowhere else can you rub shoulders and chat with so many authors and celebrities from around the world, all keen to woo the public in order to give us their views on the world, to sell their books. Exciting stuff!

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Second demise

To all those, myself included, who were wondering about second class rail travel in the UK. Well, thanks to the wonders of the internet I’ve discovered that the Railway Regulation Act 1844 laid down minimum standards for travel and provided compulsory services at prices affordable to poorer people to enable them to travel to work, or to find work. At this time there were three (or more – never heard of that before!) classes of carriage, first, second and third, with third being little more than open goods wagons, often without even seats.

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A hint of Poirot

Forty six years ago the rail line that ran from Edinburgh, through the villages of Heriot, Fountainhall and Stow, then the Border towns of Galashiels, Melrose, Selkirk and Hawick and onwards to Carlisle – the Waverley line – was closed. The government of the day, looking as always for budget cuts, waved around a report into the railway network, little changed since Victorian times, and decided on implementation of the suggested cuts.

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Behind, in front of, or marooned?

I was born into a generation where the purchase of a new dress or pair of shoes was still considered something of an indulgence, a treat, an extravagance made necessary because of an upcoming special occasion (wedding or suchlike). Thrift, and make-do-and-mend had been ingrained into my grandmother’s and mother’s generations by years of war, then continued rationing. Even when this finally came to an end, choice was limited, the normal state of the world, I believed. It took some time for the consumer society we, in the affluent Western world, are so well acquainted with, to make itself felt.

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