Category Archives: Scotland

All I Want For Christmas Is…

I love Christmas. I love the UK. I love when they come together in such amazing ways.

For fun:

And for the other side of the coin:

May all the fighting end and all the military come home. That’s a Christmas wish I think we can all get behind.

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Filed under Christmas, England, Music, Scotland, Wales, War

Review: Game of Kings, by Dorothy Dunnett

The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1)The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles, 1) by Dorothy Dunnett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally I got past the archaic language and just kept reading, and understand why my friends love this series. It’s excellent, and the good news is that I have five more books to read in it.

Mary Queen of Scots is but five years old, Henry Viii is dead and the English are invading Scotland to capture the child queen and raise her to be their young King’s bride and queen.  It’s a little-explored slice of history that is rife with drama.

This is like James Bond if he were even more suave, even sexier, even more dangerous, had more emotional depth and lived in the time of flounce and lace and dashing highwaymen on dark roads at midnight.  Adventure, betrayal, and a story that twists and turns.  As I said, now I understand.

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Filed under Books, England, Fiction & Literary, Goodreads, History, Reading, Scotland

Where in the World Wednesday


As midnight Friday approaches, all my “where in the world” thoughts are focused on one certain world and thus I must offer you the following.

On this Wednesday-in-waiting, where would you rather go?

To Hogwarts?


Mont Saint-Michel is JKR’s inspiration for Hogwarts, and I’d dearly love to spend a few days there. Off the rocky coast of Normandy, it’s as magical-looking a manmade place as I can imagine. Miz Kitty has spent some time there. Perhaps she’ll tell us stories. Pretty please? And while we’re at it, does anyone have any books to recommend that take place there? I’d love to do a bit of armchair traveling/dreaming before I make the trip in person….

And of course if you’ve been paying attention, you know that JKR transported the island to a place far to the north of London and Station:


Scotland! With men in kilts and single-malt Scotch and salmon and golf and Knights Templar and did I mention men in kilts? The picture is of Glencoe (where we stayed at a sweet B &B and saw mountain rescue teams rehearsing for disasters), site of a horrible massacre. (Damn Campbells.) Every year on Feb 13 the McDonalds gather to remember the bloody night when the turncoat Campbells turned highland hospitality on its head and murdered their McDonald hosts in their beds. (Damn, damn Campbells.) These days the Campbells show up, too. They all wear their tartans and walk up the hill to the memorial, following the piper. I know. I’ve been there. Someday the McDonalds may forget the past. Give them a little time. It has only been 315 years since it happened, after all. In Scottish feud terms, the blood is hardly dry on the sheets.

And is it just me, or might this be JKR’s inspiration for Hagrid?


And then, of course, there’s the site of the Ministry of Magic:


London. Westminster Abbey and Abbey Road. Ben Franklin’s House and Peter Pan’s statue. Setting for Hanover Street and 84, Charing Cross Road. Tea at Brown’s and Tex-Mex at The Texas Embassy.

This Friday night I’d be at Foyle’s in London (assuming they are part of the Potter Midnight Madness) and then I’d catch a ferry to France and hole up at Hogwarts for a week to read, and of course, explore.

Where would you go? What would you do?



Photo sources: Mt. St. Michel , Scotland, London.


Filed under Books, England, Film, France, Harry Potter, Scotland, Travel, Where in the World Wednesday

BBC Radio Scotland Gets In On the Game

So I’m listening to Radio Scotland and I hear them promoting Write Here, Right Now.

How about spending the most boring month in the year, February, doing something crazy and creative?

Why not write a novel?
Radio Scotland challenges you to take part in ‘Write Here, Right Now’. You just commit to writing 1000 words a day for 28 days. We’re talking potential, not a polished novel, with that all-important deadline hurtling towards you.

Check it out — weekly newsletter, etc. I thought I understood them to say that there will also be a radio show that talks about it daily but don’t find mention of that on the website. So maybe I just made that up. That’s what writers do, you know. Make things up. And sometimes even get what’s made up and what’s not confused in their feeble little minds, or maybe it doesn’t matter, I forget which excuse James Frey used.

Less demanding than nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month, which requires 50,000 words in November, yet more demanding than NILTOY, Novel In Less Than One Year, though there’s no reason you couldn’t do both.

And don’t forget that Louise Doughty has started a weekly column in the Telegraph encouraging wannabe novelists to just do it. Write a novel this year.

And don’t forget to run your title through the Lulu Title Scorer to see, well, how it scores. I wouldn’t change a great title just because Lulu doesn’t give it a high score. On the other hand, Margaret Mitchell thought Tomorrow Is Another Day was a great title. Luckily her editors changed her mind.

Go on. Write up a storm.


Filed under Books, nanowrimo, Scotland, Writing

Hoist One High

It’s a night for fine single malt, for haggis, for tartan, for kilt.

Tragic Fragment

All devil as I am-a damned wretch,
A hardened, stubborn, unrepenting villain,
Still my heart melts at human wretchedness;
And with sincere but unavailing sighs
I view the helpless children of distress:
With tears indignant I behold the oppressor
Rejoicing in the honest man’s destruction,
Whose unsubmitting heart was all his crime. –

Robert Burns
Scotland’s Son

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