I am writing this in my favourite bookshop, or to be more precise, in the café beneath it, enjoying a latte. I don’t intend to buy any books because I was in here a few days ago and spent more than I meant to. I stumbled upon, and bought (amongst several others), a large volume by Kevin McCloud, of ‘Grand Designs’ fame. The book’s full title is Kevin McCloud’s 43 Principles of Home, though to me it is more of a brain dump of everything Kevin can think of related to eco- and better living in the 21st Century. Amazingly I read it from cover to cover in two days, though it is probably best tackled by dipping into it at random. Kevin appears to practise what he preaches (awful cliché), both in his work and his home. Perhaps there is another reason I am drawn to the man and his ideas – he lives on the Mendips, a place I know (or used to know) well. Both above and below ground.
Tag Archives: aberfeldy
I have been away for a few days, in Killicrankie. When I’m in that part of the world I always find time to visit my favourite bookshop, The Watermill at Aberfeldy (click the link, on the right). As always, I had coffee there. And, as always, I spent more money than I meant to on books. On the bookshop counter were copies of William Topaz McGonagall’s poems. I didn’t buy one because I have had a copy of these for years. My guess is that more books of his collected poems have sold than those of Robert Burns, but that is not for me to say. I’m no more struck on Burns than I am on Shelley, Wordsworth or Coleridge. For me they are men of their time, writing about a bygone age that we no longer understand and which has no great appeal to us. But McGonagall… well, McGonagall is always good for a laugh. And more importantly he provides us with a salutory lesson: McGonagall thought he was good. Not only did he think he was good, he probably couldn’t understand why he wasn’t poet-laureate, or why Queen Victoria didn’t recognise him.
No doubt she wasn’t amused. She would have been, had she read his stuff. There are Scots who believe that McGonagall should be considered as the Scots national poet rather than Burns. They might well say that. I couldn’t possibly comment.
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