Friday 2nd – Friday 30th November 2018
2018 Book Week Events
Jacquetta Megarry: Rucksack Guides
On 18 November, a sunny Sunday afternoon, around 35 people gathered at
Colinton Library to attend Jacquetta Megarry’s illustrated talk on Rucksack Readers and the walks she has done.
There are now thirty- seven weatherproof guidebooks to adventurous walks worldwide and titles include the West Highland Way which was the first long
distance walk that Jacquetta had done. She had a guide book for this walk but it proved to be inadequate for the weather – falling apart after getting
wet! This experience led to her subsequently writing and publishing guidebooks that were weather-proof and easier to use when walking.
We were amazed at Jacquetta’s determination and stamina; she has summited Mount Kilimanjaro four times by different routes!
Although Jacquetta feels that anyone can do these long distance treks, she began at the age of fifty and regards herself as overweight and not very fit,
I think we all left with a high regard for this remarkable and industrious woman.
Murray Armstrong: The Rebel that Scotland Forgot
Scotland has its own forgotten political rebel and martyr: Muir, a young lawyer from Lanarkshire, petitioned for proper elections and male suffrage in the
1790s and was transported to Botany Bay for fourteen years for his pains. A well-attended event heard former Headteacher of Currie High, Eric Melvin,
and ex-Guardian journalist Murray Armstrong discuss the story of Thomas Muir.
After Muir’s trial for sedition a corrupt jury found him guilty and reactionary Judge Braxfield gave him the outrageous sentence. He escaped and after
many adventures reached revolutionnary Paris but he died of wounds, aged just thirty four.
Liz Beevers: Thomas Muir walk
Murray accompanied us the next day on the Thomas Muir Walk from the Castle to Holyrood Parliament and added a great deal to our knowledge. Led by
Liz Beevers the group explored places associated with Thomas Muir’s rise, fall and trials in 1792-3. The group of twenty visited James Court, Parliament
Hall, the Martyr’s Monument and finally enjoyed a guided visit to the Holyrood Parliament in a bid to work out “Can you crush a Radical?
“Maybe” was our answer. “But not his ideas”
Blair Bowman: Reflections on the Water of Life
While there was only a small audience for Blair’s talk, we were engaged by his description of how he more or less accidentally fell into whisky and became
a founder member of the Whisky Society at Aberdeen University, which then became its fastest-growing club. Blair’s Whisky Tube Map provided an
interesting perspective by grouping by flavour rather than region and, fired by enthusiasm, we came to the proof (in more senses than one) in the form of
two free tastings. Even those who had said at the start that they were not whisky fans, by the end were swilling appreciatively.
Janet Dyer: Plants on Paper: Flower Painting or Botanical Illustration?
may seem a specialist subject, an absorbed audience now has a deep awareness of the continuing value of this field of study.
Jennifer Morag Henderson: Josephine Tey
Jennifer Henderson came from Inverness to talk about her biography of fellow Invernessian Josephine Tey. A somewhat mysterious writer of mysteries
and dead now for over sixty years, Tey’s books have never been out of print. Jennifer Henderson’s lively, illustrated talk showed us exactly why.
Prize giving ceremony:
The winners of this year’s writing competition gathered in Currie High School’s library on Saturday 24 November to hear from their judges the poems that
had been created. “Rebel” was the theme and all six winning poems were read out to the audience of parentsw, friends and other relatives of the aspiring
authors. The prizes, both monetary and in the form of a certificate, were awarded by Currie and Balerno rotary Club President, Roger Thom. This writing
competition is sponsored by the local rotarians to encourage young writers in our communities.
The Pentlands Book Festival presented a conversation between the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid, and the Head of Reader Development at the Scottish
Book Trust, Philippa Cochrane. Philippa, as a fan of Val, through questions like how Val gets her inspirations for her plots to what was the way she started
to enjoy books provided the Queen with the chance to tell a series of funny stories in the gripping one hour of entertainment.
Many of the large audience went away with a bargain book of Val’s from Blackwell’s supply.