Posted by: billpurdue | April 9, 2009

Fiftieth Edition!

It was roughly about this time last year that I started to write my weekly book blogs for the Chad. I can hardly believe that I’ve been able to keep it up for so long, so reaching the fiftieth posting – if I’ve counted correctly- is something of an achievement. To upload a new post every week seemed a daunting task at first, but I’m still going strong – and that’s the way I intend to continue. I’d like to thank everyone who has viewed my postings over the past months, especially those who subscribe, and for the comments I have received; your comments are very welcome.

Attention footie fans!

A former member of the Stags football team has just published his own autobiography: Paul Holland’s Talking Double Dutch [Breedon Books £16.99 9781859836972] came out last month and is on sale both in bookshops as well as in the Chad Reception on Newgate Lane in Mansfield, alongside John Lomas’s End of an Era: Mansfield Town: the football league years. If you’d like a signed copy, Paul Holland will be in WHSmith in Mansfield on Saturday 11th April between 11am and 1pm. If you can’t make it then, he is in Chesterfield the following Saturday and at Waterstones, Nottingham on April 25th. I’ve just recorded an interview with Paul and this will hopefully be available with my next posting towards the end of Easter Week.

and for Monarch of the Glen fans..

If you enjoyed watching the BBC TV series “Monarch of the Glen“, you’ll probably know that the series was loosely based on the Scottish novels by Compton Mackenzie and ran to 64 episodes, the last one being broadcast in October 2005. The main difference was that the TV series was set in the present day, whilst Mackenzie’s novels are set in the 1930s and ’40s.

I’ve just been reading one of the novels in the Scottish series by Mackenzie – not the one called Monarch of the Glen [Vintage Classics £7.99 9780099529545] , but Hunting the Fairies . This is about the laird of Kilwhillie, Hugh Cameron, who has reached the age of 50, but not yet found a wife. The American owners of a neighbouring estate are unable to spend the summer in Scotland and ask Kilwhillie (the laird is usually known by the name of his estate) to provide accommodation for a few weeks for their friend Mrs Urquhart-Unwin – known to her friends as Yu-Yu – and her daughter Deirdre. Yu-Yu is a member of the Ossianic Society of Boston, Mass. and especially interested in Celtic Mythology. She is very keen to “collect” songs and stories that have previously been “uncollected” and, if possible, to record the songs of the fairies. As with all moneyed people in those days, they bring the kitchen sink with them and Yu-Yu has her own clarsach (harp) and sound recording machine.

But Yu-Yu has a rival in the shape of Mrs Wolfingham, who is also a member of the same Ossianic Society and is determined to outdo Yu-Yu by collecting and recording more and better examples of the Scottish mythology and folklore in order to impress fellow members when she gets back to Boston. Mrs Wolfingham just so happens to arrive soon after Yu-Yu and stays close by. The pair eventually come face to face at a dinner party. The antics the two get up to and who comes off the best in the end is cleverly told. In addition to that, Kilwhillie contemplates proposing to Yu-Yu’s daughter in spite of the 30 year age difference; what he really wants is a way of acquiring a son and heir.

It’s what I would call an entertaining, lightly humorous story. It’s set against the backdrop of magnificent Highland scenery and peppered with Gaelic words and phrases which are not hard to decipher (but very hard to pronounce – even Kilwhillie has trouble doing that). It’s a very absorbing tale and well worth the effort of acquiring a copy. On checking the online catalogues of Notts and Derbyshire Libraries, I found that only Derbyshire has a copy and that is in their store at Derby, which can presumably be requested at any library in the county.  Hunting the Fairies can be easily picked up from several online second hand booksellers.

Happy Easter!

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