An afternoon tweeting

So, I was trolling through my twitter feed and a number of things popped out at me.  Here’s a sampling of what I found:



Amazing photos from the BBC … part of “My Favorite Places” during Book Week, which is this week in Scotland.

The Scottish Book Trust website says, “150,000 copies of My Favourite Place are being given away the length and the breadth of the country this week (26 November – 2 December). You’ll find copies in so many places: libraries, bookshops, museums, businesses, arts venues, train stations, CalMac ferries, workplaces and even in Specsavers branches.”  For readings and activities in local libraries, please see the Events page.



Christmas pudding teacakes.  How fantastic and easy-to-make are these? Check out this blog site.



There’s a chance to win this beautiful book in December from

And now I’m off to join lots of great chat on #Scotlandhour, a super resource on Twitter.  Today (9-10 pm) we’re talking about St. Andrews.

Edinburgh Book Fair


oh me, oh my, I would love to go to this.

Today and tomorrow at the Radisson Blu Hotel, 80 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

March 9th – Noon til 7 p.m.

March 10th – 10:00 a.m. til 5:00 p.m.

Cost: FREE!!!!!!

Featuring specialist dealers in old and rare books, prints, maps and manuscripts.

More info can be found here.


Lewis Chessmen meet Dr. Who

The Lewis Chessmen have once again popped up in the news.  They are magnificent chess pieces, believed to be from the 12th Century and in 1831, more than 90 pieces were found buried in a sand dune on Lewis.

Ayrshire-born Jenny Colgan has written a new Doctor Who book, Dark Horizons, that includes the historic Lewis Chessmen.  The story involves Matt Smith’s Doctor being on the Western Isles to play the famous boardgame.  Vikings, a kidnapped princess and the islands under attack by a mysterious fire are all part of the plot line.

For more information on this BBC book, please see the website.

Nigel Tranter

Nigel Tranter, one of Scotland’s most prolific writers was born on this day in 1909. Tranter was educated at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh and published his first book in 1935 at the age of 25. His five-volume series ‘The Fortified House in Scotland’ covered the history and structure of more than 650 Scottish castles. (from History Scotland Magazine facebook page).

Books from Scotland writes:

“Nigel Tranter was born in Glasgow, but schooled at George Heriot’s in Edinburgh. His childhood interests included history and architecture, but his first profession was an account for his uncle’s insurance company. He married Jean Campbell Grieve in 1933, and his first book was published a year later – The Fortalices and Early Mansions of Southern Scotland, which he illustrated himself He turned to fiction, and became a full-time writer in 1936.

During WWII he served in the Royal Artillery, but still found time to write five books. After the war, he returned to writing, producing childrens’ books, romantic novels, and Westerns under the pen-name Nye Tredgold. But Tranter is most famous for his historical novels, particularly the Robert the Bruce trilogy written in between 1969 and 1971. The first of his historical novels was The Queen’s Grace, about Mary Queen of Scots, and was inspired in part by his research into the architectural history of Scottish Castles.

Later novels featured many more Scottish figures, including Kings James II, V and II, Queen Margaret, Macbeth, King David I, the House of Stewart, and others.

Tranter also wrote a number of non-fiction books, particularly on Scottish architecture such as the five-volume The Fortified House in Scotland. He was an active public speaker, particularly on historical and political subjects, and was a firm Scottish Nationalist.

Nigel Tranter died in 2000, aged 91, from the flu. In all, he wrote over 130 books; his final novel, Hope Endures, wasn’t published until 2004.”

Nigel Tranter is near and dear to my heart as he began my foray into the world of Scottish history many years ago. He wrote with such finesse and with deep appreciation for history itself that the reader couldn’t help but be drawn in to his stories.

Aberfeldy Watermill Bookshop

Aberfeldy Watermill was opened in 2005 by no less than Michael Palin himself and it now boasts an award-winning bookshop, gallery, cafe and design-led homeware.  These different venues are housed within three floors of a converted oatmeal mill and if you like, you can read about it here.

The bookshop particularly intrigued me when I read that they have signed copies of Mairi Hedderwick‘s books including Hebridean Desk Diary, Katie Morag’s Island Stories, Sea Change and Highland Journey. They posted this information in October so I’m hoping they still have some copies if you think you might like to get some for Christmas prezzies.

The Aberfeldy Watermill is located on Mill Street in Aberfeldy, Perthshire. If you want to give them a ring before heading down, the phone number is 01887 822896 or their email address is

Book Characters

We’ve been gone on holidays for a few days and are away for a bit next week too so my postings will be a bit sporadic. 🙂

I haven’t had a lot of time to do much research on Scotland but there is a lot going on, especially in Edinburgh these days. The Edinburgh International Book Festival begins this weekend and I found a fun little game to find out what Scottish book character you are most like.  It appears I am like Miss Jean Brodie ~

The character you are most like is Miss Jean Brodie from The Prime of Miss Jean
Brodie. You are someone who likes to stand out from the crowd. Unconventional, you like to do things your own way and spend little time worrying about what others think of you. Cultured and well-read, you have a love of knowledge and like nothing better than to sit down with a good book. Strongly opinionated, you always speak your mind but be careful of that stubborn streak. Sometimes it’s good to listen to what others have to say too!

Another event this coming weekend is the World Pipe Band Championships:

40,000 Spectators
8,000 Pipers & Drummers
16 Nations
1 World Champion

“The World Pipe Band Championships will return to its heartland, in Glasgow Green on 13th August 2011. Expect exciting competition across all Grades, in the fiercely contested Drum Major contest as well as Highland Dancing and Glasgow World Highland Games Championships! Enjoy a fantastic daylong event that will delight both piping fans and those looking for a great day out.”

Borders Book Festival

Harmony Garden, Melrose
June 16-19, 2011
65 events

Set in the beautiful Harmony Garden, marquees and a bookshop and a cafe will be open to celebrate the book festival. Writers, performers, politicians, interviewers, storytellers and artists will come together in the Borders of Scotland to share their wealth of knowledge and experience. In 2010, more than 10,000 people came to Melrose to the Book Festival and this year the ticket sales have been going well so the organizers are expecting large numbers once again.

One of the exciting events is the presentation of the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Through the generous sponsorship of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, there is a prize of 25,000 pounds for the top writer. This year there are six stories that have been shortlisted.

The Festival has been going since 2004 and this year, Festival director Alistair Moffat has said it is the best programme yet, with “diversity, verve and sheer quality”. He also said, “festivals are bucking the trend of the economic downturn proving, no matter what, there will always be a place in our lives for good literature and live debate.”

Some of the participants are as follows:

Mull, Iona and Staffa with Malcolm McGregor – photography

Mark Beaumont – The Man Who Cycled The Americas

Michael Frayn – One of Britain’s greatest playwrights and novelists, Michael Frayn has written a wonderful account of his upbringing in My Father’s Fortune.

Kirsty Wark – A Life In Books – television journalist talking about what books have changed her life.

Michael Parkinson – well-known interviewer talks about his past.

Roodica the Rude – a children’s book about how Roodica, a young Celt, takes on the Roman invaders.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland – Alexander McCall Smith, will announce a sweeping new project – creation of a tapestry for all Scotland that will tell the story of the nation. There will be a series of brilliantly designed and stitched panels to be made in every part of the country.

You Can Write! – a creative writing workshop.

James Douglas-Hamilton – the politician, offering his perspective on British politics over the last 50 years.

Alexander McCall Smith – author of the famous 44 Scotland Street books.

Barbara Dickson – A singer, song-writer and actress, she will talk about her autobiography.

For tickets, you can phone the box office 0844 357 1060 or go online to