MV Isle of Lewis

The voice came over the tannoy warning us of our delayed arrival. The swell had strengthened very suddenly as we sailed toward mainland Canada. Entry to the harbour was looking less and less likely.

I can’t say I even noticed anything worth worrying about. It wasn’t until, one by one, the seats around me became occupied that I thought to take a peek out of the window and see what the fuss was about. Night had fallen as we sailed from Vancouver Island and the waves were certainly dancing ferociously but, you know, it was nothing to write home about. When you grow up having your access to the mainland dictated to by the sea’s temperament and the bravery of a captain, it makes you slightly arrogant. Talk to me when we’re sailing sideways and my lunch goes flying off the canteen table. Then we have a problem.

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Discovering Robert Burns

Every New Year is ushered in to the strains of Robert Burns’ renowned Auld Lang Syne. Each January 25th his biggest fans gather at Burn Suppers to celebrate his great work by feasting on haggis, root vegetables and a little dram of whisky. And yet, despite being one of Scotland’s most famous exports, my encounters with him have mainly been restricted to humming along to Ae Fond Kiss. 

So when I recently discovered that the site of the Burns family ancestral home was nearby in Alloway, Ayr, I set out to discover more about this intriguing, Scottish wordsmith.

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New Lanark

This is an excerpt from my guest post on the New Lanark UNESCO World Heritage Site blog

What does the world famous Smithsonian Museum have in common with a small mill town in the south of Scotland? The answer lies in the heart of the New Lanark UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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World Book Day 2015

I won a writing competition when I was in secondary school. I had a collection of silver and bronze badges sitting in my cupboard at home so coming first was an exciting development. To win, I had to write one sentence to sum up why I thought people should read (NB: how many words do you have to write to make it a legitimate writing competition?).
My prize was any book of my choice. I can’t remember which I chose. But I can still remember the essence of what I wrote to win it: “People should read books because they can transport us to a world that we didn’t know could exist”.

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