Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Hello readers of textbooks, readers of fun books and readers of this here blog. Chris is back in the blog seat this week and he has lots and lots to tell you.

I’ve been travelling round Scotland quite a bit since I spoke to y’all last; Moray with Simon Bartram, Argyll & Bute with Chris Mould (you can now listen to our exclusive chat with Chris) and I have just returned from a weekend away in a remote lighthouse on Wester Ross.

It was a wild place: single track roads, horizontal rain, gale force winds that could blow you off your feet, stunning lightning storms, power-cuts and fresh hens eggs. I would recommend it to anyone who is brave (or stupid enough) to venture that far into the wilderness. I love travelling round this country, it’s amazingly beautiful and it constantly changes and on a road trip or tour you get to see so much that you just wouldn’t see or know about, The Drovers Inn, McCaig’s Tower or Rua Reidh.

I have just arrived back in the office following a fantastic event at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh with literary genius, Neil Gaiman, who flew up from London to do this special event for us. Neil was talking about his new book The Graveyard Book, a dark and spooky tale that will send tremors down your spine and have you hooked from the very first page. It was such a pleasure and privilege to meet such a hugely talented author. Celia, from the children’s team, was lucky enough to get to interview Neil (she is a massive, massive fan) and this will be up on the website soon so keep your ears cleaned out.

But all of these things are in the past and at the moment I am working like only a member of Scottish Book Trust knows how on a variety of projects. Of course there is the Royal Mail Awards, fast drawing to a close, votes flooding in but a huge ceremony to organise (its gonna rock)in Aberdeen. But I am not the only one who is working hard on the Royal Mail Awards, children right across Scotland have been reading the books, discussing them, voting for them and some like this lot from St Joseph’s College in Dumfries have been videoing and blogging about them. The videos are completely brilliant, crazy music, dazzling costumes and wonderful camera angles – you should not miss them and the best bit is that there is even more to come!

We also have a Halloween event with Vivian French in the spooky Caves on Friday complete with fancy dress and atmospheric lighting that promises to be a huge amount of fun. So I guess its all hard work with a few fun things thrown in there too.

Witch reminds me, as Halloween is almost upon us, we have this special feature from Debi Gliori who tells us her Top 5 Scary Places:

1 Any knife-edge mountain ridge. I am the kind of wussy hillwalker that lies down and sobs with acute vertigo when I find that the only way onwards is across one of these things. The only other option being turn back, descend and cross a field of cows. A knife-edge mountain ridge is one of those crumbly things about as wide as your boot with a sheer drop on either side. That's 'sheer' as in 'killer'.
Examples - An Teallach, Liathach Ben Ailligin( sp?), and just about everything in the Cuillins on Skye. Why do I go to these places if they scare me? Because clambering up to the roof of Scotland is the best fun this woman has ever had, even if it scares me witless.
2 Anywhere in front of a microphone in front of an audience. I may look as if I'm cool, calm and collected, but inside I'm a sobbing blob of terror.
3 Walking along the corridor in my house after dark when my partner Michael isn't home. I jump at shadows, imagine axe-murderers, hear rustlings...how pathetic am I?
4 Walking into the 'Lounge Bar' in Lerwick on the island of Shetland with my fiddle in hand to join in with the frighteningly talented Shetland Fiddlers. The only seat left in the entire bar was right in the middle of these geniuses. This is a bit like an enthusiastic amateur tennis player walking onto centre court at Wimbledon. Or a useless hillwalker like me heading off up to the summit of Everest.
5 Some nameless underground station in the bowels of New York City.
The platform was no wider than my handbag, there were rats running on the line below and I felt as if I had a big sign over my head saying "This woman is lost. Please steal her handbag and fling her off the platform for the rats to eat". Of course, this didn't happen. A complete stranger said 'Hey, Lady. You look lost. Can I hep' you?'.

Which only goes to show that the scariest places are inside your own imagination.

After all this I am going back on the road, heading north to see my niece for the first time and I might try and go surfing with a couple of friends.

Things im enjoying
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Conor Oberst
Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain on Audiobook
The West Wing

Quote of the week
"Writing is acting for shy people" - Neil Gaiman

No comments: