What do you like most about Scotland 10 facts ?

1. I love irn bru diet and full fat

2. I love Edinburgh the city of literature and am lucky to live right next door to it.

3. I love batters sasuasage and chips from the chippy ( Can’t beat it)

4. I love the Edinburgh dungeons and the Edinburgh museum especially the veiw you get for the veiw top terrest.

5 I LOVE our literature we still hold top place in the world I love scottish poetry especially Norman MaCciah and Robert Burns.

6 I love how friendly we are how you can go out for a drink and get chatting to anyone

7 I love the fourth just walking along tbe beach starring out into the forth is the closest you will get to heaven.

9 I like shortbread and fudge and tablet and haggis all the stereotypical foods.

10 I love Hogmany and burns night

Aunt Julia Analysis

:Please note this is my own interpretation of the poem by the writer Norman MacCaig and may not be correct.

Aunt Julia Is one of my favourite poems by MacCaig. Its quite a melancholy poem and has connotations to death. Yet MacCaigs depiction of his Aunt Julia is a very fond one.

Stanza one

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
I could not answer her —
I could not understand her.

In this stanza we are introduced to the main character of the poem Aunt Julia. We are told that she speaks Gaelic this immediately tells us there is a communication barrier. “I could not answer her – I could not understand her” This for me also has connotations of death “I could not answer her ” shows his desperation and grief and also shows us that MacCaig perhaps feels guilty about his relationship with his aunt that he never really understood her and never will understand her.

Stanza Two

She wore men’s boots
when she wore any.
— I can see her strong foot,
stained with peat,
paddling with the treadle of the spinningwheel
while her right hand drew yarn
marvellously out of the air.

In stanza two the opening lines are “She wore men’s boots when she wore any” This shows that she is perhaps a very tough woman who almost takes on a mans role. “I can see her strong foot stained with peat” This reveals that the character is a woman of the land. “Paddling with the treadle of the spinning wheel while her right hand drew yarn marvellously out of the air” This shows a more domesticated side to Aunt Julia. This is a skill heavily associated with island life – Harris is famous for producing tweed. The word choice of “Marvellously” shows the young MacCaigs admiration and fondness for his aunt. The use of the present tense throughout this stanza creates a sense of immediacy and shows how vividly and readily he can still access these memories.

Stanza Three

Hers was the only house
where I’ve lain at night
in the absolute darkness
of a box bed, listening to
crickets being friendly.

MacCaig decides to open the stanza with the word choice of hers. Which shows his affection for her and the bond they had. In the absolute darkness again has connotations of death and reiterates the theme to the reader with the darkness being symbolic of death and despair. It has links to the final stanza where Aunt Julia is “Silenced in the absolute black”

Stanza Four 

She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pouring wetly
round house-ends.
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepennybits
in a teapot.

The writer uses personification and metaphors in this stanza to connect Aunt Julia to the landscape and objects. MacCaig connects his aunt with mundane domestic objects which symbolise her simple minimalistic lifestyle. “She was winds pouring wetly round house-ends” This connects his aunt to nature and is also perhaps symbolic of his despair.

Stanza five

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
By the time I had learned
a little, she lay
silenced in the absolute black
of a sandy grave
at Luskentyre. But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagull’s voice
across a hundred yards
of peat scrapes and lazybeds
and getting angry, getting angry
with so many questions
unanswered.

The main theme of death is shown in the last stanza. There is a bitter despair to MacCaigs tone. He uses the word choice of “Silenced” to suggest perhaps Aunt Julia lived her whole life in silence isolated by the communication barrier and her geographical area. “In the absolute black” Is again symbolic of death.

 

 

A Collection Of Fag Butts Short Story (Part 2)

a-break-from-the-grind

Jack Walked across the site. Dirt and rocks crumbling beneath his steel cap boots , the ground he walked on dusty and uneaven. He leant down heaving up a few bricks and sliding them under his arm in a routine manner. He stumbled across to where the house was being built and began to lay. Spreading on a layer of grey murky cement and then placing the brick on top. This was the filling of time in his days. His life one brick on top of another. The mundane repetitivness enough to keep insanity and fear at bay. The soothing relieve of money into the bank account at the end of the month ; enough to allow the objections to slide. To worn down by austerity to read a newspaper , to take an interest in politics. That life couldnt be his , comfort , clarity , security. Hope. Even if he deserved it.

He allowed his thoughts to drift off to an image of his partner. Her slender figure which made him tingle with animal desire , her charming smile which drew you to her like a moth , her flattering laugh which could make you giddy. Yet now she was gone. As quick as a memory. In a box in the ground a future erased ; a life extinguished like a naked flame. How someone could be standing next to you ; merged into every part of your life and the next minuit had disapeared was completly incomprehensible to Jack. He still expected her to be their in the place he had last saw her. A disorientation that it was impossible that he could never talk to her again , laugh with her again. Hold her in his arms and feel protected for one small moment in a world no one was safe in. He still carried the greif with him like a dusty old scarve that made each breath thick , heavy and difficult.

Most nights he spent alone , lagar can in hand the echoey flat only an empty shell and not something he could call home. Possesions scattered like a shrine , items that could never belong there anymore. Without her he was nothing. A one sided coin. An empty side of the bed. A shadow of a life. He stuffed it with booze and oven chips , saturday football matches and news at six. Mundane things. Things to keep killing time. To block out the fact he was alone in the world. Survival was necessary. Living was painful , unbearable , hopeless. Yet death scared him. Like it scared most men. So he carried on. One brick after another.

A Collection Of Fag Butts (Short Story Part 1)

dave-coulter-builder

He Leant against the brick wall. Th dry tabbaco floating over his lips and eveporating into the air. The process of the chalky smoke being inhaled through his mouth into his lungs , destroying little parts of him gave him the sense of twisted pleasure and relaxation. It formed a mask , against the guilt , fear and bitterness. It was a satisfactory action , to twist the slim pale ciggeret between his idle fingers. Knumbing the agitation and despair he felt. Despair as an adult wasn’t like despair as a child it paralised you steeped into every corner of your mind like cancer , dulling it.

“Jack for frig sake” his friend called to him his voice broad and masculine the tounge of the building trade. A language created as a dry attempt to keep at bay the vulnrability the men felt when they lay in their beds at night darkness cast over them , their children sleeping contently behind a door only a few steps away and the knowledge that the strength of their body was the only thing protecting them from drowning in the hands of the state. “Come on you aint got time for a cig I need this job finished today” his pal grumbled. Him eyes were heavy and worn his mind fatigued his body run down , like most of the boys. “Al…right” Jack moaned. Rumination was a fault Jack despised of himself. The inability to just accept and get on was a weakness he’d been torchered by all his days and bitter envy grew in him , of those who could escape the grasp of it.

Dead Souls Ian Rankin Review

 

Ian Rankin Dead Souls is admittedly the first book I’ve read this year. Yes, I know that’s quite bad but this book was a bit of a slog to get through. Ian Rankins great prose allowed me enough stamina to finish it cover to cover though which I’m quite proud of. However, in all honesty, the plot of this book I found just slightly confusing. Usually if a writer’s style is disengaging It’ll put me off a book, but Ian Rankins Prose is so engaging and humorous he could literally write about drying paint and I would still read it. Dead Souls is the tenth Inspector Rebus Novel the follow up book after his most popular break through sensation Black and Blue. I think throughout reading this book I was perhaps guilty of comparing it to Black and Blue and it may have affected my enjoyment of it. As the annoying thing about great writers like Ian Rankin who write huge series is you always end up comparing their work to other work they have produced and sometimes not everything is as strong, yet individually it is compared to other writers.

The book centres around the theme of paedophilia which is a sensitive issue in itself and hard to enjoy reading about although I respect Ian Rankin as a writer for not shying away from these topics. The book starts off in the setting of a Zoo when Rebus spies Darren rough an old convicted paedophile he recognises. He then pursues Rough and it gets taken to court. In court Rebus is shown up as Rough has served his sentence and is no longer guilty so inspector rebus had no reason to chase him. Flaws like this prop up throughout the book as Rebus is worn down after a recent accident involving his daughter that left her paralysed. This makes him appear more vulnerable in this book. The book also involves the theme of Suicide and starts on an unsteady foot after the suicide of Jim Margolies a colleague of Inspector Rebuses In the police force. His suicide is out of the blue so the question runs throughout the book of wither it was suicide or murder. Darren Rough was also one of the last people to see Jim Stevens alive so we are very suspicious of Rough. Rough Is one of the main characters in the book. He has been brought into the local area Rebus Works in, in Edinburgh because of a case involving his own abuse that he went through as a child in care. This makes the reader have mixed feelings towards him and its interesting how Rankin always creates such controversial characters that are never easy for the reader to have black and white good/bad feelings towards. In turn making his characters appear more human and their actions have more shades of grey and be more realistic raising the question in the mind of the reader of can horrific crimes ever be justified? Darren rough is housed in a council flat near a kid’s playground and Rebus leaks this information to the press. Another slip we witness from Rebus. Residents in his housing block find out about Roughs identify and become angered. Knowing their fears over Darren Rough will be ignored by the authorities they take matters into their own hands and witch hunt Rough smashing his windows and smearing shit on his door and harbouring the desire to kill him. This again makes the reader have slight controversial sympathy towards Rough. Rebus then has to make up for his actions and allows Rough to stay in the safety of his flat. However not long after this Rough goes missing and is later found Murdered (Spoiler Alert!!)

Quite a few murders and suspicious Deaths Happen Throughout the book.

  • Jim Margolies
  • Darren Rough
  • An old case of a girl (A niece of Alan Archibald)

Alan Archibald is another character who comes into the book, and is investigating the murder of his niece and suspects Carry Oaks of being the murder. Carry oaks is the main antagonist of the book and the one suspected of murdering Rough and Alan Archibald’s niece. (Note: A lot of the main dramatic scenes involving these characters happen in the last part of the book and we find out what happened to everyone so it really is worth holding on even if the middle of the book did dip a little.)

Another Dramatic part of the book happens when Rebus Is away in cardenden visiting an old girlfriend from school Janice. (Throughout the book, we get a few scenes of nostalgia over Rebuses old life this could perhaps be with him getting older) When he returns his house has been broken into and white paint written on his walls saying “his girl cop murdered oaks” this is unsettling as Rebuses partner patience was in the house at the time.

At the end of the book Oak ends up murdering Alan Archibald because he is investigating him. This is a foreseen tragedy as Rebus was there at the time as they had walked up to the hills where Alan Archibald’s niece was murdered believing oaks was going to give them information but instead leads the into a trap. This is another flaw of Rebus as usually he would have prevented this, but it makes him seem like a flesh and blood human who makes mistakes. In the last two chapters of the book, the story is resolved.  There is another battle of between oaks and Rebus and oaks gets caught in the end although he gets very close to murdering Rebus. We also find out the Suicide of Jim Margolise had to do with incest as his father had caused the suicide of his sister as a child due to abusing her, and his father had also abused Rough. Jim Margolis was so terrified of having the desire to abuse his own daughter that he killed himself. Oaks also was one of the ones who abused rough and is the one who murders him as he becomes scared that he is going to say something as they are investigating his childhood abuse. Over all it’s quite a good book and I think I grasped most of it if I didn’t I think that may be because I’m a weak reader and not because of the writer himself. I would suggest giving it a go though and definitely Highly recommend Ian Rankins books. (Although it wasn’t as good as Black and Blue in my opinion but still very good)

Favourite Quotes:

“Men liked to have their little secrets and tell their little lies. They liked to have a sense of illicit.”

“It was all shit Jim, remember that till the day you die”

“That’s how it is these days Rebus no one gives a shit”

 

 

Knots And Crosses – Inspector Rebus Series (Review)

Knots and Crosses Is the first book in the Inspector Rebus Series by Ian Rankin. The book is mainly used as an introduction to the main character Inspector Rebus whom we follow throughout the series. The Series are popular for Ian’s masterful depiction of reality. He manages to successfully dig beneath the surface of Scotland’s facades and create a gritty picture of Scotland’s underclass and reveal its flaws.

The stories are told through Rebuses eyes. As a detective, he has access to some of the most chilling crimes and settings and we see some of the harsh truths of Scotland from his perspective. The personality of his character is important. He is not a character that a reader can easily fall in love with he can be grumpy, callous and perhaps even stoic at some points. He suffers from person flaws such as being a divorcee maintaining a weak relationship with his daughter and suffering from alcohol abuse. Despite this we trust as the characters flaws make him appear more human.

The plot of the book centres around young girls going missing and getting murdered in Edinburgh. The reader is given an insight into Inspector Rebuses past before his life in the police force when he is put under hypnosis by his brother Michael. We discover that Inspector Rebus used to be in the SAS and was captured as a prisoner of war and tortured by being placed in solitary confident. After escaping he suffered a breakdown and left to join the police force. We discover that this has a relation to the kidnappings and the main antagonist in the book was also in solitary confinement with Rebus in the SAS. The book climaxes at the end when Inspector Rebuses own daughter Sammy is kidnapped. The kidnapper is framing as an innocent role of librarian and this is how he is gaining access to the young girl’s identity’s.

Overall the book is an exciting short introduction to the series and the adventures of Inspector Rebus which are yet to come……

Narnia The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe : C.S Lewis

The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe is probably a familiar title to most. However I neglected to read this popular childhood Classic when I was young . Yet when I spied a book containing a collection of the entire Narnia series by C.S Lewis for 99p In a charity shop I had a moment of childish excitement and had to get it. I knew from experience that the Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe was one of my favourite films as a child so I had high hopes for the story. And it did not fail me. I loved the plot line and the characterisation (Mr tummus being my favourite character) and although I’ve never been a massive fan of fantasy, I was not let down by this story. Someone recommended C.S Lewis to me a while back (A person at my church possibly because C.S Lewis’s stories or adult books are quite heavily Christian) However what I have read so far of his children’s writing this has not been the case and I wouldn’t let it put you off because his writing style is lovely.

I think the main thing I loved about this classic tale was the narrative. His style was really warm and Whitty, and made you become very engaged and fond of the story as it went along and the characters. There were quite a few sections where you could sense the writer himself coming through the narrative as he had added his own real life wisdom to the fiction story which I loved (as I’m not one for shallow writing even if the plot is great)

The main theme or moral of the story that I took from it was honesty. There is a lot of character development surrounding this theme. For example, at the beginning of the book after Lucy first finds Narnia, her older brothers and sister do not believe her tale. They think she is lying, or has gone mad as it is not a logical story. They take it to the professor (who they are staying with in his country mansion after being evacuated from the London blitz, this house is also where they find the wardrobe and entrance into Narnia)  They expect the Professor to support that it is a lie as the truth seems impossible or stupid. But he only tells them that if they know a person to have been honest in the past they must assume they are telling the truth if they have no other evidence to support otherwise. The reader is taught subtle lessons like this throughout the story. Another example in the story surrounding the theme of honesty is an action that is taken by one of the main characters in complete Juxtaposition with it. Edward the youngest brother of the four siblings goes into Narnia on his own after Lucy has been the first time, however encounters the main antagonist of the story The White Witch. She feeds him enchanted Turkish delight and tells him to come to her castle if he wants more, but only with his other brother and sisters. Edward is then set to achieve this goal at any cost and deceives his brothers and sister’s numerous times, but this then leads to devastating consequences for him when he is imprisoned by the White Witch later on in the story. In relation to this another theme is forgiveness, after his brothers and sisters forgive him for deceiving them.

I wouldn’t like to give away to much of the story but overall this tale deffinetly deserves its place as a classic. It is an exciting , warm , impactful fantasy story that is perfect to cosy up with at bed time (even In adulthood) 🙂