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...to Andy Drummond's website. Full of things you probably never needed to know. But full of things nonetheless, which counts for something in these days of sharp practice and perpetual disappointment. Some news (conceivably old news) is set out below. Stuff about me and my books is available - above and right.
Read more here on Angels, Referendums (again and again), Golf-courses (inevitably), Cocks, Bulls and other Animals, Curious Languages and the price of Snuff and Pickled Herring.

Stay a while, if you can. Be cynical. Always ask questions. Always read stories.

Nothing else to do? Does it move? Then watch closely...





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Benyovszky Polish-style! (May/June 2022)

A film and a talk! Polish film-makers Katarzyna Trzaska and Marek Kucharski are engaged in producing a film reflecting on the life of Benyovszky and his legacy today. It is entitled "Being Benovsky", and although still at a relatively early stage of production, it is moving along nicely. Marek and his film-crew came over from Poland in early May, to conduct an interview with me in Edinburgh.
And on 12 June, the "Polish University Abroad" have organised a virtual symposium, to celebrate 200 years of Polish Romanticism, which - all unknown to himself - Benyovszky inspired (amongst other things, an epic poem on his contribution to the Polish wars, by Julius Słowacki, appeared in 1841). I have been asked to make a small contribution to the day's excitements, in the form of an online interview.

The Napier Report - a radical read (13 April 2022)

The good people at the History Workshop have kindly put online a piece I wrote on the Napier Commission of 1883. Lord Napier and his fellow Victorian gentlemen were relevant to my book about the Ullapool Railway, 'A Quite Impossible Proposal' . Rather surprisingly, given the composition of the Commission and the times they operated in, the true - and often radical - voices of the crofters and cottars were heard and published. Click here to read my article, and the many other good essays on history which are hosted there...
And on the very same day ... another of my essays on the Napier Report appeared in the Scottish Local History Forum journal (issue 112). This one is a statistical analysis of the Commission's sessions and reports, aiming to provide an insight into who said what, and why. It is only available in hard-copy - but, since you are keen, go and buy it!

A True Discourse (July 2021)

1669 - click here to view the full technicolour cover Another of those whimsical books is now available on Amazon. It is an adventure, or True Discourse, set in the year 1669 involving divers and aeronauts, mechanics, witches and charlatans, linguists, time-travellers and traitors Click here to see why you should even care...

Lockdown stories (more of) (January 2021)

Covid-19 lockdowns have come as a bit of a surprise to many. Queens and Berserkers, Frog and Toad, angels, Rabbit and Eeyore... See how they fail to cope properly - or how they exploit the situation. Click here to have a rummage about...
...and around 200 other stories for your amusement, free of charge.

A Railway to Aultbea, via Gairloch? Also impossible! (November 2020)

A Quite Impossible Proposal - click here to view the full technicolour cover The award-winning Gairloch Museum suggested to me, many months ago, that I should give a talk on the abridged history of the railway-line from Achnasheen to Aultbea. And, at last, some troubled months later (but perhaps now without Trump overseeing the end of the world?), here we are, on 10th November at 7:30pm. Visit the Gairloch Museum YouTube channel for the recording of the talk

A Quite Impossible online talk (October 2020)

The Ullapool Book Festival kindly offered me the chance of delivering one of those virtual talks. I thought about it long and hard, and then decided to embrace the 21st Century in all its virtuality. It was a tough decision, though. However, the results are to be made available to the waiting nation, as of 8pm on Thursday 29th October. It goes out on Youtube here - https://youtu.be/A1jDKQbG8jg - and can be viewed in the coming days, at your leisure. Suit yourself.

A Quite Impossible Proposal? (September 2020)

After a little delay caused by some pandemic or other, that book about unbuilt railways finally emerges from the engine-shed (to mix my metaphors). It is called "A Quite Impossible Proposal" in honour of the several Scottish Office civil servants of the 1890s who refused to contemplate the building of these railways.

The book is full of all manner of good things, including social and economic history, riots and rebellions, railways, the price of fish, Highland Railway skulduggery and governmental drivel. Click here to read more...

An Impossible Journey ! (May 2020)

Should it all be getting too much for you, why not try a gentle - if virtual - railway trip to the north-west coast of Scotland? Or even a railway journey on Skye or Lewis? Anything is possible under this Quite Impossible scheme. Click here to view the timetables, the nostalgic fares, the tickets you can purchase, the freight you can send. Glory in the Gaelic place-names. Buy yourself a summer travel-pass to use under the sunshine and Atlantic breezes (yes, we can only dream).
Do not just take my word for the essential wonderfulness of this virtual railway - see a review in The Scotsman newspaper from early May.... You might also want to consider this contribution from from Glasgow`s Sunday Herald...

Cave Beck - his Universal Character (August 2020)

Those of you keeping a close eye on the legacy of 16th century linguists - and I know you are legion - will be pleased to learn that there is now a newly transcribed and foreword-ed edition of Cave Beck's 1657 Universal Character available to purchase. The transcriber and foreworder is, of course, myself. Read more about this book by clicking here
Cave Beck's descendants get no money from this publication: but, although it is the fruit of many evenings of hard work, I stand to make almost no profit from it either. So you can snap it up with an easy conscience. Go here to view the book on Amazon. Two clicks and it's yours....

The King of Madagascar? (February 2020)

Maurice Benyovszky - the cover - click to view full-size The good people of the British Czech and Slovak Association in London are holding an event on the 26th February 2020, to take a look at Moric Benyovszky. To that end, they have invited me to give a talk on the man. The event is open to all comers, and will be held in the rather grand Slovak Embassy in the heart of Kensington.
Full details are available on the BCSA's website, which you can reach by clicking on Count Benyovszky's portrait here on the right.

What a stushie in Edinburgh ... (July 2019)

Elephantina An archivist working for Edinburgh City Council has uncovered a letter from 1705, in which a baker living in the Old Town complains to the City Fathers about an elephant which is being lodged in a room above his bakery. Unsurprisingly, dung and urine come into the tale... It doesn't sound very pleasant. And, of course, this was our Dundee Elephant shortly before she left for Dundee. To read more, click here, then reflect on Trading Standards...
Also here...(The Herald newspaper) and here...(The Scottish Sun newspaper)