I couldn’t leave Pitlochry without visiting the bookshops there. In fact, I doubt if I’ve ever been on holiday without buying a book!
My first stop was the Station Bookshop – opening off the main platform at the railway station. This was a lovely little warren of a shop with a huge mixture of titles. It is a charity bookshop so the books are donated but it had a great range and I found several books I wanted to buy – including a box set of PG Wodehouse which I would have loved but getting it home would have been tricky.
In the end, I picked two lovely, old editions of Walter Scott – The Abbot and Kenilworth. They were both inscribed to the same person, although they were given by different people. I thought them a perfect souvenir of my trip.
I also visited Priory Books. I had been hoping to find an easy history of the Jacobite rebellions but everything was either very detailed or too simple. In the end I spied something entirely different – Fiesta for Wild One, a book in the Kit Hunter series by Peter Grey which I love.
The tourist information office supplied me with a basic children’s history of Scotland which I found to have the perfect level of information for me. Then a few days later we made a brief stop in Aviemore and the Waterstones there had Jacobite Stories by Dane Love which was even better. I read it all the way home!
I have carried Waverley around Scotland with me on two previous occassions without reading a word of it. I had the best of intentions but somehow I always wanted to read a different book which would be easier – who wants to work on holiday?
This time though, I was determined. Scotland was clearly the place to read it so read it I would. I made sure I wasn’t partway through any other books and started Waverley on the very first train. Within a few pages I knew that it was not going to be hard work after all.
Of course, I had to read it by the Scott Monument!
The only other Scott book I had read was Ivanhoe many years ago. I remember enjoying it but not much else and I had got it into my head that he would be difficult and rather slow reading. Instead, I was swept along by the story and I absolutely loved it.
I also found that it was genuinely funny. Who can resist a line like this in the last chapter?
This should have been a prefatory chapter, but for two reasons: First, that most novel-readers, as my own conscience reminds me, are apt to be guilty of the sin of omission respecting that same matter of prefaces.
I so rarely read prefaces!
I am sorry I never read the book before but very glad I finally took the time to do so. Reading it in Perthshire was especially wonderful – a good deal of the book is set there so I could really picture it coming to life. It was perfect!