A conversation, but moments ago, the typed rather than spoken word, brought something to mind. It was the Queen of Hearts, on the other end of the email, from her urban sprawl where the coos do not invade the garden, or not yet anyway. Apropos nothing much at all I mentioned that Dr Finlay was chuntering away in the background, as I enjoyed some quiet time with The Urchins safely abed, and The Rural in committee discussing things of importance to the wifies of the parish.
Dr Finlay, aye Janet that one. As it happens it was just the other day that the rest of the family took the final three seats, leaving yours truly to walk in the rain, aboard the charabanc known as the Pride of Tannochbrae. If I watch the good doctor long enough I’ll probably see that same bus whilst he’s out on his rounds. I had meant to make a few notes of our afternoon out, but hadn’t got round to it; forgotten it even.
There is a festival going on at the moment, a Little one. It is in one of my favourite towns, the one with the bookshop; yes that bookshop, which reminds me that Linda Cracknell, who I have mentioned a couple of times, is at said store today, with her new book, Call of the Undertow – a copy of which is already tucked away for a certain person’s festive stocking.
Anyway, Atkinson-Pryce Books are playing a significant role in the Biggar Little Festival, and opening the shop on a Sunday afternoon was one of the things that drew me south, with a birthday token looking to be exchanged for reading material. A transaction was, as it happens, completed and The Bedside Table groans further, with tales to be told another day.
There was a second-hand book fair too, at the Puppet Theatre. But it was dire, the book sale, not the theatre. But the disappointment was tempered with a guided tour of the theatre a few minutes later; it was raining outside. Urchin the Younger was with me, and he was keen to look around. Being somewhat underwhelmed at the prospect, but recognising that it was free, I put on my happy face.
Blown away, both of us. What a treat we had from Purves Puppets. The theatre itself is spectacular; a sort of Victorian-style traditional theatre, in miniature. It has boxes and pillars, statues – of Mr Punch and Mistress Judy – and lighting and curtains and all sorts; and there’s seating for a hundred or so, of all ages. There’s a superb mural painted by our host; a Russian take on Snow White. Quite magnificent.
Then the puppeteers got to work. Wow. Boy Urchin was entranced. And as a result the best wee school around is considering an alternative to the annual trip to the panto or cinema over the festive season. I hope they can make it happen, for it will be an experience for the children. There should just be enough time for what will be a lengthy journey either side of the show.
And there’s plenty more to see and do as the BLF rumbles on. From jazz to book readings, rogue Vikings saying sorry and of course a stonking single nougat on the ice cream trail. You’ve missed Andrew Greig by now, but there’s more to come. And you can take a ride on the Pride of Tannochbrae; or better still on the magnificent coach & four that plied the high street, from the bookshop to the hog roast, on that Sunday afternoon. And you can thank the Queen of Hearts for bringing it back to mind.