Sunday, June 17, 2018


When I purchased the Mull of Kintyre cheese at the local grocery store, I was unaware that I was delving into popular culture.  I thought it was just a cheese from Scotland.  When I discovered Paul McCartney wrote a song with that name and he lived on the Mull of Kintyre, I decided Campbeltown Scotch whisky would be a good choice for last night's murder mystery/scotch tasting evening. Campbeltown has a unique geography which provides very interesting malt whiskys.  We sampled the 10, 12 & 15 year old Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow and Kilkerran single malts.  Kilkerran was one of the twelve apostles of Ireland who studied under St. Finian making this whisky even more interesting.  Here is a link to a recording of Paul McCartney's song with some impressive imagery of Kintyre.;_ylt=AwrDQ2oEeSZbSVgA4Y40nIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBzdmtvYW9lBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMjA-?p=mull+of+kintyre&vid=794af4058d881f996c09996bc17ae9dd&

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lammermuir Hills

One of Sir Walter Scott's finer novels and still popular thanks to the operatic repertoire that repeatedly performs Lucia di Lammermoor.  Scott was very ill while writing this book and almost destroyed it when finished.  Happily he changed his mind  A must read for a Scott fan.
Lammermuir Hills is also the title of a Scottish Country dance.  Unfortunately most Scottish Country dancers ignore the inspiration for the titles..  This dance was created by one of the more talented choreographers.  Scottish dancers miss a great deal by passing through the countryside and history of Lammermuir without enjoying the scenery.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Heart of Mid-Lothian

It has been almost 200 years since Scott published this highly readable novel based on a true story about a young lady who walked from Edinburgh to London to save her sister's life.  As usual many musical plays were produced including an 1819 production featuring music by Henry Rowley Bishop.  Operatic creations included Jeanie deans by Hamish MacCunn which was broadcast on BBC in 1968. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Guy Mannering

Now reading Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering for the third time and am focusing on musical plays that immediately followed its publication..  I find it amusing that Daniel Terry's version flooded the stages with hundreds of songs not from Scott.  Henry Bishop's overture was highly popular and the production frequently concluded with an audience participation song There's nae luck about the house.  In spite of the marvelous characters Meg Merrilies and Dandie Dinmont, no film has been produced and I can only find one BBC radio drama. 

Islay whisky

Our murder mystery/scotch tasting centered on Islay single malts.  The murder mystery game was a delightful Murder at the Distillery.  This game required ten participants and was great fun.  The peaty, smokey, phenolic whisky samplings were:  Ardbeg Uigeadail, Ardbeg 10 year old, Lagavulin, Laphroaig 15 year old, Laphroaig quarter cask, and Bowmore.  Everyone's taste buds are still recuperating but we all agree that Port Ellen needs to continue its maltings to support these exciting distilleries.  I do recommend that when choosing an aged Laphroaig, go for the 18 year old. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Haunted ballads

I have read the first of the haunted ballad series by Deborah Grabien and am looking forward to the remainder.  The ballad comes to life in this contemporary setting but I am disappointed that the series has been discontinued.  There are many more ballads available for inspiration.  My wife gave me an autographed copy of the first book so the book wraith has one more treasure to claim as its own.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bonnie Dundee
One of Scott's songs the bookwraith would like to claim as its own but it is too popular.  Listen to the podcast for the background of Scott's creation.