One of our most enjoyable trips during the holiday was our visit to the home of Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford. AbbotsfordThe Book God has often driven us past the sign giving directions to the house, and during every holiday in the Borders I have meant to visit but never quite made it. This year, though, I was determined, and very glad that we went. The house itself is lovely, and it was easy to imagine Sir Walter living there. It was one of the great loves of his life, and he died there looking out over the River Tweed; the house is well worth a visit, both to see the building and it’s lovely setting. We had an 20071013-abbotsford-05.jpgenjoyable chat with the one of the staff in the shop, where I got a hold of a couple of books, The Heart of Midlothian and Sir Walter’s Journal. It seems that apart from Ivanhoe and one or two others, no-one really reads Scott anymore, which I think is a shame. Mind you, I remember in my last year at school wanting to pursue my interest in Scott and being given a small pile of books with the warning not to start with Old Mortality, which of course being 16 I duly ignored and was completely put off, so that may explain things. A few days later we 20071013-sir-walter-scott-dryburgh.jpgdrove to Dryburgh Abbey where Scott is buried. I find the man fascinating, and although much of his work is now unfashionable, he was in a large part responsible for the invention (if you can call it that) of the historical novel. He was also responsible for a lot of the tartanry associated with Scotland, but I’m happy to forgive him for that. He is going to be one of my reading projects for 2008.

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