Friday, January 21, 2011


My current preoccupation with Letters from the Past means I have less time - and fewer thoughts - to post on this blog, but after a flurry of suggestions from Ewan about how I could enrich its content I found myself examining my attitude to what I'm doing there.

For widening my remit, so to speak, sent me hunting for such things as photos, references to the RAF base from which the letters were written, links to other sites. I became aware of the huge numbers of photos and memories now preserved online, and I was seized by the need to tie my contribution to a larger picture. But in a sense, the letters I'm reproducing have something more relevant to my own field of interest, something that makes them stand alone. The writing in them is wonderfully clear, succinct and evocative of my father's voice - the last of which is, of course, of more personal interest. Today's entry , for example, describes the weather as being "stringently cold". I've never come across that particular use of "stringent", and it's perfect.

These were, of course, the letters of one highly-educated scholar of English to another. I can only imagine the pleasure his references gave when the letters arrived in war-grim Glasgow. And it is this kind of feature that brings me to realise that the real interest, for me, lies in the letters themselves.

There is a whole box of them.

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