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Introducing Glasgow's Grand Central Hotel spectacular light show - you can watch it here ✨ youtu.be/DPCN5qsoNYk via @YouTube 1 week ago

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Welcome to our latest news

Glasgow's Grand Central Hotel Light Show begins tonight at 9.10pm to celebrate its reopening and becoming a voco hotel after multimillion pound rebrand

voco Grand Central Hotel projects a bright future

Historic images will be projected onto Glasgow’s iconic voco Grand Central Hotel in a stunning light show ahead of hospitality reopening

CITY CENTRE LIGHT SHOW

The light show will run for seven nights from Friday 23 April 2021 from 9.10pm, illuminating the hotel’s clock tower on Hope Street. With spectacular archive imagery documenting the vibrant history of the hotel; from the building of the station in 1870s, through the golden age of travel when Hollywood stars including Gene Kelly, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra stayed as guests, right up to the present day and celebrating the future as a voco hotel.

Following a call out for contributions, memories and pictures have been contributed by many Glaswegians, guests and former staff members. These have been captured in the projection alongside the words of Glaswegian playwright Laurie Motherwell in audio poetry which celebrates Grand Central’s cherished place at the beating heart of Glasgow for almost 140 years

GLASGOW'S MOST LOVED HOTEL BECOMES A VOCO HOTEL

The show marks the reopening of ‘Glasgow’s most loved hotel’ on April 26 following a multi-million refurbishment to become one of Scotland’s first voco branded hotels, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, after more than a year of closure owing to Covid-19.

Paul Bray, Area Manager for IHG Hotels & Resorts UK North and General Manager of voco Grand Central Hotel said:

Thank you to the Herald and Glasgow Times, the Caledonian Railway Association and RCAHMS, who gave us access to their brilliant archive for the projection which honours the heritage of our building as a British Railway Hotel and a landmark in Glasgow’s story for the past 130 years. We’d also really like to thank Jill Scott and Bill Hicks, historians and writers of Grand Central, Glasgow’s Most Loved Hotel published by Waverley Books, whose research has been invaluable to us and we are grateful to have them as advocates for our unique story.”

Kate Pierce née Powell was a staff member at the hotel during the 1970s, starting as a bookkeeper in 1971 and later becoming Head Cashier. She responded to the hotel’s call for photos, submitting images and memories which have been included in the projection.

CELEBRATED MEMORIES

“At the time being British Transport Hotel trained carried great prestige, it was a privileged position and I have wonderful memories of my time living and working in the hotel, including the many interesting and famous guests. It’s lovely to have our memories featured in this special projection. We’re glad to see the hotel and its stories being preserved for generations to come by the voco brand and I look forward to visiting.”

 

The light show will run from Saturday April 24 – Thursday April 29. voco Grand Central Hotel requests visitors to the projection and passers-by respect social distancing throughout. Jill and Des go on BBC Scotland to discuss the launch of the book on the Grand Central Hotel

BACKGROUND HISTORY OF THE GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL:

From its opening in 1883 as a British Railway Hotel, The Central Hotel as it was known for many years has long been a place where people would come together to spend special times. Connecting the second city of the empire to London, the evolution of the railway and its hotel offered increasing numbers of Victorians who could afford it the opportunity to take holidays in Glasgow, perhaps on their way to the Highlands and Trossachs. Leisure time was more freely available than it had ever been and many new pastimes evolved, including the enjoyment of tearooms, for which the palatial interiors of the hotel suited greatly.

JOHN F KENNEDY and the ATHENIA

The hotel was at the heart of innovation and global history including the first ever long distance television broadcast by John Logie Baird, from London to a room on the Hotel’s fourth floor. It was also where a young John F Kennedy met the survivors of the Clyde Built liner The Athenia, sunk by a U-boat in 1939 with many Americans on board. It was his first visit to the UK, having been sent by his father the US ambassador to support the survivors.

GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD AND GOLDEN AGE OF A GREAT BRITISH RAILWAY HOTEL

In the hotel’s golden age many of Hollywood greatest stars walked through its doors on the corner of Hope Street and Gordon Street, including Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis Junior, JFK, Vivien Leigh and Frank Sinatra. Since then it has continued to occupy a place at the heart of many Glaswegians who chose to celebrate weddings, Christmas and birthdays there; home to the city’s awards ceremonies and charity events, it’s greatly revered as Glasgow’s most loved hotel.

ABOUT VOCO® GRAND CENTRAL, GLASGOW - 230 BEDROOMS

The recently refurbished voco Grand Central Hotel opened in March 2021 following a multi-million rebrand to become one of Scotland’s first voco™ hotels, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts.

The expansive refurbishment updated 230 bedrooms, meeting rooms and reception areas enhancing the historic charm and existing grandeur of the Grand Central Hotel with bold branding. A contemporary fresh palette of blues and voco signature yellow compliments the original Victorian architecture throughout the 19thcentury great British railway hotel, preserving memories of the hotel’s golden age, the stories of which are much loved by visitors to the hotel and Glaswegians alike. Guests can enjoy a new gallery wall featuring artworks which remembers many of its celebrity guests including John F Kennedy, John Lennon and Frank Sinatra.

CHAMPAGNE CENTRAL Aye Write event 2012 with The Grand Central Hotel

The hotel bar Champagne Central, overlooks Central Station and evokes the golden age of travel. Serving champagne, cocktails, afternoon tea and a new tapas menu celebrating the best of Scottish produce, guests can enjoy an afternoon or evening surrounded in glamour.

ABOUT VOCO™ HOTELS

voco™ Hotels combines the reassurance of a big brand with the informality and charm of an individual hotel, providing guests with a dependably upscale experience. The name, voco™, means ‘to invite’ and ‘call together'. For more information and to book, visit www.vocohotels.com, and stay connected with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/vocohotels, and Instagram www.instagram.com/vocohotels.  

Waverley Scotland’s Grand Tour – Part One: Holyrood and the Palace

Waverley Scotland’s Grand Tour – Part One: Holyrood and the Palace



View from Arthur's Seat over Edinburgh

We would like to begin a series of history and place to promote our notebooks and our books. This first blog is about our tour that starts in Edinburgh – at Holyrood and the story behind the Holyrood tartan.

Today Holyrood is an area in Edinburgh, to the east of the city at the foot of the Royal Mile. It is at the edge of an open space called Holyrood Park, and has the dramatic volcanic rock Arthur’s Seat dominating the skyline.

With a palace, an abbey, a parliament and a park, it is easy to spend a full day exploring Holyrood. This quarter contains a diverse range of architecture, and it is an open space where you can climb the dormant volcano to enjoy 360-degree views of Edinburgh.

Holyrood Palace, Holyrood Abbey, Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, as well as the Scottish Parliament building sit here. The view from the top of Arthur’s Seat also gives a sense of how the land once looked when the only building for miles was the Abbey.

Holyrood Abbey, Caledonia (i.e. Scotland)

When Holyrood Abbey was established in 1128 ‘Edinburgh’ did not exist. In fact, Edinburgh only became established in the middle of the 15th century. Today Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. Before that, the royal family was more itinerant and had a palace at Stirling and Perth. Scone was the capital of Scotland and for centuries the only local landmark in the area was Holyrood Abbey.

The name behind Holyrood

The naming of ‘Holyrood’ is shrouded in myth and its origins are told in many forms of a story around it making it a blend of mystery and legend. Here goes:

At Holyrood King David I of Scotland founded his abbey.

King David I is reputed to be one of Scotland’s best kings. He was known as an excellent organiser and used Norman principles to guide his rule. He was deeply religious and founded many abbeys and churches, Holyrood being one of them.

One story is that King David was out hunting, in what is now called Holyrood Park. He startled a stag, and as he was attacked by the horns of the animal, a holy cross appeared and he used it to defend himself from the animal. King David 1 called the cross a ‘Haly Rude’ i.e. Holy Rood – or ‘Holy Cross’. The stag ran off, or retreated and disappeared. King David built an abbey to mark the religious experience. He called the Abbey ‘Holy Rood’ to mark the message from God. While there is no evidence that the story is true, we do know that more monastic buildings were added around 1195. The buildings included cloisters, a chapter house, guest houses and a refectory.

The enlarged abbey prospered, and from an early date contained royal chambers for use by the sovereign.

It was during the 1400s that the Abbey guesthouse was changed into a royal residence. After 1560 The Palace of Holyroodhouse was expanded during the Scottish Reformation. Part of the 360 degree view from Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat

Holyrood Palace - 14 state apartments

Today the Palace of Holyrood is run by the Royal Collection Trust. There are 14 state apartments that are open to the public (when the Palace is open to the public). Queen Elizabeth II uses Holyrood Palace for her stays in Edinburgh. Royalty has used Holyrood Palace for over 500 years. In current times, when not occupied by the Royal family, or locked down in the pandemic, you can visit The State Apartments of the Palace itself, and see displays of stories of its most famous residents from the past and the present. Possibly one of the most exciting periods and stories is that of Mary Queen of Scots at Holyrood. See below <Mary Queen of Scots at Holyrood Palace>

Margaret Tudor - sister of Henry VIII and James IV

Another notable story is that of Margaret Tudor, who was Henry VIII’s sister. “Meg” is often overlooked by historians. At 13 years old Margaret Tudor travelled to Scotland to marry James IV. By then, James IV had seven illegitimate children. Margaret’s father Henry VII was determined to rule over a harmonious relationship between Scotland and England. Margaret was not happy with her three-week journey north. However she received a warm welcome. Wearing stunning dresses and jewels on her early appearances when she arrived in Scotland, Margaret was met with a welcome in Scotland. The ever-charming James IV was kind to Margaret Tudor. Despite his womanizing nature and keeping the relationship with his mistress with whom he had three children, James IV was consistent in his treatment to Margaret. She gave birth in 1512 to James V. Later, Margaret would become great grandmother to James VI and I, who in 1603 united the crowns of Scotland and England.

The Reformation

However, in the Reformation, Margaret’s tomb was desecrated and her skeleton was burned. She has no monument, like her first husband James IV. This period, of course, was the beginning of the Reformation, which began in Germany in 1517 with Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses. While Luther wished to reform, rather than split the church, his Theses led to the Reformation that swept through Europe. In England it built on unhappiness that had been building since the 14th century.

The Reformation swept through Europe and affected England in a slightly different way, partly because of the Henry VIII issue over the king’s unhappiness with his wife Catherine of Aragon.

In 1503 James IV converted the royal chambers into a palace. Nothing remains of the early Palace buildings. On the first floor there were royal lodgings and a chapel, and James added a tower on the south side. The Palace gardens were begun and a loch next to the Abbey was drained in 1507.

James V and new royal lodgings, and a new tower

In 1528 construction began in the north-west corner of the Palace, and a huge tower was built with round corners. The tower had a drawbridge and probably a moat. The tower provided security. Today the tower is the oldest part of the Palace that survives. The tower is now the Mary Queen of Scots’ Chambers. Additional reception rooms were added on the west side as well as a gateway built from two towers, parapets and large windows. More work was done to the south, and a new chapel was built. Holyrood Palace

Mary, Queen of Scots at Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace is perhaps most famously known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587). The Palace was used as a location for the 2019 Universal Pictures film ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’. Mary, Queen of Scots and daughter of King James V, lived at Holyrood Palace from 1561-1567. We have much detail about Mary because she wrote many letters.

The north-west tower is still reputed to show the blood of Rizzoli on the floor. The chambers here display items themed around Mary. We will do a feature on Mary in more detail in the future but here will mention the importance of her years at the Palace in Holyrood. Mary married her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (1545-67), in the chapel at the Palace in July 1565. They had not been married long when Darnley became jealous of Rizzio. Darnley murdered Mary’s private secretary David Rizzio (1533-66) in Mary’s private apartments in March 1566. Mary was dining with Rizzio and her assistant, when Darnley burst in. Apparently Rizzio died at Mary's feet. He was allegedly stabbed 57 times, with Darnley assisted by a small group of men. (NB in history, Rizzio is sometimes spelled 'Riccio'.) Mary took flight immediately. A few months later she gave birth to her son James at Edinburgh Castle. Today there is a small plaque marking the point of the murder in the Audience Chamber, and a red mark on the floor.

James VI

James VI was crowned in 1567. By now much improvement work was needed and the Holyrood Palace was repaired. The Palace gardens were enlarged. James VI of Scotland became James I of England, and he returned to Edinburgh in 1617.

Charles I

Charles I succeeded his father James I and his Scottish coronation took place in Holyrood Abbey in 1622. However, a fire broke out in the east side of the Palace in 1650 when Oliver Cromwell and his soldiers visited and much of the Palace became abandoned afterwards. The Palace that remained was used as a barracks. Waverley Holyrood tartan notebook and Arthur's Seat

Charles II

Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660. By 1671 Holyroodhouse had become a royal palace again. An eight-year period of restoration work began, overseen by King Charles II. The work was paid for by the Scottish Privy Council. Ceilings were redone in plaster, and the walls with detailed woodwork. The Great Gallery was hung with 111 portraits of the kings of Scotland – all of them painted by the Dutch artist Jacob Jacobsz de Wet II. The designer Sir William Bruce added a tower to the south-west of the Palace to balance that of the north-west, and he retained the existing plan of the Palace Edinburgh’s royal and government role was celebrated in the rebuilt Palace. By 1679 the Palace looked like it does today.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria visited in 1850 and the Palace was renovated for her visit. A new fountain was added and Prince Albert took interest in the changes to the Palace grounds. At this time they added a new garden.

George V 1910 and modernisation

Central heating was added in George V's reign, and the kitchens were modernised along with new bathrooms and a lift. With many more additions, the Palace became the official residence of the Queen in Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth II

Normally HRH The Queen stays in Edinburgh at the beginning of July. This week is called 'Holyrood Week' (or 'Royal Week' as it's known in Scotland), The Queen stays at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Meetings and visits take place.
Other notes:
Here, too, at the Palace of Holyrood, the famous John of Gaunt and King Charles X of France have, at different periods, found asylum. In the ruined Chapel adjoining, several of the Stewart kings were married, and Queen Mary gave her hand to the faithless Darnley. In its royal vault lie the bodies of Darnley himself, James II, and James V. The Chapel was twice wrecked by the mob—at the Reformation in 1560, and just before the Revolution in 1687. Here the Duke of York, afterwards James VII and II lived in 1679, while the fate of the Exclusion Bill hung in the balance. And here, on the eve of The Battle of Prestonpans, in September 1745, Prince Charles Edward led the revels in the halls of his ancestors.

Today, Holyrood is also the home of the modern Scottish Parliament Building.

The original Parliament of Scotland was the national law maker of the independent Kingdom of Scotland, from the early 13th century until 1707, when the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Parliament of Scotland was closed and a Parliament of Great Britain was created, at Westminster in London.

In 1997 the Scottish people voted for Scotland to have a Parliament once more. The Parliament was established by the Scotland Act 1998. The first meeting was on 12 May 1999.

Ten minutes' walk northwards from Holyrood brings us to the Burns Monument and the old High School, to the Calton Hill, with its Observatory, its Nelson Column, and its abortive National Monument in memory of Waterloo. The notorious Bothwell, it is said, first attracted Queen Mary's attention by launching his steed down the steep north face of the crag.

From here we are but a short step from Princes Street, the Royal Mile and the rest of Scotland.

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh with a Waverley Holyrood tartan notebook image courtesy of Shutterstock

CREDITS:

  • Royal Collection Trust
  • 'Kings and Queens of Scotland' Mackie (Geddes and Grosset)
  • 'Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots' by Linda Porter (Macmillan)
  • 'A History of Scotland' (Geddes & Grosset)
  • 'Scotland History of a Nation' by David Ross, Waverley Books
  • Images: Last image of Holyrood Palace - David Ionut, Shutterstock; all other images Liz Small

Sharing the Doughnut recipe (without yeast) from The Glasgow Cookery Book

21 days into January.

The diet is going so well.

The new year resolutions are bedded in and working.

That exercise plan is delivering all the promised results.

The daily walk in lockdown is energising and turning your life around.

The little cycle on the bike you promised yourself once a week is stretching muscles again.

The new sledge you bought is flexing in the slush and burning lots of calories as you drag it back up the incline.

It's nearly time for some Robert Burns in preparation for Monday.

(It's not just going to be a packet of Mackie's Haggis Crisps, is it? And a quick leaf through of Tam again. No, this time you will learn a new poem by heart and sing.)

Surely today must be special also? 21.01.2021...

The reward for all this hard work? All the new achievements are surely worth this reward?

Yes.

We are sharing a recipe from the wonderful 'Glasgow Cookery Book' today and this time it is - doughnuts. The quick way. No yeast. No worries about time. And no protests or concerns about "too many calories" as you are, after all, sharing them with the neighbours. Again. Remember? You are already smelling that sweet fresh doughnut aroma. You can already sense the hot sugary delightful taste. You are walking to the kitchen, measuring out the ingredients. You are creating a beautiful batch of fresh doughnuts. Heaven.

Thank you Glasgow Cookery Book, and all the gals who went before us to perfect this recipe.

Recipe copyright Glasgow Caledonian University

Recipe for Dropped Scones from The Glasgow Cookery Book

And what do we need on a cold (or hot, depending on where you are when you are reading this) January day?

Yes, yes, we know. That very long list in your head... and on it goes.

But as we are where we are, what about a little simple recipe from 'The Glasgow Cookery Book'? Only 8 ingredients for the real deal, that real excellent taste experience - mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm - or just four ingredients if you are rushing, can't get out, are STILL in your pyjamas, can't get going, and only have 10 mins. (And we've all been there...)

It's a fun quick recipe to try, and easy to make with children who can measure out things (between online lessons).

Sugar, eggs, milk, flour. Just four! So make that. Start where you are, start small. Build up, as our mums told us...

But then make it with all the ingredients to get the full long-established, tried and tested, experience.

Think of the syrup.. think about the difference a little salt makes? That rich glorious taste brought by the cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda... The professional touch. That zing on your tongue. The perfection to your day. The colour. The promise.

Maybe put them (the bicarb and the tartar, not M&S pancakes, although, why not as well...) on your next shopping list and make pancakes until you perfect them.

Surprise your neighbours with a gift. Post some to friends. You can plan it today. And you've got a month still before Shrove Tuesday.

A Scotch pancake. It's a poem. A masterpiece. A work of art. Transform your day, your energy level. Your life!

Flip your normal energy levels into a new you. Or maybe instead just flip the scones and eat them. Don't let Pancake Day crepe up on you this year. But enough of this waffle!

This small but perfectly formed dropped scone can be made from 'The Glasgow Cookery Book'.

Ahhhhh....

Thank you 'Glasgow Cookery Book', Glasgow Caledonian University, and all those women who went before us, giving us heaven on a plate. We owe you.

28. DROPPED SCONES or SCOTCH PANCAKES

Ingredients:

200 g Self-raising Flour ( or 200 g Flour, 1 level teaspoonful Bicarbonate of Soda, and 2 level teaspoonfuls Cream of Tartar)

25 g Sugar

1 level teaspoonful Salt

1 dessertspoonful Syrup

1 large Egg

250 ml Milk (approx.)

Time:

1–2 minutes each side

Method:

1. Sieve dry ingredients.

2. Add egg, syrup and sufficient milk to give a thick batter consistency.

3. Drop mixture in spoonfuls, onto a fairly hot griddle or non-stick frying pan.

4. Cook until lightly browned, turn, brown second side.

5. Cool in a tea towel.

Note: If iron girdle is used, grease beforehand.

Copyright: Glasgow Caledonian University

Gilda T Smith : I like to add a dessert spoonful of veg oil. It helps to lengthen the shelf life.

Carolyn Lynn : I put in 10g melted butter

Gilda T Smith added: I’m just lazy, Carolyn! Butter is best!

‘Waverley Scotland Tartan Commonplace Notebooks’ and ‘The Robert Burns Connection’. It’s a love affair… By Ron Grosset, founder of Waverley Books, and Geddes & Grosset

Love, notebooks, tartan and Burns - it's a love affair

'Social media' as such is not a new phenomenon. Notebooks or ‘commonplace books’ of centuries ago were like today’s Facebook and Instagram, Tik Tok, Tumblr and Pinterest. Commonplacing was and is about remembering, writing, reading and sharing.

21st century Twitter, blogs and our world of social media hark back to a tradition of sharing of personal thoughts and writing. A tradition that is hundreds of years old.

Cabernets and Merlots

Here at Waverley Books, we’ll have been journaling and sketchbooking between us for the last 30 years or so. It's more than that, but let's call it 30. Piles of notebooks are filled, and then filed – some neatly, others randomly, each of which record thoughts and plans and good intentions. Some notebooks are hastily scribbled. Other notebooks have more considered ramblings. Sketches, bits and pieces stapled or taped in place. Currency rates clipped from newspapers, and stuck in, are alongside notes about Cabernets and Merlots and big Italian wines with now crumbling dried-up Post-Its struggling to stay in place. The pencil notes are hard to decipher now; the softness of the marks on the page seem faded, but the record is there still.

Some notebooks are ruled. Some are blank, some squared. Their ribbons are frayed. Some have bindings that failed, held for life now with elastic bands. Business cards – and long-lost receipts, unclaimed or undeclared, are found in the pocket at the back. There are punchlines written – but they lack the joke. Phone numbers without names attached and sizes of things in centimetres – and prices, with drawings, and scorings-out, ticks and crosses of jobs done and not.

It only took us 25 years of running this publishing business (or so) to figure out that we should put something of our experience together as book publishers and journalers and create something special.

Commonplacing

The trigger behind Waverley Scotland’s notebooks was none other than Robert Burns. Robert Burns kept journals and notebooks and practiced, as it was in his time, ‘commonplacing’.

‘Commonplacing’– is what is called ‘journaling’ these days. Journaling is nothing new. 'Mindfulness' is perhaps a new word for what Burns did, wandering along the banks of the River Ayr and focusing on a poem that may become a masterpiece in a day or so (in 1790). It's a new word for living in the present and being present so you can notice the trees and water in such a way you are taken out of your current thought process and lifted clear. Using a notebook or journals to record that present moment is an established traditional method. Commonplacing for mental health? Commonplacing for filing? Commonplacing ideas.... Commonplacing for anxiety? Commonplacing for beginners. Commonplacing ideas.

We were working on a book: ‘Robert Burns in Edinburgh’. It was an interesting idea - just why were the years Burns spent in Edinburgh so vital to the development of his life as a poet and writer? It was not authored by Burns scholars or academics but put together by three Burns-curious Glaswegians. Checking roots and sources took us to Robert Burns’ ‘Commonplace Notebooks’ – which can be seen today at the Burns’ Museum in Alloway.

A new idea

Meanwhile, Waverley publisher Liz Small took a call at the Waverley office – in the early months of 2013 – from Deirdre Kinloch Anderson.

Scots everywhere know the name and company ‘Kinloch Anderson’. The company is over 150 years old, is based in Edinburgh and holds Royal warrants to supply Tartan and Highland Dress to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Kinloch Anderson wanted a corporate history published in an illustrated book – and we took the task on which became A Scottish Tradition. A follow up history recently followed in Tailored for Scotland (published in 2020).

Just as with Robert Burns in Edinburgh, the publishing responsibility required us to become immersed in tartan, its history, development and importance.

It's all in the binding

It was that experience that caused us to wonder why had no one produced journals, or notebooks bound in genuine British tartan cloth? A wee bit of Scottish heritage and culture in your pocket – as a journal, or notebook.

We soon found out why. Genuine tartan cloth is what it is. Cloth. It is woven and because it is cloth, it stretches – nigh on impossible to use for book or journal binding which by its very nature stresses the cloth in every direction.

McGonagall and Kolkata

Some years previously, we had published a book 'The Comic Legend Of William McGonagall'. We thought it would be a great idea to bind it in jute to make the connection between the world’s worst poet, McGonagall and Dundee, the home of jute. Spike Milligan was a big fan of McGonagall. As were we. But as we keep finding out, what seem to be great ideas at the time often bring great problems. However, we managed, and published the first book ever, bound in jute.

I read from this volume to a full house in a theatre at the Kolkata Bookfair in 2007 (organized by The British Council) – McGonagall’s The Tay Bridge Disaster and I was astonished that the Bengali audience joined in with every chorus:

"On the last Sabbath day of 1879,

Which will be remember’d for a very long time."

Turns out that McGonagall was taught in Bengali schools as ‘how not to write poetry’ by teachers trained in Scotland at Moray House, Edinburgh. I presented my copy to the Mayor of Kolkata, who I imagine still recites from it daily.

So now, we had two great poets to be inspired by: Burns and McGonagall. We were inspired. We then embarked upon a bit of R&D with some trusted partners and we created Waverley Scotland Tartan Cloth Notebooks, bound in genuine British tartan cloth, woven with the authority of Kinloch Anderson Scotland.

Auld Lang Syne and A Red, Red Rose

Launched early in 2016, Waverley Scotland now have journals / notebooks in 48 tartans in 80 plus versions, including some which celebrate Scottish songs with Burns connections. The songs include A Red, Red Rose, bound in genuine Burns Check, and Auld Lang Syne in the tartan of that name. The paper we use is FSC and the boards are made from recycled board.

The quality of these Waverley Commonplace Notebooks is inspiring journalers across the world, who are ‘commonplacing’.

The inspiring thing about a new journal or notebook is the sheer quality and beauty of the blank object. Rather like being given a new ‘jotter’ or notebook at school, it is the newness that initially inspires all sorts of things. Neatness (to begin perhaps), but the journaler is not writing homework – today’s journaler is doing one or more of many things.

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