Scottish Poetry Library stall, packed with free postcards and more!
Where have I been all day? I went to the Poetry Cafe for Breakfast - another wonderful StAnza first for me - to hear Hugh McMillan, Anna Robinson, Anna Woodford and Kevin Young, very warmly chaired by StAnza's Ian Blyth, discuss poetry and history, the slave trade, the Holocaust, the Tudors and Braveheart.
Excellent SPL and Forest Cafe volunteer Aiko sells Forest and Anon Poetry Magazine wares
I tripped down memory lane by visiting St John's Undercroft, where StAnza started for me as a student venue volunteer, many moons ago. And I spent a goodly half hour wandering and havering my way round the Poets' Market, where I bought a badge, and some postcards, and a Gaelic Books Council linen bag, which I, already a bit of a linen bag-lady, needed like a hole in the head but who can resist a lovely bag bearing in green the legend Leuch Leabhar! (Read Books!)? I ate a chicken and leek pie. I aided and abetted the purchase of a fabulous summer dress. I chatted with Kona Macphee and Rab Wilson and brilliant StAnza committee members Alan Gay and Claire Easingwood. I confess I did squeeze in the final moments of the Ireland England rugby game.
I fussed about not having something to be loud with for tonight's slam (10pm, and moved to the Byre Auditorium!) - should I humbly ask to borrow Ciaran Carson's tin whistle, or buy a triangle? Turns out PA to Director Eleanor Livingstone Sasha had the circle squared with a comedy hooter all along.
But I demur. The real reason for my leave of absence was finding myself part of a special voyage featuring Bob Holman. I was hovering around the Byre foyer, when Bob hollered me over (and no-one hollas like Bob) to enquire about how he might get to the Tay Rail Bridge. For Bob is a die-hard fan of William Topaz McGonagall, writer of 'The Tay Bridge Disaster', has been reading his work in the Bowery for years, and was spiritually compelled to pay homage by the banks of the bridge. So with great haste we set off! The taxi man at the rank on South Street said 'It'll be £50 for there and back but am no waitin'. The bus was considered but decided against, since it didn't stop anywhere near the bridge, but merely passed it by. To my friend Jen and her wheels we turned, explained and she was quickly, irresistibly enlisted!
Bob Holman in a dwam by the banks of the Tay