From pandemic times.

Hello, following on from three reading tours to the Highlands and Islands in as many weeks with the Edinburgh Quartet, I finished last year by being the main event finale, as it were, at Mallaig’s Write Highland Hoolie. It was a real pleasure to have an hour’s chat with a truly delightful audience, tell a few stories and read to them. Festival director Polly Pullar was kind enough to say: ‘Ron’s talk in our main event was superbly entertaining and kept the audience enthralled, giggling long after it was over…. Not only is he a great storyteller, but he is versatile, humorous and engaging. We loved having him with us.’

At the start of 2020, I took part in the long-awaited reunion of the Lost Poets group with Liz Lochhead, Brian McCabe, Andrew Greig and myself, plus musician Jim Hutcheson at the NLS. It was standing room only and Horns & Wings & Stabiliser Things, the brand-new Lost Poets publication, sold out. It was a truly joyful occasion to share the stage with my very good friends.

Then came lockdown. First casualty was a reading tour in Switzerland, then the cancellation of my talk as part of Edinburgh University’s highly prestigious Open Lectures series. Other events, too, have been cancelled. So it goes. These are very difficult times and so far I have got off lightly. Shopping is stressful, walking near the Meadows and Arthur’s Seat can also be very stressful. I am filled with admiration for front-line staff everywhere: hospitals, surgeries, shops, the bus drivers, posties, binmen… I am so very grateful for all their dedication, commitment and patience. I wish I could feel the same for some of our politicians.

Lockdown means I have plenty of time to work! I am finishing a children’s adventure novel We Want a Future, where the kids take on a gang of eco-criminals. But things being as they are, who knows if it will ever be published…  however, I am really enjoying writing it! I have now begun writing what my wife believes might be a possible sequel to The Sound of My Voice. At this stage who knows?

Post-lockdown began with a reprise of our Horns & Wings… show at the Queens Hall. A great time was had by all, helped on by backstage free pizza and wine. A rider, I believe it’s called!

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