Notes from the Basement – 23 February 2021

  24 Feb '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn
NASA landed on Mars this week, and we have a related story of scientific perseverance on the books for later this year. MD Hugh Andrew gives us a glimpse of the Scottish invention that’s powering voyages to the stars.  

Onto another Bright Star: it’s 200 years to the day since John Keats died in Rome in February 1821. Liz Lochhead’s poem, How to be the Perfect Romantic Poet, outlines all the possible requirements for greatness, before boiling it down to just one.

Ben Thomson, author of Scottish Home Rule, wrote a piece for the Times on increasing devolved powers, arguing that pulling power to the centre is a sign of weakness rather than confidence. | [The Times] 

First, an apology: last week, we got all muddled between the various international titles of Jenny Lecoat’s fantastic WWII novel, Hedy’s War. Hedy, whose journey takes her from Vienna to Jersey, goes by the alias The Girl from the Channel Islands in the USA and The Viennese Girl in Australia. Nostra culpa.
And second: Congratulations! Jenny continues to climb the charts in the US. The Girl from the Channel Islands, is now a top-10 New York Times bestseller. | [NYT]
With all that in mind, we think you should have a taste of Jenny’s atmospheric writing. Voilà, here is an extract!  

Whether you are observing the Lenten fast or not, this week’s recipe comes from Jackie Jones’s The Scottish Vegan Cookbook. It’s a scrumptious and straightforward brunch dish, Easy Kale and Tomato Cashew Stir-Up. Buddies! 

Paisley Book Festival kicked off online last weekend, under the banner Radical New Futures. We have a trio of events in the line-up: 
On Friday 26th February, Patrick Laurie will be zooming in from his farm in the snow-topped Galloway hills to talk about Native in conversation with Kapka Kassabova and Malachy TallackThis is not to be missed.
If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on this special book, do so now – the paperback is out within the week. 
For kids aged 5-8 (but adults will love this too): Karine Polwart and Kate Leiper will be talking about their illustrated story, A Wee Bird Was Watchingat 10am on Saturday 27th
Alastair McIntosh, eloquent and inspiring campaigner, will be talking environment, activism and his latest book, Riders on the Storm: The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being, with Roxani Krystalli. That’s [on] Satuday Night, Live. 

Yours in perseverance,
Team Birlinn
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