Bruce embarks on a career as a wine dealer, knowing little about wine. Pat gets invited to a nudist party (“A nudist? In Edinburgh? Does he realise what parallel we're on?” p 188) Matthew's dad has a girlfriend and Matthew thinks she is after his dad's eleven million pounds. And poor Bertie, forced to wear pink dungarees, is sent to primary school when all he really wants to do is get on the train the Glasgow and play cards against a Glasgow gangster.
Another whimsical and affectionate set of stories from Edinburgh.
Some great lines:
- “September was not far off, and after that, as was well known to all but the most confused, was October - and darkness.” (p 1)
- “Scottish weather ... made one thing abundantly clear: you paid for what you enjoyed, and you usually paid quite promptly. ... That vista of mountains and sea lochs was all very well, but what was that coming up behind you? A cloud of midges.” (p 1)
- “How very few are the human bonds that lie between us and the state of being completely alone.” (p 7)
- “I think it's marvelous the boys have all those different things to choose from at the chemist’s these days. Hair things and shaving things, that is.” (p 29)
- “People often fundamentally misread American society and assume that decisions articulated by men are male decisions - a serious mistake.” (p 31)
- “The problem with missing socks was that the rational interpretation seemed quite inadequate” (p 84)
- “He liked Scotland exactly as it was: unfussy, cold, and half-visible.” (p 116)
- “The problem ... is that the cost-cutters are in control ... They are the ones who are insisting that everything be cheap and built to the nearest specifications.” (p 185)
- “I've never understood the objection to hypocrisy ... There must be some circumstances in which it permissible to be hypocritical.” (p 284)
- “Like every author, he knew that he had to guard jealously the spare hours in which he could write.” (p 289)
September 2017; 342 pages