Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Just as T S Eliot wrote The Waste Land in the now-desolate seaside resort of Margate (apart from the new Turner Gallery there, which may pull Margate up by its sandy bootstraps), so Dostoevsky wrote The Idiot in Vevey, a charming little town on Lake Geneva. Another resident of Vevey, where I went to school for two years 1958-60, was Charlie Chaplin, who moved there in 1953 in a huff because of the McCarthy hearings probing possible communist infiltration of US institutions such as the film industry. Maybe a latter-day colossus of world cinema or books will move to Moffat. I see from the Birlinn book list that someone has written, with Alexander McCall's full cooperation and approbation, a Ladies' Detective Agency cookbook. Perhaps a Miss Buncle/Mrs Abbott cookbook should be considered? Do spinsters eat differently from married women? Still on the subject of Moffat, this time qua spa: I read today that Thomas Jefferson, father of the United States of America, attributed a long and healthy life to immersing his feet in cold water every morning. This is called 'Kneipp walking' on the continent, and I can now exclusively reveal here that a Kneipp walk is planned for a park or similar location to enhance Moffat's already packed catalogue of attractions. The Japanese Ambassador has written to The Spectator magazine protesting at the use of 'Jap' for 'Japanese person'. Does this mean I may not ask for a jap cake in future at Little's? How about 'Brit' for 'British person'? These are deep waters, Watson.