Saturday, 23 April 2011


Welcome, soft rain was falling at 1am this morning (Sat April 23). I know that, because I was awoken by 'prommers' returning home, which they continued to do in dribs and drabs until well after 4am. I sent an email to our local policeman at 2.22am and again at 4.16am suggesting wearily that the next time a 'prom' is held, some arrangement is made to ensure that the young revellers reach home without a bucket of water being tipped over them by an enraged householder. Happy Birthday, Shakespeare, by the way. I spent the wakeful hours pondering the budget for the October 15 Moffat Book Event - a new working title for which is Scotland's Family Tree which some may be surprised to see includes, controversially, Merlin (featured above , left in an illustration by Kevin Twedell for Count Nikolai Tolstoy's The Coming of The King – The First Book of Merlin published by Bantam in hardback ISBN 0593 013123 Price £12.95.In his earlier The Quest for Merlin, Tolstoy argues that Merlin was a historical shaman/druid adviser to the warlord we know as Arthur, and ended his days living in the hills above Moffat. Another real life magician (with words), Borders historian Alistair Moffat will also be talking about the DNA found in people living in Scotland today. I choose the order of my words carefully. It turns out, unsurprisingly that the DNA of Scotland's present occupants has more in common with the rest of Britain's natives than difference. Tolstoy considers that we here in Moffat live in territory known in Merlin's time as Rheged, so I am resolved to go to the visitor centre of that name just south of Carlisle to bone up on the subject before he comes up in Oct.

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