For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Wednesday, 13 May 2020

My monthly book club. Book review

Wednesday 13th May 2020 (Day 50 of Lockdown)
I have attended an informal book club group of six locally for many years - we normally meet by turn in our respective houses, but the C. has now prevented this. Rather than discuss a particular book we have all read we have now agreed to share our individual current readings by e mail so I give below my effort for our forthcoming "meeting" next Monday.

Sometimes I ask myself a question I don’t particularly want to know the answer to. I can’t explain why, except perhaps that disappointment may ensue if the answer is too mundane. So, when you read the rest of this I am not asking for a plethora of answers.

Recently on my blog* I wondered “ why are robins so tame?”

A friend and fellow blogger who has a fair knowledge of nature was unable to enlighten but suggested I might find the answer in The Robin a Biography by Stephen Moss.

When the book arrived it looked immediately appealing with an enticing dust-jacket and then the contents similarly so. That was after I opened it carefully and with respect - physically the book was so attractive it seemed a shame to bend it open and spoil its pristine state.

Stephen describes the robin month by month throughout a year from his own enthusiastic observation. He intersperses with just enough literary, academic and historical anecdote using deceptively simple language. The result provides sheer pleasurable reading - a welcome anodyne but informative experience in these troubled times.

A reviewer on the dust-jacket concludes "It's a story that tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the robin itself."

I no longer felt I needed an answer to my question but eventually Stephen does tackle it, but thankfully (for me) not very successfully.

I shall continue to enjoy not knowing.


The book was published not surprisingly by an off-shoot of Penguin in 2017.


  1. Sue is in a book club (I sometimes read and participate if the book is any good) and they have managed to conduct their meetingd quite successfully using Zoom.

    I have had the Robin book for some time, and by coincidence pulled it down from the shelf a couple of days ago to re-read. One quite soothing way of getting away from such things as the horrors of the Coniston MRT scenario in your previous posting.

  2. I've spent the afternoon working in the garden. My constant companion, or are there two, was my friendly robin.
    I chattered away to him/her and received lots of knowing nods in return.
    I don't feel the need to read the book. I think I know the answer.

  3. Looks like a beautiful book, perfect for a relative of ours who is a twitcher. Thanks for the reference to Josephine Tey (Round Britain Quiz ) I'm enjoying her writing. There seems to be a swathe of women writers in the style of Dorothy L Sayers who disappeared off the radar during the last century. Marjery Allingham is another I recently discovered. I think the Americans call it 'cozy crime', and it soothes my brain in these troubled times.
    (having a lot of trouble lately trying to comment on your posts, so trying without a pseudonym to see if that helps!)

  4. Ha ha! Pseudonym kept! I think Blogger just needed to cross-reference me to my email account. Hopefully it will work more easily in future.

  5. Phreerunner - It was you who recommended the book I think a week or so ago - thanks.


    BC - If there were two I think they would be male and female. If an intruder comes they are one of the few birds that will fight to the death.


    Kendsl grufties - Ah! I guess you are the mysterious 'Anonymous" I quizzed recently. I read both those authors back in the late Fiftes I only read Dorothy's crime stuff, Gaudy Night rings a bell. I think she wrote a lot more serious stuff as well including poetry - my mother was a fan. I also read Margery but the memory has dimmed. On the male side also was Edmund Crispin, and in a different genre Geoffrey Household (probably earlier.)

    If you do comment under "anonymous" perhaps you could tag "KG" at the end?

  6. No, I don't think I am your anonymous follower, when I have had problems posting it seems to have lost my data completely - however I stand to be corrected, if you're really curious and want to email me the comments from anonymous I could confirm whether they are mine or not!
    Thanks for Edmund Crispin, I've just managed to borrow him from our local library's BorrowBox service. Geoffrey Household I already know and like, but love of my life (and read at least once a year) is Erskine Childers' Riddle of the Sands. We also have a copy of the film with Jenny Agutter and co. In fact we might watch that tonight.

  7. Kendal grufties - Here is a copy of the last occurrence and my reply - it was from my recent post "VE Day."

    Anonymous said...
    My parents married in August 1941. My father went into the army until 1946. He died in 1965 aged 50 when I was 18. My mother said she would always regret the five years they never had together. He suffered from excema from when he came home and was in hospital a few times with it. Probably caused by the stress of combat.

    And from me:

    Anonymous - I presume you are the same unidentified "anonymous" that has commented before and I apologise if you are somebody I know, but your comments are welcome - thanks. If you do want to have asn identity I think you may have to follow the instructions and create a Google account unless you already have one

    9 MAY 2020 AT 09:28

  8. I definitely want to read that now Conrad! It will have to go on my very large 'to read' pile mind.

  9. I certainly wasn't 18 in 1965, so no, I am not 'Anonymous'.