Boswell Book Festival 2014


Boswell : My weekend with Kirsty, Jim, Uuganaa and of course Gordon,

‘At school they said I should be a hospital administrator. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I couldn’t administer a taxi to take you to the hospital.’ James Naughtie.

Hello Sausage,

I’m really sorry you couldn’t make Boswell, as you missed a peach of a weekend. It was delicious. It was a packed programme so I can only give you a taster. It started on Thursday evening with a short film on the man himself at UWS where we were introduced on screen to a Boswell aficionado, that renowned Yale scholar Dr Gordon Turnball.

On Saturday, on arrival at Auchinleak House, I went to scope out the new coach house cafe, which is impressive, and there bumped into a few of ‘my learned friends’ who were bubbling with their latest endeavours. One had just finished a trial where a man had broken into a bathroom to attack his girlfriend.

‘Lucky for her he didn’t have a gun.’ said R.

We silently nodded our heads and then the conversation raced to the vexing matter of how it was soooo expensive to eat out in in Switzerland and how absolutely impossible it was to score tickets with good seats for a Robbie Williams concert.

Then up the lane to the hear Kirsty Wark, who revealed herself to be a bright, sassy women as smart as a whip. She is a local woman who has climbed the height of the British journalistic establishment but has remained true to her roots and not allowed herself to be sucked in by the London-centric media village. The fact that the place was dotted with her old school chums speaks volumes. She is a great speaker and a great writer. DSCF1842

Jim Naughtie was firing on all engines as he told us about his riveting new political thriller. When I got home I immediately kindleised ‘The Madness Of July’ and devoured a chunk of it in one sitting. It was pacey and intelligent.

Uuganaa Ramsey looked stunning in her grey Mongolian dress. Her moving memoir never fails to evoke a heartfelt response. The Ayr Writers’ Club are blessed to have her as a member. It will be only a matter of time before ‘Mongol’ moves from the page to the screen.


As I was refuelling with caffeine, I could not help thinking that Boswell would have loved the festival and have networked with ease, spending many wakeful nights afterwards writing up his journal. I was enveloped by the bonhomie of my fellow Boswellites. The Ayr Writers, Knights of the Realm, eminent lawyers, the Knightsbridge contingent, the Gloucestershire gang, the literati, and more BBC people than you could shake a stick at. There was even a whisper that Andrew Marr was prowling about with a film entourage. Then I saw him standing tall among the crowd. I grabbed K and we literally pulled him out of the melee to have snatched words with this distinguished scholar. Gordon Turnball is well used to being accosted by the Boswell crowd and even reported that there was a band of Gordon Groupees, ‘middle aged men with bus passes.’ he said, with a hint of resignation.

‘Why did Yale ‘do’ Boswell,’ I wanted to know. Gordon paused, his blue eyes twinkled and said ‘ Harvard has Johnson’.

So, Sausage, I know that you are frantically frazzled at present but maybe next year.

I look forward to hearing from soon.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Yours Ever,


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