Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
'Letter from Reachfar' (1)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_JANE_DUNCAN_03
PLACENAME
Poyntzfield
DISTRICT
Fortrose
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Resolis
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Jane Duncan
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1369
KEYWORDS
audio
novels
literary landscapes

Get Adobe Flash player

This audio extract is from 'Letter from Reachfar' by Jane Duncan, published in 1975. It is read here by a pupil from Fortrose Academy.

'After my first visit to my publishers in January 1959, I took the night train to Inverness where I was to be met by my Uncle George and his friend Hugh, the owner of the local garage. When the train puffed about five hours late into Inverness Station backwards, as the old steam trains always did, any warm sense of homecoming that I might have had was totally dispersed for it was freezing cold, the platform covered in frozen snow and large flakes of snow were still falling. By the time my luggage had been piled into the car and we were driving towards the outskirts of the town, my blood, after ten years in the tropics, seemed to be frozen in my veins and my teeth could not chatter because the joints of my jaws were rigid.'

'Stop!' I said through clenched teeth to Hugh. 'Stop at that pub before I die of cold,' and in the pub I said to him and my uncle: 'Whisky?'

Hugh moved away from us and my uncle dug me in the ribs and whispered: 'Hugh never touches drink now since the police caught him!'

'Won't you have anything at all, Hugh?' I asked him.

'Och well,' said Hugh, as if indulging me in a whim, 'I'll take a double gin and lime, if you please.'


Elizabeth Jane Cameron was born on 10th March 1910 in Renton, Dunbartonshire, the daughter of a police constable, Duncan Cameron. Her mother was Janet (Jessie) Sandison. From her parents' names she constructed her two literary pseudonyms, Jane Duncan and Janet Sandison.

Much of her childhood was spent at her grandparents' croft, 'The Colony' (the 'Reachfar' of her novels), on the Black Isle. She attended Glasgow University and worked in a Photographic Intelligence Unit during World War II. A comfortable life in the Caribbean came to an end when her husband died, and at the age of 47 she was forced to write to pay his medical bills and to earn a living.

Jane's first novel was published in 1959, 'My friend Muriel', to be followed by many others, including eighteen 'My friend' novels in total. She also wrote for children in the 'Camerons' series and, right at the end of her life, collaborated with the illustrator Mairi Hedderwick on 'Herself and Janet Reachfar' and 'Janet Reachfar and the Kelpie'. Mairi Hedderwick went on to write about Katie Morag.

Jane Duncan died on 20th October 1976 and is buried in Kirkmichael graveyard on the Black Isle.

A new edition of 'My Friends the Miss Boyds' will be launched this summer (2010) to coincide with celebrations being organised on the Black Isle to mark the Jane Duncan Centenary. See the related link below for further details.

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

'Letter from Reachfar' (1)

ROSS: Resolis

2000s

audio; novels; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Jane Duncan

This audio extract is from 'Letter from Reachfar' by Jane Duncan, published in 1975. It is read here by a pupil from Fortrose Academy.<br /> <br /> 'After my first visit to my publishers in January 1959, I took the night train to Inverness where I was to be met by my Uncle George and his friend Hugh, the owner of the local garage. When the train puffed about five hours late into Inverness Station backwards, as the old steam trains always did, any warm sense of homecoming that I might have had was totally dispersed for it was freezing cold, the platform covered in frozen snow and large flakes of snow were still falling. By the time my luggage had been piled into the car and we were driving towards the outskirts of the town, my blood, after ten years in the tropics, seemed to be frozen in my veins and my teeth could not chatter because the joints of my jaws were rigid.'<br /> <br /> 'Stop!' I said through clenched teeth to Hugh. 'Stop at that pub before I die of cold,' and in the pub I said to him and my uncle: 'Whisky?' <br /> <br /> Hugh moved away from us and my uncle dug me in the ribs and whispered: 'Hugh never touches drink now since the police caught him!'<br /> <br /> 'Won't you have anything at all, Hugh?' I asked him. <br /> <br /> 'Och well,' said Hugh, as if indulging me in a whim, 'I'll take a double gin and lime, if you please.'<br /> <br /> <br /> Elizabeth Jane Cameron was born on 10th March 1910 in Renton, Dunbartonshire, the daughter of a police constable, Duncan Cameron. Her mother was Janet (Jessie) Sandison. From her parents' names she constructed her two literary pseudonyms, Jane Duncan and Janet Sandison.<br /> <br /> Much of her childhood was spent at her grandparents' croft, 'The Colony' (the 'Reachfar' of her novels), on the Black Isle. She attended Glasgow University and worked in a Photographic Intelligence Unit during World War II. A comfortable life in the Caribbean came to an end when her husband died, and at the age of 47 she was forced to write to pay his medical bills and to earn a living. <br /> <br /> Jane's first novel was published in 1959, 'My friend Muriel', to be followed by many others, including eighteen 'My friend' novels in total. She also wrote for children in the 'Camerons' series and, right at the end of her life, collaborated with the illustrator Mairi Hedderwick on 'Herself and Janet Reachfar' and 'Janet Reachfar and the Kelpie'. Mairi Hedderwick went on to write about Katie Morag.<br /> <br /> Jane Duncan died on 20th October 1976 and is buried in Kirkmichael graveyard on the Black Isle.<br /> <br /> A new edition of 'My Friends the Miss Boyds' will be launched this summer (2010) to coincide with celebrations being organised on the Black Isle to mark the Jane Duncan Centenary. See the related link below for further details.