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TITLE
'Emotional Geology' (2)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_LINDA_GILLARD_02
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Lind Gillard
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1399
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'Emotional Geology' by Linda Gillard, published in 2005. It is read here by Janine Donald.

'Later the weather improves and Rose insists on taking Megan out for a drive to see the island. They set off heading south on the road that circles North Uist with Rose pointing out sites - and sights - of interest as they drive.

'On the other side of those dunes is the Atlantic.' She winds down the window. 'Hear that roar? You should see those breakers... There's nothing between us and Canada. It can be pretty wild at this time of year, but glorious in the summer. Mile after mile of clean, empty beaches. A man and a dog constitute a crowd. You feel as if you've been shipwrecked on a desert island... On your right now we have the RSPB reserve, Balranald. A lot of the tourists come here for the birds... It's a lovely walk in the spring and summer. You've come at the wrong time of year really...' Rose looks sideways at Megan who is staring out of the window, refusing to be drawn on the purpose of her visit.

'What are those piles of bricks outside people's houses?'

'Bricks?'

'Well, they look a bit like bricks - black blocks of something.'

'Oh, the peat stacks! It's fuel - peat cut into brickettes. They make a lovely fire when they're dry. That's the distinctive smell in the air here - peat burning on open fires. Of course not many people have fires nowadays - they've gone over to central heating like everyone else. The attraction of free fuel can't compete with the convenience of flicking a switch for instant warmth. But some people still stick to the old ways and cut the peats in the summer, then bring them home and stack them carefully to dry out. It's quite a knack. Some of the stacks are so carefully built they're almost works of art. I've photographed some of them.

They drive on through the drizzle, meeting few cars on the single-track road. Rose swerves to avoid a suicidal black-faced ewe that suddenly decides the grass is greener on the other side of the road. Surveying the low-lying, boggy and largely uninhabitated terrain, Megan says, 'There are more sheep than people!'

'Oh, almost certainly,' Rose answers.

'It's kind of... bleak, isn't it?'

'Do you think so? I think it's rather beautiful, but I admit it's an acquired taste. I love all the subtle shades of green and brown, the moss and lichen and the heather - it's like a glorious tapestry... And you have such vast expanses of sky here. A bit like Norfolk, but the light is quite different here - it's a northern light, much brighter, cleaner. A lot of artists live and work here because they like the light.'

Linda Gillard lives and writes on the Isle of Skye. She graduated from Bristol University and trained as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. For eight years she pursued an acting career, the highlight of which was sharing a table in The National Theatre canteen with Sir Michael Gambon. The lowlight she says was playing a fairy for four rainy months in an open-air production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at Regent's Park.

Whilst under-employed at the National Theatre, Linda accidentally became a freelance journalist and wrote light-hearted articles for magazines, many based on her semi-self sufficient 'Good Life' in rural Cambridgeshire. For twelve years she had a humorous column in 'Ideal Home' about family life.

Linda ran her two careers concurrently for a while before deciding to give up acting to focus on journalism and raising a family. At the age of 40 she re-trained as a primary teacher and taught in Norfolk specialising in English and Art. She decided to re-think her career yet again after she was assaulted by a disturbed pupil.

The re-think entailed giving up teaching and downshifting to the Isle of Skye, realising a long-held dream to move to the Highlands and write full-time. Linda now lives on a hillside overlooking the Cuillins, a mountain range featured in her first novel, 'Emotional Geology'. Her second novel, 'A Lifetime Burning' followed in 2006. Her third book, 'Star Gazing' is set in Edinburgh and on the Isle of Skye.

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'Emotional Geology' (2)

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Linda Gillard

This audio extract is from 'Emotional Geology' by Linda Gillard, published in 2005. It is read here by Janine Donald.<br /> <br /> 'Later the weather improves and Rose insists on taking Megan out for a drive to see the island. They set off heading south on the road that circles North Uist with Rose pointing out sites - and sights - of interest as they drive.<br /> <br /> 'On the other side of those dunes is the Atlantic.' She winds down the window. 'Hear that roar? You should see those breakers... There's nothing between us and Canada. It can be pretty wild at this time of year, but glorious in the summer. Mile after mile of clean, empty beaches. A man and a dog constitute a crowd. You feel as if you've been shipwrecked on a desert island... On your right now we have the RSPB reserve, Balranald. A lot of the tourists come here for the birds... It's a lovely walk in the spring and summer. You've come at the wrong time of year really...' Rose looks sideways at Megan who is staring out of the window, refusing to be drawn on the purpose of her visit.<br /> <br /> 'What are those piles of bricks outside people's houses?'<br /> <br /> 'Bricks?'<br /> <br /> 'Well, they look a bit like bricks - black blocks of something.'<br /> <br /> 'Oh, the peat stacks! It's fuel - peat cut into brickettes. They make a lovely fire when they're dry. That's the distinctive smell in the air here - peat burning on open fires. Of course not many people have fires nowadays - they've gone over to central heating like everyone else. The attraction of free fuel can't compete with the convenience of flicking a switch for instant warmth. But some people still stick to the old ways and cut the peats in the summer, then bring them home and stack them carefully to dry out. It's quite a knack. Some of the stacks are so carefully built they're almost works of art. I've photographed some of them.<br /> <br /> They drive on through the drizzle, meeting few cars on the single-track road. Rose swerves to avoid a suicidal black-faced ewe that suddenly decides the grass is greener on the other side of the road. Surveying the low-lying, boggy and largely uninhabitated terrain, Megan says, 'There are more sheep than people!'<br /> <br /> 'Oh, almost certainly,' Rose answers.<br /> <br /> 'It's kind of... bleak, isn't it?'<br /> <br /> 'Do you think so? I think it's rather beautiful, but I admit it's an acquired taste. I love all the subtle shades of green and brown, the moss and lichen and the heather - it's like a glorious tapestry... And you have such vast expanses of sky here. A bit like Norfolk, but the light is quite different here - it's a northern light, much brighter, cleaner. A lot of artists live and work here because they like the light.'<br /> <br /> Linda Gillard lives and writes on the Isle of Skye. She graduated from Bristol University and trained as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. For eight years she pursued an acting career, the highlight of which was sharing a table in The National Theatre canteen with Sir Michael Gambon. The lowlight she says was playing a fairy for four rainy months in an open-air production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at Regent's Park.<br /> <br /> Whilst under-employed at the National Theatre, Linda accidentally became a freelance journalist and wrote light-hearted articles for magazines, many based on her semi-self sufficient 'Good Life' in rural Cambridgeshire. For twelve years she had a humorous column in 'Ideal Home' about family life. <br /> <br /> Linda ran her two careers concurrently for a while before deciding to give up acting to focus on journalism and raising a family. At the age of 40 she re-trained as a primary teacher and taught in Norfolk specialising in English and Art. She decided to re-think her career yet again after she was assaulted by a disturbed pupil.<br /> <br /> The re-think entailed giving up teaching and downshifting to the Isle of Skye, realising a long-held dream to move to the Highlands and write full-time. Linda now lives on a hillside overlooking the Cuillins, a mountain range featured in her first novel, 'Emotional Geology'. Her second novel, 'A Lifetime Burning' followed in 2006. Her third book, 'Star Gazing' is set in Edinburgh and on the Isle of Skye.