about writing and life and God

Full marks

Wick to Aberdeen 2018 020.JPG

Yesterday, late afternoon, I popped in to Aberdeen’s Central Library and told the Reference staff what I was looking for in the way of research for the next book. I returned this morning – to find a stack of papers and books and newspaper cuttings waiting for me.

Brilliant! Everything they had found was relevant and I spent  a happy morning poring over the materials and taking copious notes.

The material documented the typhoid outbreak in Aberdeen in 1964 – so it’s no surprise, I’m not illustrating the blog today with subject-specific photographs!

The story is one of brilliant PR by the medical officer in charge, and brilliant detective work that identified the source and the cause: one 6lb can of corned beef from an Argentinian  canning factory whose chlorination plant had failed for eighteen months, allowing sewage-polluted water to be used to cool the cans of processed meat Рwhich was later, when opened, placed on an unheated window in sunlight during the day in one grocery shop in Aberdeen. The preponderance of female victims was put down to diet-conscious women eating more cold meat and salad than their male counterparts.

So the moral of the story is… perhaps not!


Leave a comment »

Day Eight: Snow, hail and daffodils

Spring is definitely here in Wick. The day began with a wander down to the library

Digital Image

Wick Public Library

past the greatest mass of daffodils I’ve seen anywhere.

Digital Image

Daffodils on the Academy Braes

I spent hours in the Caithness Archive Centre reading back copies of the newspaper I worked on during my gap year: The John O’Groat Journal – but I was researching the pre-war and war years. Wick was a busy place during the war. Because the aerodrome had been built before the war, it appeared on maps – so the Germans knew it existed and it received plenty of Luftwaffe attention – as did the houses nearby.

It began to snow as I walked back to my sister’s for lunch – the blurry bits are the snow!

Digital Image


And then I went back to the library for more research and came back in fierce hail!

Digital Image

Deep hail outside the house


%d bloggers like this: