Adventures in Boston and Portland, Maine

Adventures in Boston and Portland, Maine

Jackie Kemp in Boston: Photo by Rob Bruce

“Large, hot Earl please,” the waitress yelled in a cafe this morning. I smiled, seeing in my mind’s eye a dashing peer of the realm with a twirling moustache, like a character from Blackadder, rushing out of the kitchen. But no, just a tepid tea in a paper cup. Spending time in Boston this week, where my husband is working, I have been reminded of the saying, attributed to George Bernard Shaw, that Britain and America  are “two nations divided by a common language”. At the library when the attendant said:  “check your bag, please,” I opened it thinking she meant she wanted to look inside. But she meant it had to be put in a locker.

‘Dramatising Scotland’s Past’ at Scotland’s History Festival 2014

Actor and Gaelic singer Dolina Maclennan began this event at Scotland’s History Festival ‘Previously…’ with a reading from her recently published book, ‘Dolina: An Island Girl’s Journey’.

Maclennan read a passage about her memories of touring the Highlands and Islands in 1973 with the huge theatrical success of that time ‘The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil’ , a play about the Highland clearances, and land rights. Dolina recalled the audience member who rose to her feet to deliver a Gaelic curse to the actor playing land agent Patrick Sellar; rolling up the gaffa tape on a pencil to use it again; travelling with pots and pans and taking £5 from the cast each Thursday to feed them for the week. She linked the tumultous reception the play received in its tour across Scotland to a surge of nationalism which sent 11 SNP MPs to Westminster a year later.
James McArdle and Gordon Kennedy. Photo: Manuel Harlan

History? James McArdle (James I) and Gordon Kennedy (Murdac Stewart). Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dramatising Scotland’s Past:  free event at Scotland’s History Festival, ‘Previously…’ Adam House on November 19, 2014.