This is a bit of nonsence I wrote using research for my next book called Lairds-in-Waiting about private stations and waitng rooms on the Highland Railway to be published in February 2021.
I am a Bottle
I am a Worcestershire Sauce bottle. I am made of glass. I have a long neck and on my bottom half my iconic red sauce label. I am said to be very tasty and I am often put into tomato juice.
I was invented in the 1840s. Mr Lea and Mr Perrins had a chemist shop in Worcester. One day the Governor of Bengal or maybe it was just a customer called to ask for a recipe to be made up and never returned to collect it. Of course, another idea is that Mr Lea or Mr Perrins invented me. I really don’t know. Anyway, they tasted me and I was so nasty that they put me aside and I really did not know what to do. They found me again after a time and I had tried really hard while they had forgotten me, to make myself taste nice. This time I tasted delicious, so delicious that they decided to bottle me and start selling me. Fortunately for me, they must have made a note of my recipe, so they made more and everyone liked me so much that I am sold almost everywhere in the world. The king even gave me a Royal Warrant in 1904, he liked me so much.
Mr Lea and Mr Perrins retired and probably they have died and so has Mr Perrins’ son who looked after me. His son was called Dyson – not after the vacuum cleaner – it hadn’t been invented then in 1922. Anyway, under Mr Dyson I lived in two places although my sauce was still made in Worcester. In the summer I used to go on an exciting journey on a special train which was loaded up in a siding at Mr Dyson’s house in Malvern where he lived. He had lots of servants as he lived in a big house – he made a lot of money from my sauce – so Mr Dyson, his family, his visitors, his servants and their stuff, set off on this train along with bottles of me and after many hours we travelled into the Scottish Highlands and arrived at a station called Alness where Mr Dyson seemed to have a special waiting room in the station where a man with a job called The Factor met us and off we went in a horse and carriage to Mr Dyson’s other home call Ardross Castle where everyone had lots of fun – it had a swimming pool - and they used lots of me in their tomato juice.
Eventually Mr Dyson had to sell me because he was trying to save Worcester Porcelain. I am now part of Heinz, but they haven’t turned me into a soup yet and I am still in my long necked bottle.
© Anne-Mary Paterson
End of May 2019
In summer 2019 I spent a wonderful week at Moniack Mhor, the writers' centre near Beauly. Apart from the amazing weather with almost continuous warm sunshine, glorious views towards the mountains and the calls of the cuckoos, I think we all found the few days of our tutored retreat very beneficial whatever our reasons for attending. I was able to sort out how I was going to go about the research for my new book on private waiting rooms and stations, what I should include and what I should not include and how to keep a record of it all. The tutors, Kapka Kassabova and Mallachy Tallack were wonderful and listened patiently to our ideas and without pushing themselves, quietly made suggestions to help us.
1st March 2020
I spent quite a bit of Friday at the Culloden Viaduct filming for a programme on Channel 5 about a railway journey from Inverness to Edinburgh. Pity, it had to be recorded in winter as it was cold and some snow was on the ground. Most of the questions were about my great-granduncle, Murdoch Paterson who as chief engineer to the Highland Railway, designed the viaduct and considered it to be one of his greatest. Watch this space for news of when the programme will be streamed.
Busy researching and writing my new book. More information on this in the coming months.
6th April 2020
Lockdown time! Could be difficult but I have my book to write so I am glad that I have a project to keep me busy. Problem is that there are visits I should make and I wonder how long I will have to wait before I can make them. I realise I am lucky as I have a garden and can stay outside as long as I like.
Programme now available on My5. See TV & Radio for more info
People’s Books on TV
As I look at my television screen, I am pleased to see that the world of books seems alive and well. I have sometimes wondered if there are far too many books in my house. Being a writer, I need people to buy my books. Like any other business and writing is a business, I need customers. At the moment I work on the kitchen table and around me is a large number of books which I need to check facts for the book I am writing on the private stations and waiting rooms on the Highland Railway. I hope to move my place of work soon to another room. I am going to call it The Writing Room.
As I am in danger of tripping over the books in the kitchen, I sent off for a bookcase online as we are not able to visit the shops. In ordinary times I would have looked in my local hospice shop which has a wonderful collection of things to buy. I chose something that fitted my needs, looked easy to construct and was not expensive as I will probably replace it with something more aesthetically suited to the rest of the bookcases in the room.
And so to the books on the TV screen. They make a nice neutral sort of background away from the clutter that working rooms often accumulate. Sometimes there are few pictures as well, so it is nice to have an idea of the person’s taste in art. My house is also full of paintings as my brother-in-law was an artist and I love landscape paintings. On this front I need to take care that the house does not end up looking like an art gallery – or perhaps a library!
In days gone by, grand houses could purchase, I think by the foot, artificial books so that it looked as though they were studious readers of similar sorts of books as the colour and spines all matched. Thankfully all the books I see look like real books but whether the person has read them is another matter. My last book was a coffee table sort of book on the bridges and viaducts of the Highland Railway with stories about most of them. Someone who must have done most of his reading in bed, complained to me about this to me. He will be pleased to know that he will be able to read my new book in bed.
I hope now that we have all had to embrace new technology, the New Norm will be that more events use one’s homes rather than travelling to a central place. Being a nosey journalistic sort of person, it is great to see people embracing new ways. After all many of us have friends who live in other countries. Now we have learnt how to communicate with them seeing one another and doing it cheaply.
In future I hope my Zoom events will have a nice bookish background. After all books are my lifeline!