Fay Young

curiosity about the ways of the world

The cost of dignity

It should be incredible but it’s only too believable in the dysfunctional state we are in. Headlines in the news stir a moment of dislocation. Where exactly are we? What year is this? Continue reading

Island on the Edge

It’s such a gloriously improbable tale. A young woman on the last day of her holiday on Skye spots an old croft house for sale in an estate agents window. What happens next is the stuff of dreams at the end of a hard working week. Continue reading

Pioneering women gardeners: visible at last

Girls will be boys?  The terms of employment were simple, if a little strange. The first two women admitted to the staff at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1897 were to be known as ‘boys’ and had to dress like boys too. Continue reading

The revolutionary power of simple pleasures

What kind of times are they, when

A talk about trees is almost a crime

Because it implies silence about so many horrors

Bertolt Brecht

A catalogue in the post. Not so very long ago that would have brought a promise of armchair gardening. Happy hours leafing through pages of plants I was unlikely to grow, winter evenings plotting summer crops; neat rows of common garden stuff in exotic colours: purple beans, black carrots, blue potatoes. I’d mark the pages diligently and forget to send my order until it was almost too late to sow the seeds. Continue reading

My Irish Baby Box is forty years old

When I was expecting my first baby a parcel arrived from my Aunty Rene in Ireland. Inside there was a handmade book with advice on how to stay well during pregnancy and many practical instructions for making everything we would need in the first few months of parenthood. Forty years later it occurs to me this was my ‘baby box’. Continue reading

Talking Turkeys: five poems for Christmas

We closed the borders folks, we nailed it
No trees, no plants, no immigrants Jackie Kay

For west-centric liberals, 2016 has been the worst of all years.  That’s such a constant refrain there’s now an echoing response on Twitter, ‘Stop blaming it on 2016’ is petulant and unimaginative in its repetition. Yet absolutely spot on. Continue reading

Creative cities: built on can-do culture

All’s fair in love, war and creative city competition. Well, yes, maybe but losing a heartfelt City of Culture bid can hurt as Creative Dundee’s Gillian Easson freely admits. Continue reading

Winds of change at The Botanics

With rich irony the latest exhibition at Inverleith House is titled I Still Believe in Miracles. But no miracle is likely to save the art gallery from closure after the doors shut on a show celebrating 30 years at the heart of contemporary art in Edinburgh. Continue reading

Life on the edge

View of cloud-fringed Cuillins of Skye, from Soay, photograph by Jemma Cholawo

Soay bay: photograph by Jemma Cholawo

Because it’s Friday…a trip to another world, not so very far away as the seagull flies. Anne Cholawo’s   YouTube film about her life on Soay which led to a top-selling book Island on the Edge: a life on Soay Continue reading

Red Skye at night

The great giants are crumbling one by one.

The Gendarme and the Cubaid are gone

and the trees are sliding to the shore

on Scorrybreck

Morag Henriksen

This is not about Brexit though goodness knows it was hard to escape the rumblings, crumblings and forebodings of separation among the unexpectedly European gathering on Skye. Continue reading

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