Inveravon, Pictish Stones, and War Graves

In between Ballindalloch and Criagellachie Bridge we turned off the A 95 to find Inveravon Church and its Pictish Stones.

The stones were once in the open but are now kept in a porch:-

Pictish Stones, Inveravon

Inveravon Pictish Stones

Information Boards:-

Information Board, Inveravon

Inveravon PIctish Stones, Information Board 2

In the churchyard I found two Commonwealth War Graves.

Private A G Patterson, Seaforth Highlanders, 10/3/1915, aged 18:-

War Grave, Inveravon

Private J A Cantlie, Gordon Highlanders, 30/5/1918, aged 20:-

War Grave, Inveravon


Craigellachie Bridge

The elegant Craigellachie Bridge was built over the River Spey near Aberlour (or Charlestown of Aberlour) by renowned Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. The village is home to the distillery which makes Aberlour Whisky.

I was able to go off the main A 95 road to take a few pictures of the bridge.

Craigellachie Bridge close view

From other side of bridge:-

Craigellachie Bridge, Aberlour, Moray

Bridge towers:-

Craigellachie Bridge end pillars

Plaque denoting Thomas Telford’s contribution:-

Plaque to Thomas Telford on Craigellachie Bridge

Further information plaque:-

Plaque on Craigellachie Bridge

Bridge from modern road:-

Craigellachie Bridge from Road

Ballindalloch War Memorial

Continuing our trip up north in April  I spotted another War Memorial. This was by the side of the A 95 road on a pretty sharp bend.

There is no location identifier on the memorial but this pink granite cross on a pyramidal base is Ballindalloch War Memorial. Ballindalloch village is itself small but has two distilleries and a castle to its name:-

Ballindalloch War Memorial

It’s dedicated for both World Wars:-

Names, War Memorial, Ballindalloch




The Entropy Exhibition by Colin Greenland

Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction. Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983, 256 p, including Preface, Acknowledgements, Notes, Bibliography and Index.

As its sub-title implies this is an account of the project Michael Moorcock started when he took over the British Science Fiction magazine New Worlds in 1964. This was to try to inject more literary qualities into SF which up to that point had been largely shunned by the ‘mainstream’ because of its pulp sensibilities as he did not see why SF should be separate from literature in general.

To that end Greenland gives us a history of New Worlds up to that point, considers the introduction of sex to SF stories (hitherto all but absent despite the prominence of the three Bs – Boobs, Babes and Bug-eyed Monsters – on cover illustrations,) the withdrawal from space fiction in favour of ‘inner’ space, questions of style, the salience of the concept of entropy to this mid-sixties endeavour, and offers us critiques of the contributions of the three most prominent figures of the British new wave, Brian W Aldiss, J G Ballard and Moorcock himself. (Though it receives a few mentions considerations of how the new wave played out in the US are beyond the remit of this book.)

Greenland is of the opinion that Aldiss’s books Report on Probability A and Barefoot in the Head are the quintessential new wave novels with Moorcock’s Karl Glogauer novels as exemplars of the new wave sensibility dealing as they do with “Time and identity: Moorcock’s two great themes, perhaps the great themes of all New Wave sf.”

Aldiss never really considered himself as part of a wave of any sort; he had in any case been prominent as a writer of SF before the 1960s.

Ballard was always something of an enigma. Whether he can be considered to “belong” to any movement other than his sui generis self is moot but he did contribute a guest editorial to New Worlds in May 1962 asking “Which Way to Inner Space?” an implicit call for a different approach to writing SF. Personally I have always seen in his writing – possibly due to his upbringing as an expatriate – an expression of English reserve taken to the extreme, elevated to an art form even. (His incarceration by the Japanese during World War 2 no doubt also contributed to his take on the world.) Greenland sees Ballard’s principal tool for the disorientating effect of his prose as “unyielding irony.”

The SF New Wave changed everything and nothing. After the 1960s experiment SF by and large returned to its ghetto and continued to be ignored by mainstream fiction. The attitude “if it’s SF it’s not good, if it’s good it’s not SF” still hung around.

Yes, literary qualities did become more common in the genre (and treatment of sex ceased to be shunned) and it is now possible for “proper” writers to dabble in its waters without expressions of horror – from either side – accompanying their efforts.

The Entropy Exhibition is by its nature (and origin as a dissertation for a D Phil) a critical endeavour and now stands as a historical document, and probably one only for those interested in the history of SF.


Pedant’s corner:- extra-terrestial (extra-terrestrial,) sf (I prefer SF,) Euripides’ (Euripides’s,) Capadocia (Cappadocia,) fridgw (fridge,) “the relationship between my characters don’t interest me much” (either ‘relationships’ or ‘doesn’t’,) “a compete new political and social history” (a complete new,) enormity (seems to be in the sense of ‘hugeness’ rather than ‘monstrousness’.) In the Notes; Hilary Baily (Bailey,) benefitted (benefited?)

Advie War Memorial

After leaving Grantown-on-Spey we headed north on what in the end, over a few days, turned out to be a journey through the heartland of the Highland League past and present.

A few miles north of Grantown  I spotted a road sign which said “Advie War Memorial” so I had to turn off the main road to find it. The Memorial, a tapering granite pillar atop a rectangular plinth bearing names on its four faces, stands beside the side road opposite what looks like a village hall.

Advie War Memorial

Dedication and names:-

Advie War Memorial Dedications and Names

Names, Advie War Memorial

It appears this is a replacement memorial. This webpage says the original was damaged in 2006 and its remains are in Advie churchyard.

More names:-

Advie War Memorial Names

War Memorial, Advie, Names


A S Byatt

I saw on the TV news last night that the author A S Byatt has died.

She won the Booker Prize in 1990 for her novel Possession: A Romance, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Children’s Book in 2009, but the only work of hers I have read is Ragnarok: the end of the Gods.

I really ought to have got round to at least those two award winners.

So many books, and only 365 days a year to read them in.

Antonia Susan Duffy (A S Byatt;) 24/8/1936 – 16/11/2023. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 234: Sunshine Girl

A rather typical mid-1960s piece this. The Parade were one of those harmony based US groups so abundant in the mid-1960s. Sunshine Girl was their only notable success.

The Parade: Sunshine Girl


This Sunshine Girl is not to be confused with the song of the same title which was a no 8 hit in the UK for Herman’s Hermits in 1968.

Herman’s Hermits: Sunshine Girl

Cybernetic Jungle by S N Lewitt

Ace, 1992, p.

This has an unusual setting for a piece of Science Fiction written by a USian author; Brazil, specifically Brasilia. In the aftermath of a natural disaster democracy has been overthrown (this is represented as unusual for Brazil!) and society is dominated by four monopolies called fazendas, who are the only purveyors of drugs from the rain forest. Street gangs dominate life for the common people. Drugs called phrines, which seem to sharpen the mind, are common but can lead to brain burn out.

Paulo Sylvia is a member of the Bakunin gang. He has an implant known as a secondary but his greatest wish is to upgrade this to be able to access something known as the Wave, which is here described as “a datastream, a quantum-level interface structure that had been created to serve the needs of the masters. Only it had become the master.” (It reads as if it’s a hazy sort of internet only accessed through the mind but as described it seems a diffuse kind of experience.) On a raid on behalf of one of the fazendas he witnesses a girl die. Very soon after he meets Zaide Soledad, who looks identical to the dead girl and intrigues him. She is a trainee in one of the fazendas, out on the town. When they meet she is not yet surgically prepared for accessing the Wave and her true background is not known to Paulo.

Young members of the fazenda seem to be produced as kinds of clones – hence Zaide’s resemblance to the dead girl, who was apparently rejected for the fazenda. Zaide becomes drawn into a contest with one of the fazenda’s board members, Julio Simon, who has no redeeming features whatsoever and a predilection for gratuitous violence. Paulo and Zaide’s attraction to each other provides the motor for the plot and their conflict with Simon.

This is a tale with cyberpunk features and, with its main characters’ divergent backgrounds, echoes of Romeo and Juliet. Apart from the unnecessarily violent scene with Simon I quite enjoyed it.

Pedant’s corner:- “now the third generation were growing in jam jars in the closet” (the third generation was growing,) highjackers (hijackers,) “most of the other traffic was cycle or motoped” (why not just moped?) Vasco de Gama (Vasco da Gama,) Flumine (Fluminense,) Corintans (Corinthians,) fer-de-lants (fer-de-lance,) ambiance (ambience,) “in their green and whites” (in their green and white.) “Zaide didn’t looked at Susana” (didn’t look at.)

Grantown-on-Spey, Strathspey District War Memorial

Grantown-on-Spey is a town in the former county of Moray in the Highland region of Scotland.

Its War Memorial is a stone column on a square plinth and sits beside the town square. The names of killed and missing are on bronze plaques on the plinth where can also be found a frieze depicting a kilted soldier. When we visited the memorial was decorated with flags making some of the inscriptions unreadable. (Unobstructed photos can be found here.)

Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial 1

Frieze, Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial

Dedication and names of men from Grantown-on-Spey. (The dedication is highlighted here.)

Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial, Name Plaque

The next plaque bears names from Abernathy (obscured,) Duthil, Rothiemurchus and Aviemore.

Name Plaque, Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial 3

The top named town below (Inverallan) is obscured but Cromdale and Advie are discernible:-

Name Plaque, Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial

The Royal British Legion building in Grantown has minor Art Deco styling and was also decorated for remembrance (even though it was April.)

Minor Art Deco in Grantown-on-Spey, British Legion Building

The Puritans by Guy McCrone

Black & White, 221 p. In Wax Fruit, 1993. First published in 1947.

This is the continuing chronicle of the Moorhouse family (from Antimacassar City and The Philistines) who have risen from a farmhouse in Ayrshire to prosperity in Victorian Glasgow, though much of the tale in this one is set in Vienna. The focus is on the relationship between Phoebe, the youngest Moorhouse, and Henry Hayburn who had become engaged towards the end of The Philistines even though he and his family had lost their money in the crash of the City Bank of Glasgow.

Suitable work for Henry being scarce he takes the opportunity presented by Maximilian Hirsch to oversee the setting up of a factory in Vienna to produce new agricultural machinery. First he travels there alone and lodges with the Klem family in a less salubrious part of the city but comes back to marry Phoebe and take her there. They take to the life in Vienna so much that they can laugh at their lack of guilt at availing themselves of the pleasure-grounds in the Prater in Vienna on a Sunday. Henry has few outlets beyond his work but Phoebe makes friends with Hirsch’s maiden aunts.

However, Aunt Bell back in Glasgow is displeased when Phoebe decides she will have the baby she is now expecting in Vienna and intrigues to have her come to Glasgow for the birth – with tragic consequences.

The writing in these tales never rises above the workmanlike. Too much is told not shown. Before Henry ever reaches Vienna the introduction to the narrative of Sepi Klem only ever portends one outcome. She performs much the same function in complicating our main characters’ lives as Lucy Rennie did in The Philistines. I note that – again like Lucy – she is a singer (though in Sepi’s case an aspiring one to begin with) a potential career of which her parents disapprove, wishing her to marry safe bank clerk Willi Pommer. Her flightiness is highlighted by her leaving home without explanation not long after Phoebe arrives in Vienna.

Her return months later allows McCrone to further contrast life in Austria and Scotland by expressing Herny’s internal discomfort of the Klem family’s display of emotion in his origins; coming “from an Island where the show of feeling is counted as weakness.”

The Wax Fruit trilogy is not great literature by any means but it is quick and easy to read.

Pedant’s corner:- “doing it’s best” (its best,) “slid them over over the stanchions of the pier” (has one ‘over’ too many,) “whether Sir Charles was pleased or sorry about his, Henry could not discover” (about this,) hoofs (in my youth the plural of hoof was always hooves,) “He took of his hat” (off,) Island (this was not a proper noun; ‘island’,) “for her seriously to flaunt Bel” (to flout Bel,) “the Hirschs’ landau” (the Hirsches’ landau,) bouganvilia (bouganvillea.) “‘But what’s wrong?’ She asked.” (But what’s wrong?’ she asked.”)

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