Cumbernauld – according to my friend Kirkland who was brought up there – was once awarded the honour of being the ugliest town in Britain. You can kind of see where they are coming from when you drive through it, after having probably got lost trying to negotiate the complex roundabout system.
However, I was lucky enough to have an insider’s view of it on Tuesday. I was invited to speak to the pupils of St. Margaret’s and Carbrain Primary in Cumbernauld Library, and it was such a brilliant venue. A wide open space, really well-stocked with good books, sunlight pouring through the windows. I was placed in the Museum, so that I could achieve darkness for my spooky images and sounds ghostly event. It felt fitting because we were surrounded by artefacts from Scottish history. The pupils (and teachers, of course) were absolutely delightful. They showed such interest and asked plenty of questions at the end. One or two came up to speak afterwards. They went away clutching library copies of CHILL, SHIVER and DARKER ENDS. None of this would have happened, of course, if the library was kept open by volunteers instead of paid and qualified staff whose profession is librarianship. Sorry – can’t resist a bang of the drum again!
Afterwards, Kirkland and I trundled off for lunch in Cumbernauld Town Centre, accompanied by my tartan trolley full of books and my banner. It was really very nice in a Soviet block kind of way. It made me nostalgic for the Cold War! Kirkland said most people hate it, but I have seen uglier buildings, definitely.I preferred it to many of the new updated school buildings you get nowadays in places like Dunblane and Stirling which to me seem pretty soulless. So, here are some pictures of me fretting over the technology before the audience arrived; and one of my lovely trolley which I believe could set a trend among fashion gurus.