Monday, 11 July 2016

Toot! Toot! A read and review of Pride and Regicide.

Yesterday (Sunday 10th July), I had the pleasure of being on what I was told was the only train that was running north of Aberdeen, Scotland, and my journey wasn’t a short one!

There was a huge disruption to rail services across the UK. As far as I can tell, the reasons for strikes in north-east Scotland were over the issue of trains running with only a driver and no guard. I don’t use the rail service, since we have no trains stopping in my Aberdeenshire village (proposed for 2019), but if I were a regular commuter, I’d prefer that the train had a guard.  

Anyway…I consider myself extremely fortunate that my Special Tour yesterday actually took place and wasn’t cancelled. The Scottish Railway Preservation Society Tour yesterday went from Aberdeen all the way north to Inverness and then further north and then west to Kyle of Lochalsh. (see my previous post about my journey )

All of these SRPS tours are run by volunteer staff, unpaid people who generously give of their time and expertise to ensure that the railway heritage of Scotland (and the UK) is preserved. Being a volunteer means no Union affiliation and therefore no pressure to strike.

But…since the rail stock used yesterday (British Rail Mk1 coaches of the early 1960s and a class 47 diesel locomotive back and front) travelled on the current main railway lines, almost the whole journey, I’m very glad we were given the necessary ‘tokens’ to ride the tracks. The exception to the main line being used was that we had clearance to use a 'bypass' stretch using the 'Rose Street Line' to avoid going through the main railway station at Inverness. 

Because the lines used from Aberdeen to Inverness and Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh are single track the driver must have a ‘token’ permission from the signalmen to use the track safely. That meant that there were normal railway staff (non SRPS volunteers) available yesterday to ensure our driver could haul our vintage carriages along the route - though I’ve no idea if those men that I saw along the way were volunteering their time or were putting in a normal shift.
At Kyle of Lochalsh - a long train

The return journey took around 10 hours and gave me plenty of time to appreciate the varying countryside as we passed by and also time to read. During the outward journey I did a lot of watching, took notes and imagined the stretch between Inverurie and Inverness as planned. On the return journey, while the vegetation at the edge of the track pinged and whipped furiously at the roof and windows of my comfy carriage, quite a scary noise till I got used to it, I opened a new book Pride and Regicide by Cathy Bryant. At only 90 pages long it was a quick read and just perfect for when the rain started to spit then run in rivulets down the by then very smeary windows of the carriage. By then all hopes of taking photographs was gone. Every now and again I popped up my head to see what I could but since it was the return journey it wasn’t so bad to miss the scenery as I’d been more watchful on the outward journey.

Here’s what I thought of Pride and Regicide by Cathy Bryant.

It’s definitely Jane Austen-ish and I love Jane Austen’s books. Pride and Regicide was a very quick and enjoyable read from start to finish. The characters spring to life through the excellent depiction of the author though I do have to admit that what I was envisaging were the actors from my favourite TV version of Pride and Prejudice. The conversational tone of Pride and Regicide exactly fits that of Austen’s, the writing style very similar. Mary being given centre court attention in this book means that the author can give us a different sort of ending to that of the Austen books I’ve read. The ending of this one leaves me wondering if Mary will go on to have another adventure and perhaps solve another crime…or will the marriage mart be her next adventure. There were definite pointers to the latter but- I give no spoilers here! Mrs. Bennet is a gem as always.  Mr. Bennet has softened just enough towards Mary, in the absence of his favourite Lizzie. And Mary hasn’t just ‘grown up’, I think she’s lost just the right amount of seriousness! I have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone who loves a traditional Regency Novel and even to Austen enthusiasts.

Happy Reading to you, whatever your choice is.


1 comment:

  1. I am entirely in agreement in respect of the novel, Mrs Jardine.


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