Newsletter 53

Wilson’s Tales Newsletter 53.  May 2018
This issue:

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News Items:

  1.  Marchmont House Visit – Last few places !
2.  Recent Recognition for Poetry and Prose:
3.  John Mackay Wilson study.
4.  Volume 1 back in stock!
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and – please share with your friends. JMW deserves more recognition, and we have some interesting projects in the works.

1.  Marchmont Visit

  • Only 9 places remain for our privileged visit to Marchmont House on 2nd August.

Reserve your place by emailing 
to confirm attendance. (Send a cheque for £20 a head payable to the project to secure your place.)

Something ‘bubbly’ will be available on arrival, followed by both the ‘Tale of Marchmont’ and a tour & talk about the recent restoration.

Starting at 6-30, it will last about 2 hours. places are limited to a maximum of 32. places are  allocated on a first come first served basis.  Email 
to book or for more details.

The Tale of “Sir Patrick Hume: A Tale of the House of Marchmont”  was written by Wilson.  It relates the story of Sir Patrick Hume in 1665, and the trials of those days. You must come along, or read the story, to find out how it ends!

Marchmont House details  are here The interior at Marchmont is arguably one of the finest in Scotland, and the house retains many of its original features, including the magnificent George II period plasterwork by Thomas Clayton, the pre-eminent plasterer of the time.

In 1914 the then owner Robert Finnie McEwen commissioned Sir Robert Lorimer to enlarge the house.

One hundred years on, and the house has just undergone a thorough and sensitive three-year restoration which was described by Country Life magazine as ‘outstanding’.

read more about Marchmont here>>
2.  Recent Recognition for JMW’s Poetry and Prose:
Last year Wilson’s poem The Tweed near Berwick was included in Land of Three Rivers, the Poetry of North-East England, edited by Neil Astley and published by Bloodaxe.

Previously his Tale The Doom of Soulis was included in Middle Unearthed: The Best Fantasy Short Stories 1800-1849 (Best Short Stories Book 6), edited by Andrew Barger and published by Bottletree Books LLC. The former put him in the company of Kipling, Auden and Bunting, while the latter put him with Mary Shelley, Dickens, and Washington Irving. Quite an achievement for the son of a Sawyer from Tweedmouth!

Amazon  is selling the ’10 best Fantasy Stories 1800 – 1849′
You can buy the print or digital edition here:-
(Quoting from their blurb)  These 10 excellent stories were uncovered from old magazines and forgotten journals. Andrew provides a list of the stories considered and includes background introductions to each story and author, where available. But his treatment of some of the earliest stories gets even better with annotations which allow readers to peek behind the stories.

3.  John Mackay Wilson Study 
Mike Fraser’s study, the first extensive critical examination of Wilson’s life and work, entitled “Health and Home are Powerful Magnets”. An Exile returns to Berwick will be available later this year.

In February 1832 John Mackay Wilson informed his friend John Everett that he intended to accept the post of Editor of the Berwick Advertiser because “health – and home are powerful magnets to draw me to the North and keep me there”. He became an outstanding Editor and a hugely successful writer of Historical, Traditionary and Imaginative Tales of the Borders, but, rather than enjoying a long, healthy life in his home town, he was dead at 31 years of age just over three years later.
Following a biography of Wilson, Mike discusses the wider political, business and literary contexts in the early nineteenth century, before focussing on Wilson’s extraordinarily productive period of literary and political writing between 1832 and 1835.

4.   Volume 1 back in stock
Volume 1 of the reprinted Tales is in stock again!
If you are missing one or all of volumes 1 to 4, then you can complete your set by just hitting ‘reply’ to this email for more details.
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Waiting for the weather

A week to go until the official Maiden Voyage, and we’re longing to have a couple of sea trial sessions to become accustomed to the handling.
Force 5 to 7 and up to 8 today though, so no launches.

We DID fit the stretchers to the floors, so rowing will become much easier.  Racing starts here we come.
Meantime, our Listed Building restoration team have been busy withe mantra of ‘Let there be light’  and have reglazed three of the windows now, shutters still to refix.  What a difference!  When you enter the place it’s looking far more shipshape – a coat of paint on the walls worked wonders,  some daylight works more.

I have to say, with all the fittings now attached, the late evening sun streaming in, the Pride of Aln  really is a boat to take some pride in.  All the many people who had a hand in building her really do have something to take pride in, and the comments from passers by suggests that our community is equally proud and pleased to see her, and see the Lifeboat House with a boat once more.



Sea Trial I

Yes – finally, the Great Day arrived

Four men in a boat, plus one woman

Today we placed Pride of Aln in the sea off Alnmouth beach  and set off to Holland.  After 50 yards, Dave mentioned that he had secreted a bottle of whiskey in the wine cellar. so we stopped, anchored, and toasted the boat, each other, the weather, the sea, and Alnmouth.

Then we forgot Holland and rowed back

Crew for the event were

Bow – Simon
two – Richard
DSCF1225athree – Rhoda
Stroke – Dave
Cox – Charles

Some photos were taken, to prove it happened.



The planks are all on – are we nearly there yet?

Huge cheers, and small tots of whisky available for the last strake going on (traditionally known as the whisky plank)

Phew!  It feels like a long time, but at a mere 2 hours a week until lately, it was always going to be a few weeks of elapsed time before we see results.

Onward and upward!

Keel, stem and stermposts, then we turno ver and see what’s inside..