Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Posting.


Hello my wee blog,

I was thinking about doing a blog post about maps and history the other day. I never studied history at school but became interested in it  across the years after I'd left. Over time I became interested in maps too. To be honest, I've always been interested in maps. Even as a small child I remember creating fantasy maps of islands where X marked the spot for pirate treasure, naming the mountains, bays and inlets with terrifying and bloody names. Too much childhood time perhaps spent with Robert Louis Stevenson and his tales of 'Treasure Island', 'Robinson Crusoe' and even 'Kidnapped'. Even now I'll often spend time standing in front of one of the several old maps of Scotland I have on the walls of the 'library', lost in thought about this or that. I became interested in languages too and soon began connecting maps and language. It was this connection that set me off on the train of thought about what a post would look like I suppose.

I was thinking about how people throughout time have used their language and understanding, folklore and history, to help establish and understand their place on the landscape by naming what they saw around them, whether that was based on a desription of the shape of a mountain, naming the place after the prominent trees that grew along a particular part of a glen or river, or the name of a person or incident associated with a place. The first people would have used those terms to describe and communicate ways to navigate across and around the land from time immemorial and now, with our modern maps and all the information they contain, those names are printed on mountain, hill and moor, giving us a fix on place and many clues - albeit often obscure ones - about our history, culture and linguistic heritage. {And that's not even touching on religious, military or political influence through time!}

These thoughts have also spawned several ideas about postings on language and pre-history too as this area is full to the brim with opportunity on that score. But, I've been thinking about modern language and its story too, the difference between the Scots language of the lowlands and standard English. I just don't know if I could do any of it justice without making an epic out of it and that would be hard to read, which isn't the aim of blogging is it?

So I suppose I'm trying to prepare you for what's to come in a way.  For those of you who have been looking out for tales of Jess and early morning musings, I'm sure those will come too but may need to wait until I get the thoughts above either organised or out of my head altogether. I just hope it happens soon.

See you later.

Listening to.

12 comments:

Bovey Belle said...

As one who shares these interests, I look forward to reading what you have to say. I know that the "Pit" names on Scottish maps are meant to show where the Picts once lived. Apart from that, I obviously have much to learn about the Scottish landscape and language . . .

jono said...

Hi Al, sorry for not commenting for a while. I'm not getting the time I once did but rest assured I am still reading.

It seems we have many interests in common and now you have hit on two that really grab me. Maps and especially historical ones. I have a collection of them for my local area and I never tire of pouring over them dicovering new things to fire my imagination about what life was like at the time. I too look forward to your upcoming posts.

Nicky said...

I too find maps and charts to be so interesting, and their history is very intriguing. LOVE that view in your photo too!

Alistair said...

Thanks folks - I'd better get my head down and get on with it then eh???

Morning's Minion said...

I became intrigued many years ago with the fact that place names in my native New England echo those of Old England--and are repeated in the various New England states.
We have moved to a small county in Kentucky where the looping roads are named for area families--often using a Christian name and a surname to designate a lane or crossroad--a bit confusing to in-comers. Various areas of the county are also referred to by old family names. Geographical features appear in the place names--'Spout Springs'--Crocus Creek'--and then a favorite of mine--'Bearwallow.'
I look forward to your posts.

Scottish Nature Boy said...

A postbox? A cat called Jess? Is there something you aren't telling us ... Pat? Is it really you? :-) Maps. Love them. I can spend ages poring over palces I know, or places we are going to. We grew up with our Dad's cast-off OS maps - can you tell? You've met my brother! Nice to be back. Cheers, SNB

Scottish Nature Boy said...

PS I've just found the chords for Psychokiller for the ukulele...

Alistair said...

Hullo SNB - Wow, been a while! Hope that things have eased off for you at work. I've been missing your voice from the back of the interweb sofa thingy. I hardly know what season it is......

I really do need to get this started then don't I? I was thinking of calling it 'Putting Scotland on The Map'

Cheers, Padruig A Post.

Rebecca S. said...

I am looking forward to your posts on places and their names, and history and all that stuff! In the meantime I will just say, I love Talking Heads, and went to see Stop Making Sense with my sister in 1987 at a theatre in downtown Winnipeg. It blew my mind! Thanks for stirring up great memories with Psychokiller.

Alistair said...

Hullo Rebecca, I'm a big fan of Talking Heads too. I never got to see them live though, although I have seen David Byrne live - and he played this track almost just like this as the first track of an unforgetable concert.

Great memories for me too....

Antares Cryptos said...

Me three or is it four? Share a fascination with maps and history.

Thank you for reminding me of the many pirate maps I created as a child.

Don't always have the time to sign in and comment, but I'm reading.

Alistair said...

Pirate maps are great because they 'AArh'!!!

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