Robin Crawford has been a bookseller, manager, and cluster leader with Waterstones in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and now Dundee for twenty five years. As a writer he is interested in Scottish and North Atlantic European culture. Trained as a sculptor, he has lectured at Edinburgh University and given lunchtime talks at the National Galleries of Scotland. When not squelching through bogs or drinking over-brewed tea in island croft kitchens he likes to read, garden and post quirkily on his blog www.robinacrawford.com He lives in Fife with his wife who grew up on the peat rich island of Lewis, and also works in the book trade. His cottage has gas central heating; gas hob, electric oven; a wood burning stove; and in his living room fire burns a mixture of coal and peat.
Books by Robin A Crawford
Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers
A Treasury of 1,000 Scottish Words
Elliott & Thompson, 2020
A celebration of the irreplaceable magic of language, and the wit and wisdom of 1,000 Scottish words. The Scots language is an ancient and lyrical tongue, inherently linked to the country’s history and identity, its land and culture. In Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers, Robin Crawford has gathered 1,000 words from his native land – old and new, classical and colloquial, rural and urban – in a joyful and witty celebration of their continuing usage and unique character.
airt o’ the clicky – bawheid – carnaptious – dreich – eejit – forefochen – Glasgow kiss – haver – inkie-pinkie – jags – kelpie – loch-lubbertie – meevin’ – neuk – oxter – pawky – quaich – ramstam – simmer dim – tattie bogle – usquebaugh – vratch watergaw – yowe trummle
Their surface is a glorious tweed woven from tiny, living sphagnums rich in wildlife, but underneath is layer upon layer of dead mosses transforming into the peat.
One can, with care, walk out onto them, but stop and you begin to sink into them.
For time immemorial the peatlands have been places – for humans at least – of seasonal habitation but not of constant residence. In this book Robin A. Crawford explores the peatlands over the course of the year, explaining how they have come to be and examining how peat has been used from the Bronze Age onwards.
In describing the seasonal processes of cutting, drying, stacking, storing and burning he reveals one of the key rhythms of island life, but his study goes well beyond this to include many other aspects, including the wildlife and folklore associated with these lonely, watery places. Widening his gaze to other peatlands in the country, he also reflects on the historical and cultural importance that peat has played, and continues to play – it is still used for fuel in many rural areas and plays an essential role in whisky-making – in the story of Scotland