Undiscovered Treasures No 23

Tragic day. The killing of Benazir Bhutto demonstrates how quick and easy it is to undermine the stability of a society, how every atrocity sets up another set of hurdles in the way of political settlement. But in the end, people have to deal with one another, make settlements, build peace.

Meanwhile, we gripped the Walking Guide in our teeth and discovered Balmerino on the north coast of Fife. A lovely walk along the shore towards Wormit and Newport-on-Tay ending at the great Tay railway bridge. The guide says that you can still see the supports of the first bridge – whose collapse was celebrated by William McGonagall:

So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.


  1. I did a funeral a few years ago of a man who was, humourously, accused by his son of writing “sub-MacGonagallian doggerel”. I confessed that the works of MacGonagall were outside my experience, the following week a copy of the Collected Works, purchased in the Oundle School shop, came through the post. It was astonishing that he was still in print!

  2. Indeed it will “be remember’d for a very long time” There’s something about crossing that bridge (and no other) that gives me the shivers, and I wasn’t here when it fell down ….. I’m not that old!

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