Dorothy Dunnett Society Edinburgh weekend

The AGM weekend will be just coming to an end, and hopefully everyone has had a good day at Stirling Castle as the heavy rains of Friday and part of Saturday thankfully made way for a bit of sun.

I very nearly didn’t make the weekend at all. Away at a wedding last weekend I picked up a virus and spent the week in bed – worried that I wouldn’t be able to give my scheduled talk on Marthe on Saturday morning. As it turned out I made it, but it was a very close run thing and I had to skip the Friday night opening meal to ensure I was sufficiently recovered for the Saturday.

The first two Saturday speakers gave us talks on the archaeological work that’s been done at Stirling Castle – useful preparation for the Sunday excursion – and then after a short coffee break it was my turn. Fortunately my voice held up sufficiently to get through it and I was happy to hear plenty of good feedback. It remains to be seen whether I converted anyone to my point of view since most people seemed to start with fairly negative views of Marthe, though a couple did say they would be reconsidering their opinions on their next read. I’ll be posting the text of my talk here soon so you can all judge for yourselves.

The afternoon talk was by Dr Jennifer Scarce on Ottoman Dress and how it was used to differentiate the various levels of society. Shortly before the end I found the effects of the virus catching up on me and headed for home for a couple of hours of much-needed sleep so I could return for the evening meal, and only just woke up in time to make it back. An excellent meal and stimulating conversation, along with a short talk by Judith Wilt and presentations to Simon Hedges and Olive Millward brought the day to a satisfying close; well a least once Ann McMillan, Simon and I had indulged in our now-traditional discussion on politics in the bar afterwards. 😉

Simon and Olive

I must say a few words about these two stalwarts of the society. Olive, having organised many AGMs previously, responded to the call and stepped in again this year with her usual efficiency and flair. She’s even managed to sort out next year by persuading Kathy Lewis into taking on the job.

Simon was stepping down as Chairman after a very successful tenure. A long standing committee member he had previously been Secretary, always a difficult job in any organisation, before following me when I decided to step down due to insufficient time. During his chairmanship the society has moved forward substantially and, while all the committee members deserve credit, much of that is due to his stewardship. How he’s managed to combine it with the very complex organisation of the Dunnett Siege of Istanbul which is due to occur later this year I don’t know, (Olive is of course involved there too) but it’s been an astonishing effort and he will certainly be missed. All our thanks are due to them both for many years of sterling work.

The last few months have been so busy for me that I was horrified to realise during the dinner that I hadn’t contributed to Simon’s book of thanks, so I hope he’ll accept this as my way of saying thanks for all his work for the cause of Dunnettry.