One of the joys of writing Homage to Caledonia was the written correspondence that trickled in once it had been published.
Letters came from relatives of those who had gone to fight or nurse and those with queries or corrections. There was also one from a man asking me to write to the Morning Star and assert Glasgow Rangers’ anti-fascist credentials, but let’s not go into that here.
The signs are that it might just be the same with Stramash: a fortnight ago I received a letter from a Queen of the South fan who had been attending games at Palmerston since 1946; then last week a missive from the father of the word ‘stramash’, Arthur Montford.
As I banqueted on his typed words, I may have been mildly excited. The content was fascinating, the praise flattering; my forehead tattoo of ‘A truly splendid book – Arthur Montford’ is so far turning a lot of heads, I can tell you.
In old clips, Montford’s voice and his poised yet dramatic phrasing had long made my heart sing (that and my appalling diet). Anyhow, I could go on, as Mrs Stramash has found out since the letter arrived, but here are a few lines contained therein:
Your chapter on my home town team Morton was outstanding, a wonderful blend of the town’s history and the glory years (and not so glory years) of the team. The club chairman Douglas Rae and I watched our first match in 1942 and, during the war, watched Stanley Matthews and Tommy Lawton playing in a Morton forward line.
Cowdenbeath was a gem. I once described Central Park as ‘the ground time forgot’ and got a going over on our next visit and one musn’t linger in case you get attacked by the stock cars coming in at 4.45.
All in all a perfect tonic for this afternoon’s cold. Log fire, kettle on, dog stretched out…a truly splendid book.
Cloud nine? I can just about make it out from up here.