Rose­mary Gor­ing

The Herald - Arts - - BOOKS -

Last win­ter, as traf­fic slith­ered through slush and ice, I told my­self that if the bus broke down on my way home I could, at a pinch, walk the six miles from Ed­in­burgh city cen­tre to Mus­sel­burgh. It might not be the most scenic of routes, at least not un­til one reached Por­to­bello and the sea, but it was re­as­sur­ing to know that of­fice and home were within a self-suf­fi­cient range, how­ever chill­ing the trudge. The same so­lu­tion, for in­stance, as one's train grinds to a halt out­side Berwick, is not avail­able.

A su­perb es­say by nov­el­ist Will Self in the lat­est Lon­don Re­view of Books is a re­minder of how lim­ited our per­sonal stamp­ing ground has be­come in the age of petrol. Time was when any self-re­spect­ing trav­eller would have plod­ded miles with­out a mur­mur. Self's most re­cent book, Walk­ing To Hol­ly­wood, was his

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