You know how it is, one minute you’re restoring a castle in Sutherland and the next you’re being mistaken for an erotic fiction writer in North Carolina.
As if Lady Carbisdale didn’t have enough on her plate, she’s had to ditch her name, Samantha Kane, to stop people confusing her with a US-based raunchy book author of the same name.
“People Google me and her name comes up,” explained Lady C. “They then say, ‘I didn’t know you wrote those books’.
‘Those books’ include The Courage to Love; At Love’s Command and Mission to Love and you can see why that could be embarrassing for her ladyship, who is also a barrister.
People might mock the lack of imagination in using the word ‘love’ in three different book titles and wonder why she can’t use a thesaurus.
Unfortunately, by having the story appear online, Sutherland Samantha has likely forever linked herself to US Samantha as far as search engines are concerned.
On the plus side, I’ve just ordered Mission to Love on the off-chance it’s a chick lit version of Mission Impossible which sounds like just the sort of literary combo that’s been missing from my life.
Discovery at Neolithic site
But enough about that and the grand Highland pile of Carbisdale Castle and on to the ruins of a 5,000-year-old tomb discovered in Orkney.
Pesky Victorian antiquarians almost destroyed the Neolithic site by moving things around and not keeping a log book and while I’m outraged, I’m just as much of a slacker when it comes to paperwork.
Archaeologists have called the find “incredibly rare” with dig director Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark saying: “It’s incredible to think this once impressive monument was nearly lost without record.”
In Aberdeen, locals are less impressed with more modern monuments as they gave their opinions on up to eight high-rise flats which could be demolished.
Some P&J readers welcomed the idea of bulldozers moving in on Gilcoumstoun Land, Greig Court, Hutcheon Court, Marischal Court, Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Thistle Court and Virginia Court while others raised concerns about people still housed there.
Daniel Corr wrote: “Where will everyone go?” while Morag Forsyth said of the towers: “They look like something out of Soviet Russia.”
As we’ve seen with the Tetris movie, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as Jon S Baird shot his film in the Granite City for that very reason.
But as one resident pointed out at the time: “Aberdeen City Council should be ashamed these flats were able to look like they were in 1980s Soviet Russia without them even doing anything. All they did was put up some Russian posters on the walls.”
Design has a massive part to play in quality of life, but it can only take you so far before the issue becomes purely social.
Take the space outside the St Nicholas M&S in Aberdeen and the discussion about how to deter anti-social behaviour and problem drinking there.
These are societal issues but one proposed design solution is to change the benches.
While I love a proper evil bench which, through ingenuity of design, discourages gatherings but provides a temporary perch for weary shoppers, I doubt it’s enough.
I believe the secret to improving this space and Union Street, is to eradicate smoking because the smoking bone is linked to all the other anti-social bones plus it makes street shopping so unpleasant.
Canopy could be key
An opaque canopy would place the apron of paving indoors while creating a bright, semi-outdoor space for stalls and events.
We already have this at Marischal Square, around the leopard, which has opened up opportunities for ‘outdoor’ seating and performances.
The need for food banks cannot be solved with clever design so I was pleased The Haven in Stonehaven, with the Co-op, has launched a community fridge after its larder closed due to rising costs.
We shouldn’t need such a facility but sadly we do, and instead of writing about it, The Haven and food banks across the region get on with it, and I applaud them.