A delivery of books

A friend posted a splendid video onto FB this week. Titled ‘a murder of crows’ it set me thinking about collective nouns.  A bank of monitors, a range of mountains, a troop of mushrooms, a rope of onions and a coterie of orchids immediately sprang to mind.
Then came a ream of paper, a budget of papers, a string of pearls and of course a pod of peas.

A phantasmagoria of phantoms and that collective-term an anthology of poems followed close behind – and why wouldn’t they after all.
It set me thinking about a visit to the high-land of Tibet a few eons ago.
After a good few frustrating days in Nepal awaiting a visa – my partner of the time had somehow alerted the Chinese authorities to the possibility that the trip had a hidden political agenda, which it did not – and despite the best possible planning, the prospect of entry to the land of the Yeti seemed already to be in jeopardy.
This was a shame since I had simply thought that we were off to experience a holiday in a magical and strange land. And, of course, we had risked that frightening flight from Doha into Kathmandu. If you’ve never flown into Kathmandu I recommend that you take out a really good insurance policy complete with death benefits. The city lies deep within a range of hills and flying in involves plunging from some dizzy height down into a mountain valley at an angle of some twenty degrees to the horizontal. On top of holding on by the seat of your pants, the traveller is treated to an aerial view of a runway perimeter strewn with the burned-out wrecks of aircraft which fairly obviously didn’t quite make it in one piece. Not an experience for the faint hearted I can assure you.
On arrival we disembarked and after various customs formalities made for the taxi-rank at the airport exit. Imagine my surprise when we were met by a soldier armed with a sawn-off shotgun at the door to the car-park. There had been recent unrest of course, and security was on high alert. But a sawn-off shotgun amidst a crowd of arriving travellers seemed like a step too far and I recall body-swerving the man as fast as decorum would allow.
Anyway, we did eventually make landfall in Lhasa and, perhaps in a later blog-post more will be revealed. But back to the collective noun theme. Following on from that murder of crows it occurred to me that the Tibet trip had involved a ‘convoy of army trucks’. So, perhaps the holiday did in fact have a political overtone.

As for ‘a delivery of books’, I now have a supply of the second reprint if you are needing. Or you can simply order via Amazon by using the following link: The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire

Duncan Harley is author of The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire plus the forthcoming title: The Little History of Aberdeenshire - due out on1st  March 2019. Both titles can be ordered via Amazon.


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