Simon & Garfunkel, ‘Bookends Theme’ and Meeting Duncan, All Grown-Up

I have another blog which is really a fan site for my favourite local author, Jane Duncan, who died back in 1976 but still has a loyal following. Last Saturday the weather was glorious, so we headed across the Kessock Bridge to the Black Isle (it’s not black and it’s not an island, more a peninsula, but these old names take hold), which features in all her stories. The plan was to visit the cemetery where she is buried, and then head towards the village of Jemimaville where she lived for many years, in the house she built by the shore.

We had just wandered down one of Jemimaville’s many side lanes to visit Jane’s old house, when we spotted some people doing a spot of gardening, no doubt ‘the big tidy-up’ ahead of winter. Conscious of the fact travel restrictions are in place around the country at the moment, I wanted to reassure them we were local, so stopped for a wee chat. It turned out it was Neil, Jane’s nephew, who became immortalised in her books as one of ‘The Hungry Generation’. He and his lovely wife now live in the village, and were happy for me to take a picture.

Neil aka ‘Duncan’, with his wife

For someone who has a whole blog dedicated to Jane Duncan and her books, this was quite something, and an encounter I hadn’t expected when we headed off that fine day. Once home I revisited My Friends the Hungry Generation and remembered it had been signed by Neil and his siblings at the 2010 event, marking the centenary of Jane’s birth. Here is that book with its beautiful cover by Virginia Smith.

That’s ‘Duncan’ in the middle, pushing the pram

But this is a music blog, so what better song to feature than Bookends by Simon & Garfunkel from their 1968 album of the same name. It appears twice on the track listing, as the first and last song on side one. The song is a brief acoustic piece that ‘evokes a time of innocence’. Apt when writing about a book set in 1956, which recounts the adventures of a lively bunch of Scottish children.

Bookends Theme by Simon & Garfunkel:


As you may have noticed I have abandoned my attempt at becoming a daily blogger for a month, as I seem to have picked up an injury. You probably don’t consider blogging a dangerous pastime, but rather than suffering from writer’s block, I’m currently afflicted with writer’s neck (too much time sitting in front of the computer). I’ll carry on posting in short bursts, but it’s still not going to be easy. Hat’s off to those who manage it.

Until next time….

Bookends Theme
(Song by Paul Simon)

Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

17 thoughts on “Simon & Garfunkel, ‘Bookends Theme’ and Meeting Duncan, All Grown-Up”

    1. To be honest I didn’t know about Duncan and don’t have it in my library. Not sure that the Duncan I met on Saturday is akin to the one in the song, but thanks for pointing it out!

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        1. Those two I do know, of course. Will have to investigate Duncan further as I keep returning to Paul Simon songs in this blog. He’s had a bigger input to the ‘tracks of my years’ than I suspected.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an unexpected but lovely surprise. I hadn’t realised they had retired to the village. Funny to meet people in real life who are immortalised in words in a novel – Great for the grandchildren.

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  1. Chapeau indeed! For the life of me I don’t understand the concept of a daily religiously updated blog (unless it’s a conventional day-by-day diary). I struggle with many 24/7 365 days a year blogs where the authors are visibly floundering and struggling to come up with meaningful or engaging content. I realise this won’t make me very popular, but it’s like your favourite meal – as much as you like your steak/curry/pizza/whatever, you wouldn’t want to eat it every day of the week.

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    1. Some blogs suit being updated daily (and we know of a fair few) but I realise mine is best suited to being updated weekly. I just wanted to join in with the NaNoWriMo people on my college course, and knew I wouldn’t be writing a novel, so told them I’d do this instead. A fair few seem to have dropped out already though.

      Something I do like about daily blogging however is that you can be topical. Often, by the time I get round to writing about something it’s no longer topical, so I’ve missed the boat. But, I don’t want to bore people with too much steak/curry/pizza, so if I do keep up the challenge I’ll post in bursts so that only the latest one is current and the rest will be in the archive. I have a large daily wordcount to achieve for my course so it all helps.

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      1. A friend of mine has recently finished the first draft of his first novel and is sending it across for me to read in bundles (usually five chapters in each email attachment). Each chapter is probably twice the length of one of your blogs; I’m 20 chapters in and although I don’t know how many chapters/bundles are still to come I’m enjoying it immensely – that’s what I’ll be telling him, anyway!
        Like you, he sets himself a daily word count and tries to stick to it come what may. I admire both of you.

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  2. Daily blogging is a discipline. I think many do it because they want to test themselves in the same way a runner wants to get in his three miles every day. If daily bloggers find that challenge rewarding, who am I to judge? I would never be able to do it. I want blogging to be fun. For me, it would feel like a job. If I had to do it daily, the passion I feel for sharing music would diminish. If I want to post, I post. If I don’t, I don’t. That works best for my personality.

    Your trip to Jane’s village was a great read. I didn’t know about your other blog. Paul Simon’s Duncan is a song I think you’d really like. Some fine storytelling there from one of his best albums. Hope your neck feels better.

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    1. It is indeed and I can be disciplined if I need to be, but my kind of blogging works best when I’m not under the cosh. I have written something for today but will include it in a batch with some other stuff in a day or two – Fulfilled the remit of my challenge but not bored my readers with YET ANOTHER new post!

      The other blog is here: https://homagetoreachfar.com
      I haven’t been updating it much of late but that visit to the village on Saturday was lovely and although Neil/Duncan will find it hard to believe, for a fan of the books, meeting one of the actual characters was really quite something. I wonder if he knows about the Paul Simon song. Being the age he is, he probably does. Great story song as ever from Mr Simon, with a great sound to it.

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    1. Great art! None of that around here I’m afraid. Yes, not many of us keep up the daily regime and of the blogs I follow regularly there’s only CC and yourself (some of the time) – It works well for CC as his is very much a music blog with a daily pick of songs and a short intro. It works for you because of Sat Snapshots at the weekend and then the other series in the course of the week. Name That Tune is growing arms and legs already though. You should have picked something like Euphemia for next week (but not as much fun granted).

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