Since I sometimes talk about my strange encounters on Glasgow's number 62 bus, I thought I would mention the strange-but-nice happening as I travelled home from a hospital appointment yesterday. I was sitting next to a woman who was carrying a couple of bags of shopping and a bunch of pink roses. I was listening to my ipod when she tapped me on the shoulder. We exchanged a couple of polite sentences about the snowy weather and the filthiness of the bus windows and then lapsed into silence again. When she got up to leave she thrust the bunch of roses into my hand. "Here, I want you to have these" is what I think she said. I was too gobsmacked to properly register and all I could manage was a shouted "Thank you" as she got off the bus. I came home with a smile on my face.
I wish I knew why she gave them to me. Could she just not be bothered to carry them home? Had she bought them, only to remember that all her vases were already full? Had they been given to her by a man she'd just dumped? Had they been given to her by a lover and she was wondering how to explain them to her husband? Was it some test (that I presumably failed)? Was she just a really nice woman who likes to surprise people? Have they been coated in some horrible slow-acting poison that is now working its way through my system? I've plumped for the 'really nice woman' theory. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know I was wrong.
And now, on to the links.
2010 is the year to be cultured in Fife. I'm saying nothing about 2011... UPDATED: Please don't let this put you off. Fife is a lovely place to visit. Link courtesy of anonymous Fifer (who I will simply refer to by the anagram CLEANS LEMURS).
An interview with young adult novelist Gillian Philip over at booksfromscotland.com, another with Peter May at The Big Thrill. And Charles Cumming talks to Crimestoppers.
Louise Welsh in Beijing on March 13th.
Alexander McCall Smith tells The Hindu that he likes writing. Well, with umpteen squillion books a year, that's a relief.
Win books by Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith at a charity ceilidh. And, talking of Ian Rankin, he tells a newspaper in Sri Lanka how, as a child, he used to make up stories about an imaginary pop group called The Kaputs. Bless.
Controversy continues over the future of Scottish publishing.
I love this story - a woman tunnels her way out of a Dutch prison with a spoon (no mention as to whether it's tea, dessert, or table). The article says the woman had 22 months of her sentence left to go. I wonder how long she had left when she started (via @crimeculture).
And, finally, from the Herald Diary:
"We hear the folk in Airdrie are in a state of shock over the news that guns used in a gangland killing were found dumped behind a library in neighbouring Coatbridge last week.
They had no idea that Coatbridge had a library."