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By Alastair Reid
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Additional info for An Alastair Reid Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose
Our wandering life did impose certain restrictions: we could not, for example, have pets, because we moved in and out of the United Kingdom with such unpredictable regularity that the obligatory quarantine would have made them seem like children at boarding school. We had a more Hispanic attitude toward animals, looking on them as semidomestic creatures, whereas many of the English clearly prefer them to their fellows. <><><><><><><><><><><><> Inevitablyalthough there was nothing really inevitable about itwe moved.
Places are the incarnations of a modus vivendi and the repositories of memory, and so always remain accessible to their own children; but they make very different demands on their inhabitants. In Scotland, the sense of place is strong; when I had left that attachment behind me, I had a loose curiosity about new places, and I still spark up at the notion of going somewhere I have never been to before. Nevertheless (a favorite Scottish qualification), places embody a consensus of attitudes; and while I lived in a cheerful harmony with the places I grew up in, as places, I did not feel one with them.
To my relief, Jasper looked on Scotland as something of a comic opera, and I got glimpses of it through his eyes. He found its formality odd and stilted; he endured conversations that might have been scripted in stone. In a certain sense, he acknowledged it as my point of origin, but he made it clear that it was not his by suddenly speaking to me in Spanish in an overstuffed drawing room, out of pure mischief. That summer of 1970, after spending some days with my father in the douce green Border hills, we took a spontaneous trip to St.
An Alastair Reid Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose by Alastair Reid