Book is a warm, wry look at the vicissitudes of life

Cats, Clouds and Flatpacks! by Magnie Shearer. Published by The Shetland Times Ltd, £9.99.

Brilliant. This little book is a warm, wry look at the vicissitudes of life.

If you’ve ever thought you are the only one to get locked in an airport toilet, have problems with a jacuzzi or fail miserably when photographing a cloud formation then this book will reassure you. You are not alone!

In a series of anecdotes capturing the essence of Shetland life (and life in general), Magnie manages to put into words the feelings that often remain unexpressed. Each story is complete in itself and it would be possible to dip into the book as time allows, but you’ll probably get engrossed and read it all in one go.

Magnie starts by describing the total and utter frustration of waiting for a fog-delayed flight at Sum­burgh. Thirty-six hours later, or thereabouts, when flights are back but priority is being given to hospital patients, he is desperate. “I considered phoning Cornhill to see if they have any spare places …”

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, he has to endure people sympath­ising about the perils of flying in mist.

But once the plane has landed (“like a bouncing bomb” – why do we have to take our lives in our hands on virtually every trip?) he enjoys the everyday pleasures of being on holiday. He eats pizza, has a few pints and catches up with relatives, making a few observations about Americans, Glaswegians and others in passing. His experiences there are nothing to those in Amsterdam and Barcelona, how­ever, prompting friends to say: “We never have eventful holidays like you.” They probably do, it’s just that Magnie can see the funny side.

Life is just as pleasant, but fraught with minor problems, back home. He tells tales about a determined scorie, a lost dog and most of all, his constant companion, a cat with attitude. He survives the dreaded flatpack challenge but nearly comes to grief in a hippo suit. This laugh-out-loud episode is arguably the funniest in the book and a real tonic.

Magnie started the book as therapeutic tales to cheer up a couple of friends. All are upbeat, lighthearted and reveal his likeable personality.

Laughter, as he says on the cover, is a contagious emotion and can make you feel more alive. A few minutes laughter can make you feel good for hours.

This easy-to-read book will have you grinning all the way through.

Rosalind Griffiths


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