Up to Islip

Rosalind Mitchison

  • An Old Man’s Diary by A.J.P. Taylor
    Hamish Hamilton, 155 pp, £8.95, April 1984, ISBN 0 241 11247 8

The examining in my university is over for the year. After the usual haggling – ‘is this worth 69 or 70?’ – with nasty points of principle raised and evaded, the lists have been signed, and that is the end of what a colleague once described as ‘the annual session of egg grading’. We are free to go to the hills, equipped with walking boots, a hotel booking, a Highland bus time-table and the literature for the West Highland Way. So we drive to Kinlochleven, eat a hurried sandwich and set off in sunlight up through the mixed woodland on a track created by an occupying army. Soon we are on the open hillside watching the blue shadows of the clouds on the mountains. Later in luxury in an Appin hotel I can settle to a collection of diary pieces from our most distinguished modern historian, A.J.P. Taylor.

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