On the day that I retired from the NHS, after more than 25 years as a doctor, our postwoman delivered a present. It was from Alexander McCall Smith and included a copy of one of his recent books: Pianos and Flowers.
Pianos and Flowers is a wonderful collection of short stories of the romantic kind. Alexander McCall Smith imagined each story – beginning with his careful observation of a still photograph. I recall when I first met Alexander McCall Smith: he invited me through to his study and asked me to choose a photograph, he then went on to create a story based on that image: told just to me, there and then! It was a tonic of the best kind.
The stories in Piano and Flowers will also do you good. Few writers have Alexander McCall Smith’s ability to convey the feel and beauty of humanity.
What follows are a few passages from Pianos and Flowers. This is not a review. I do not really do those. However as a maverick artist I like to present a little of what mattered to me – hoping that this ‘personal take’ – begins to share the wonder of the writer’s imagination. As ever, I use words in images, and images in words in what I put together. This is a way of presenting that I learned in Little Sparta. I hope that you will forgive the Artist if you find the unsaids and unknowns between each image interrupting. Not all can be easily explained.
However, stories told by a true storyteller can mean more to us than we are able to say! Thank you Alexander McCall Smith.
It has been recalled, perhaps not entirely correctly, that Cleopatra’s Needle was destined for Bridge of Allan! However it did not make it beyond the banks of the Thames.