We have started having our book club evenings a lot closer together, trying to cram in as many gatherings as we can before half of our group leave these shores, and a baby arrives. I have been on a recruitment drive and found us a few new members who attended our latest evening.
We met up during the week and we were supposed to have read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The thing is, it’s a really big book, which is fine if you have the time. Most of us don’t so a few of us decided to just watch the show. I know, we are not a very good bookclub but we do have fun, and that is our primary goal…
Outlander is about English woman Claire, a married nurse who while on her post-war honeymoon travels in time from Inverness Scotland in 1945, to 1743. Oh my goodness. I will put it up front. The nature of the storyline with the violence and gore is not my thing so I struggled with it, and it is not a book I would actually read for that reason. There is one part of the show however, that I did not, and do not struggle with and that is Jamie Fraser. Or should I say Sam Heughan, a very talented *ahem* actor. Well now, I want to remain dignified as I write so let me say this to you all. If you haven’t seen it, or been introduced to this young Highlander then get onto it.
I am not drawn to any of the characters. I do not feel any sort of connection however I realized that Claire is really an early kind of expat. She is English, in Scotland, and not only that, thrust back into a world vastly different to what she knows. There is culture shock, there is that fluster to learn as much as you can about the new culture, quickly so you stop making a twit of yourself. There is loneliness as you feel that no-one really understands and the way you desperately reach out when someone shows you the hand of friendship. There are hard learned lessons and unexpected joy (Jamie).
To finish off, I have a new found thing for that Scottish Highlander look, with that kilt and the scarf thing around the neck, and the whole ‘I’m so hot I have a kilt and a sword and live in the Highlands’ thing. The problem is that the lifestyle just does not suit me. First of all the lack of sanitation. Second of all the mud and murkiness, third of all the awful food and lack of yummy stuff like custard, chocolate, pizza, curry and, well the list goes on really doesn’t it. Finally, living in those times where every day is a fight for survival. Call me precious but it just doesn’t do it for me and I don’t fancy having my shirt ripped open to flash my less than impressive bosom at a salivating audience, every single day. Pity because I love the countryside and I’d love to hang out on those hilltops overlooking the Loch, having picnics with the breeze in my wildly untamed hair…I have that part down. If I were Claire and I fell through some rocks into the past, I would get my Highlander man and bring him back to my time, kilt and all and carry on that way, living in the countryside but in a cleaner, safer way. Of course she has to explain this to her present-day husband but let’s face it, he never had a chance. No one has a chance next to Jamie.