What does it mean to be Scottish?
According to the film Trainspotting (and I’ll paraphrase by removing the expletives)… It’s not great being Scottish. We’re the lowest of the low! The scum of the Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash, that was released into civilisation!
For others, it means having an enduring sense of optimism in the face of adversity, such as that eternal hope of hopes that somehow, just somehow, on the off chance that the national football team qualifies for a major finals, we can progress beyond the first round, for the first time ever.
Whatever it means, author Barbara Henderson has tried to find the answer in her book Scottish By Inclination.
She fell in love with Scotland and its people when she left Germany at the age of 19. Now a children’s author, storyteller and teacher in the Highlands, Barbara offers us a lively glimpse of Scotland to see ourselves as others see us, through the eyes of an EU immigrant – from her first ceilidh to Brexit and the choppy seas of citizenship.
She looks at the stresses caused by Brexit, and how it directly affected her life, as well as many others, who had to apply for settled status.
Scottish by Inclination also celebrates the varied contributions of 30 remarkable Europeans – beer brewers, entrepreneurs, academics, artists and activists – who have chosen to call Scotland home, after leaving counties as diverse as Spain, Sweden, Malta, France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Italy and Finland .
Barbara’s love of Scotland always shines through, especially when she admits: ‘Gradually, I forgot I was a foreigner.’ The book’s dedication says it all – ‘To all the Scots, by birth or by inclination, who have made Scotland home for me.’
Scottish By Inclination, by Barbara Henderson, published by Luath Press, £12.99.