Following yesterday’s note about three-letter place names, I feel I must enthuse about, and recommend, the latest addition to the groaning bookshelves at Haemoglobin Towers. I have only just started to read McKie’s Gazetteer : A Local History Of Britain, and am smitten (as I knew I would be). David McKie’s book is not a comprehensive guide, but a series of essays about places that have caught his interest for one reason or another. The piece on Aberdeen, for example, is largely devoted to a potted biography of Alexander Cruden, the self-styled “Alexander The Corrector”, compiler of one of the most demented works of scholarship ever fashioned, the Complete Concordance To The Holy Scriptures.

I clapped my hands in glee to discover that Jaywick had not escaped McKie’s attention. Though he does not mention the day the cows came visiting, he is a fount of information on that ill-starred seaside resort, including the fact that it was founded by a man whose nickname was Foff.

If you need any further persuading to buy this excellent book, bear in mind that David McKie used to write the Smallweed and McElsewhere columns in the Guardian, where, more than once, he made mention of Hooting Yard. Clearly a very sensible man.

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