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Autobiography & Biography, Biography, Local History
Publication Date
03 July 2014
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

A Grass Bank Beyond

Memories of Mull
by Fionna Carothers - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

In Four Ducks on a Pond, Nicholas the Cat, assisted by novelist Annabel Carothers, observed his family of humans and animals during one year on the Ross of Mull in the early 1950s. More than fifty years later, Annabel’s daughter Fionna discovered the manuscript in a desk drawer and, while preparing it for publication, was inspired to expand on the theme.

A Grass Bank Beyond covers an extended period before mains services and frequent ferries brought about change to the Ross. Fionna remembers the freedom she enjoyed roaming the island on foot, bicycle, pony, or boat. On family outings she absorbed stories and legends about the island, attended agricultural shows and local concerts, and saw the Queen arrive for an official visit to Mull at the height of a great storm. With warmth and gentle humour she describes the solutions which overcame problems living in this beautiful but remote place.

Fionna Carothers is the daughter of novelist Annabel Carothers. She has had very different careers: freelance fashion model, wife and mother, gift shop manager, word processor operator for firm of quantity surveyors among them. In 1993 she qualified as a Blue Badge guide at Glasgow University and has worked as a guide throughout Scotland and North America for twenty years.


2 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Jacqui Henness
Nov 3, 2014
I too have just read this delightful book in one sitting - finishing just now at 04.40! Knowing the island of Mull quite well, visiting every year for the past 20 years, I found the book fascinating as I could follow the paths and roads taken and visualise it so clearly. Things have changed so much during the last 50 years, but many of the places and views remain unaltered. Many thanks to Fionna Carothers for a wonderful book about "Old Mull".
MJ Ketterer
Sep 9, 2014
I read this book at a sitting, and with enormous pleasure. Ms Carothers has a beautiful prose style, lucid and elegant, and a natural ear for the rhythms of the language that is rare today. She evokes an era and an ambience otherwise lost forever, and invests the narrative with the magic of a born storyteller. It’s a humane, poignant, joyous memoir of a time quieter and more civilised than the present, before Dr Beeching's cuts cancelled permanently the direct trains between London and Oban, a time before mobile phones made people unmannerly, before vacuous 'celebrities', and Health & Safety. How many are so lucky to have lived a childhood idyll like this? Highly recommended not just for historians and those involved in tourism but also for the general reader in search of something new and fully alive.