Published: 26/02/2014 12:36 - Updated: 28/02/2014 15:06

Glimpses of a harder but more innocent time

A HIGHLAND writer’s reminiscences of life in the northern Highlands in the years after World War II has won admirers on the far side of the world.

Now 74-year-old Willie MacKenzie hopes some more readers closer to home will enjoy his look at the Highlands’ recent past, Where’s Home?

"It’s been well received. I’ve even had emails from Australia and Canada about it," the Golspie resident aid.

"I think it would find a readership across the Highlands and even across Scotland because it is just a look at a period of time after the war. I called it Where’s Home? because when my father was in the army, we lived in Proncey near Dornoch and I knew nothing else, but when the war was finishing, I was told we were going home and my question was: ‘Where’s home?’ And it ended up it was Ardgay, over by Bonar Bridge way."

The book, which was released last year in paperback and electronic formats, is the third written by MacKenzie. He has previously published two novels, including one inspired by his service in the RAF, Bitter Fruit, but this is the first time he has attempted non-fiction.

However, MacKenzie nursed literary ambitions from an early age and recalls his disappointment at being refused permission to meet the Scottish author Erik Linklater while at school. The nearest he came to seeing the famous author was inspecting his car — and being rather disappointed that it was a dirty Sunbeam Talbot.

The tales in Where’s Home? — which is subtitled Glimpses of a Boy I Used to Know — date back even further to a time before the arrival of electricity and television changed the way of life in the Highland glens forever.

"There’s fishing and bird-nesting and school, dog trials and hoeing matches — anything I could lay my mind to," MacKenzie said, though he added that he did not want to reveal too much about the book’s contents.

"I let it speak for itself. When I buy a book, I refuse to read the blurb on the back. I read the first page and see if it grabs me."

Where’s Home? by W.A.M. MacKenzie is published by Elgin-based Bright Spark Publishing priced £5.99 (paperback).

Copies can be ordered online via Amazon and MacKenzie’s own website http://www.wammackenzie.co.uk

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