Scotland in your pocket

Posted by Stuart Lennon on

The Commonplace Notebook

Monboddo, a name so Scottish, it has been lost to history, but it has a tartan. So explained the mighty Scrib, proud of the tartan to which his name entitles him.

Dr Fleet, resident of Scotland, spouse of a Scot muses whether the commonplace notebook may be a distant ancestor of the Bullet Journal.

My father was born and bred in mid-Lothian and despite leaving Scotland in his late teens, retained a Scottish burr to his dying day. For as long as I can remember, I have claimed Scotland as my home, despite never living there and being equally entitled to claim Ireland, Wales or England as my ancestral origin. I suppose this makes me a Scot by inclination.

Unlike Scrib - I’ll don a kilt at the drop of a hat and add a drop of whisky and I’ll scream “Freeeeeeeeedom” on command.

Amanda and Scrib covered the specifications and performance of this notebook, very well. I have little to add.



Excellent specs apart, I love how this notebook makes me feel. Why?

Margaret, my wife, is a Sicilian, born in London. Her first visit to Scotland was at my side. I took her to Edinburgh for the Military Tattoo. As we walked the Royal Mile toward the castle she commented,

“You can have no doubt where you are, here.”

As ever, she was spot on. Everywhere was the skirl of the pipes, the Saltire, the Lion Rampant and tartan. Miles of it. Of all colours.

See tartan, think Scotland. It’s automatic. I pull out this book, and all around people think Scotland. I like that.

The touch of it. This is a notebook wrapped in cloth. It feels different. It feels lovely.

Open the book, and read the title page. “Commonplace Notebook”. What’s that? Look it up. Feel inspired. Feel part of a tradition that spanned the new and the old worlds. Find alternate plain and ruled pages. Note something. Sketch something. Design a thing.

With the Tartan Cloth Commonplace Notebook in my pocket, I feel clever, smart, ready to do something important.

Ted and Adam of the Take Note podcast keep Commonplace Notebooks, and start each episode reading an excerpt or two to each other. This is very much how these books were used in the 17th century, although not on a podcast. Obviously.

Go have a listen.


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  • Lost to history? How dare ye, ya wee sleekit beastie! But never mind – at least I’ve found the perfect venue for the next editorial meeting: https://www.monboddoedinburgh.co.uk/

    Scribble Monboddo on

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