‘I realise that you are spending months inside the tie cupboard, selecting the aeroplane ties to be dispatched to retired Wing Commanders and I acknowledge your quiet despair. But rest assured, you will progress.’
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John Keay speaks with James McConnachie about hands-on historical researches from the Himalaya to the Highlands, his best writing advice and the idea that what historians really need is not more documents but stronger boots.
‘You form a band with other girls and write song lyrics instead. You walk this flimsy tightrope; eager to do well yet terrified of being ostracised as a brain-box.’