Following the deaths of my mother-in-law and of my friend Angus Calder last week, I was shocked to hear yesterday of the death of my old friend Brian Osborne.
There’s a fine obituary to Angus in today’s Independent, but I want to say a bit more about Brian. He was, like me, a librarian, and he and I worked together on many projects within the Scottish Library Association, which we both served as the organisation’s President on different occasions. For the last seven years we alternated writing the Endpiece column in the profession’s journal – Information Scotland. We were both heavily involved in literature – me in poetry and Brian in the Neil Gunn Society, the Robert Louis Stevenson Society, and a prolific author and editor in his own right. We got together as often as we could – East meeting West you could say – and I enjoyed his warmth, his wit, and his positive outlook on life. He died on a visit to the old Silk Road city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The news came through as I was about to set off for my mother-in-law’s funeral in Whitburn. I said some words at the burial, and I officiated (if that’s the right word) and read Jane’s eulogy at the funeral service afterwards. It was therefore a very personal funeral, and a moving one for all those present.