(This article, written by Susan McMullan, was published in October 2012. Sadly, Hamish McHamish passed away on 11 September 2014)
They say Hamish belongs to St Andrews – but really we all know that St Andrews belongs to Hamish. With his big green eyes, shaggy ginger coat and fluffy white mane, it’s obvious from the outset that Hamish is no ordinary cat.
For the last 13 years, the wise old chap has roamed the streets of St Andrews and lived his life his own way – as a cat about town. He has become something of a local legend and enjoys an almost celebrity-like status. Adored by St Andreans, students and tourists from all over the world, Hamish brings endless amounts of joy to the good folk of one of Scotland’s most historic towns. He has his own seat in lots of the shops and offices around town, he likes to visit different houses to curl up and have a cosy snooze and he even enjoys the occasional
University lecture. There’s an unwritten rule here: if Hamish appears at your door, always let him in. There’s even a saying that a shop can’t be considered a true success until Hamish has called to say hello.
I wrote this book because Hamish is a remarkable cat and he deserves to be celebrated. Hamish is a fantastically intelligent feline with an incredible sense of kindness. With the loudest purr you’re ever likely to hear, Hamish will melt your heart in an instant. Even the most faithful of dog-lovers can’t resist his charms. He’s one in a million – a real treasure to St Andrews and all that it stands for.
As well as being a great big thank you to Hamish for being so ’purrfectly’ adorable, this book is very much a celebration of St Andrews too. The Auld Grey Toon is very special to me. It’s where my husband grew up, it’s where he proposed to me and it’s where we got married. It’s a truly unique town filled with lots of wonderful people and we feel very privileged to call it our home. The sense of community that Hamish brings to St Andrews is undeniable. One look at his Facebook page shows just how many people have grown to know and love him and everybody I worked with while creating this book was tickled pink by the news that Hamish was going to be honoured with his own book at last.
One of the other many highlights of writing this book was meeting and becoming friends with Hamish’s Mum and long-lost owner. Marianne is a hugely accomplished lady whom I admire greatly. In early kittenhood, Hamish decided Marianne’s house and garden were far too small for his wandering ways and so he left home to become St Andrews’ cool cat about town. Since then, Hamish hasn’t been home and instead, relies wholeheartedly on the generosity of the human spirit to get by.
And it’s because of the good nature of all those who live in St Andrews that Hamish is able to be the free spirit that he has so admirably become. Marianne trusts the good folk of the ‘bubble’ to take good care of Hamish, just as Hamish trusts them too. He has made the whole town his home and it’s our job to make sure he’s treated with the care and respect that he deserves and that we’ve always got a gourmet cat chew handy in case he decides to visit.
The perfect tribute to the veritable King of St Andrews, Hamish McHamish: Cool Cat About Town is a celebration of our wonderful feline friend and of the magnificent town that is St Andrews. Hamish McHamish – we salute you.
Susan McMullan is a senior corporate communications executive at Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International. She works with Scotland’s leading journalists and most successful businesses on a daily basis. A graduate of the University of Dundee, Susan is fully fluent in French. Born and raised in Broughty Ferry she now lives happily in the Auld Grey Toon with her husband and not-so-famous but much-loved cat, Holly.
You can buy Susan’s book from J & G Innes Bookstore in St Andrews and also from Waterstones stores in Scotland plus online.