Book Reviews: Stories Touched with the Blarney; the Book of 1000 Beautiful Things and Other Favourites by Hugh Robinson. Published by Ballyhay Books. Pounds 9.99

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THIS collection of short stories by the award-winning author Hugh Robinson is a follow-up to his best-seller Back Across the Fields of Yesterday. Hugh will be familiar to listeners to Love Forty on BBC Radio Ulster hosted by Walter Love.

In the programme, Hugh has related many stories of his childhood growing up in Ballyhay near Donaghadee. He has penned more of his reminiscences in this second volume.

Hugh writes with a down-to-earth style enriched with a touch of the blarney, and jogs our memory with stories of a byegone age.

With his opening story he pulls at our heartstrings with the tale of a Belfast street urchin and his painful efforts to buy his first book at Barney's, Smithfield Secondhand Bookshop.

He conjures up a vivid picture of Belfast in the hungry 30s with the comer shop, selling Mrs Cullen's headache powders, toffee apples, brandy balls and liquorice pipes.

We are taken on a 'wee night out' with a group of labourers in the building trade. With great humour and perception in this narrative we can relate to their antics on the dance floor to impress the 'weemin'.

Inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol Hugh gives us several stories focused around Christmas. …