They climbed out of the car at Selkie Bay. Pulling on his coat, Roderick passed her a spare pair of gloves.
‘It’ll be freezing down there, and we might be a while.’
They climbed over rocks freckled with lichen, and down onto the rough sand. The tide was out, and seagulls were swooping down, searching for left over morsels. As they walked across the beach, Kate realised that most of the rocks were moving.
(from a few chapters on)
Locking the car, she clambered over the rocks and down onto the long, deserted beach. In the distance she could see the grey mounds which could be mistaken for huge boulders. Sitting down on a rocky ledge, she pulled her binoculars out of her pocket.
I have binoculars. It’s official, thought Kate, I’m a seal nerd. She scanned the beach. Since the first days when Roderick had spent time teaching her all about their behaviour, she’d loved coming to Selkie Bay with a flask of coffee, hands warm in fingerless gloves.
A group of three seal cubs were exploring in a rock pool, watched from a distance by their mothers who floated, noses above the water, in the waves. Kate watched them sniffing each other, biting and ducking. All of their play was vital, teaching them how to survive in the wilds of the winter sea. She sat watching them until her legs were stiff with cold and her cheeks were frozen with the wind.
Island life is like nothing else. Visiting the Island of Bute made my book real again, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.
If you’ve got a moment, can you pop over here and vote for Tales from the Village?
It only takes two seconds and you don’t have to register or anything horrible and I’d really appreciate it!
I’ve talked before about how much I love the Scottish Highlands.
Even with skies grey with thunderclouds, just escaping from the stress of selling our house made it the perfect holiday.
And if you don’t like the weather in the Highlands, wait a minute.
There’s a magic at Loch Ness. Huge water, huge sky. I’ve lost count of how many people have told me how much I’ll miss English village life when we move to Canada, forgetting that this is where I come from.
Taking my children to look for the Loch Ness Monster, just as my parents did with me.
And look, what’s that in the distance?
It’s so beautiful. If you haven’t been, go and visit. The Highlands are good for the soul.
Even the dog agrees. Look, she’s smiling.
Oh yes, and just before I go. I’ve been told off (or as we say back home, given a row*) for being a bit rubbish at the whole being-in-the-finals-of-blogging-awards thing. So if I can just say ooh, look at this:
and ask you to go here and vote for Tales from the Village in the best photography section, that would be awfully nice. Thank you. xxx
*That’s row to rhyme with cow, not row as in rowing boat. That’s your Scottish language lesson for the day.
Ooh, I love Ruby Ferguson. There’s something about her Jill books (you can find them here at Jane Badger Books if you need a fix). They’re gorgeously horsey and full of delicious food, and my obsessive reading of Ruby’s Jill books as a child is probably why I have a slight problem with remembering I don’t live in 1959.
Roz from Nail Your Novel (fab book, recommended by lovely Deerbaby) pointed out I’d missed Ruby from my comfort reading list. I think actually I could write a comfort reading list once a month, and never stop. I have shelves and shelves of books which are like old friends to me. Going to take photos of my vintage Penguin paperbacks soon so you can either scream in boredom or say ooh, how lovely.
Anyway, back to Ruby. Look what arrived today:
My friend Sara, who is lovely, sent me this as a cheering up present. It’s Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary a romance which was one of the favourites of The Queen Mother, who admired it so much that she invited Ruby Ferguson to tea at Buckingham Palace (I’ve been there, too).
It’s so beautiful.
Persephone Books are the vintage Penguin paperbacks of the future, I think. I want a whole shelf of them.
And look what else (I love it when the postman brings nice things, especially because our lovely postman always has a chat with me and the dog when he delivers them):
Tiny red crochet bunting, made from embroidery thread, which is hanging in our sitting room and looking very pretty. All the way from Wyoming, where lovely Jennifer lives. Her blog The Prairie Girl is here, and it is just beautiful.
I’m off to have a cup of tea now, and try out Ruby Ferguson for grown-ups.
Have a lovely weekend.
This blog only started in May. But I quite like the idea of doing a 2010 review, so I’m going to cheat a little bit. Shh, don’t tell. The first few links go over to my old blog, marathonmummy.
January saw me listing Ten Things I Love. It also saw me having a slight panic about running 26.2 miles. Not surprisingly.
February and my panic was calmed slightly with a lovely surprise in the post from my friend Julia, fellow mother of four, marathon runner, and author.
March I wrote a post dedicated to my sister Zoe.
April. Nothing much happened. Oh yes, apart from running the London Marathon in memory of my dad.
May arrived, and this blog was born. We headed up to the allotment as a family to plant potatoes and have a picnic in the sunshine.
June brought open gardens in the villages, sunshine, bunting, and an interview with Julia Williams where she talked about writing, Doctor Who, running, and falling in love with her heroes.
July saw the garden full of redcurrants and my most googled blog post (very odd) Redcurrant Jelly and Bossy Delia Smith. I’m not sure whether it’s bossy Delia or the redcurrants that get people going. I’m not sure I really want to know, either. Eek. I also was lucky enough to have an interview with Katie Fforde who has been one of my favourite writers since her very first novel, (ahem) years ago.
August came along and we visited my mum’s house near Mornac-sur-Seudre in La Charente Maritime and I took lots of photographs and did lots of reading and crochet and unplugged myself from the internet for a fortnight.
September – yippee, nearly autumn, my favourite time of year (apart from winter and spring, my other two favourites). That meant time for an autumn walk picking blackberries and the how to make sloe gin post. (It’s ready to drink now and is delicious. And very potent. Hic.)
October was half term and we took a visit to the Highlands where I took lots of photos (again) and got homesick for hills and heather and we visited Culloden Moor and it was very eerie and beautiful.
November was rather quiet round here because I was hard at work writing a book which is nearly finished now. And there are little snippets of it available on the blog if you want to have a look. this is one and this is another. There may be another one later today, too. Very excitingly I have an agent interested, so I’m really looking forward to 2011.
Here’s to 2011. I think it’s going to be an exciting year!
A month is a long time in blog world, isn’t it? Only 15,000 words to go until I reach my writing goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month. I miss taking photos and noticing nature. I miss my crochet. I miss sitting on the couch with a cup of tea reading blogs when I should be doing something productive.
But on the plus side, I’ve planned a novel, and created a world. Do you want a little sneak preview?
I had a house on an island in mind, and at 5.30 this morning I found this beautiful place: Glengorm Castle on the Island of Mull. It’s exactly what I was imagining, even down to the situation. Now I’m trying to work out how I can persuade Keith that I need to go to Mull to stay there for a weekend of writing and soaking up the atmosphere of an island on winter. Seeing as we spent the first years of married life on the Island of Bute I think it’s unlikely I’ll get away with it.
In my Island research, I discovered this blog – Save Ulva Primary School. Argyll and Bute council are planning to close a handful of small primary schools (age 4-11) on the Island of Mull meaning some children will have a 45 mile journey each way to school. They have a Facebook page here here, if you have a moment and want to click it that would be wonderful. To get an idea of what the proposed journey would be like, take a few moments and watch this video. Beautiful island scenery, but not a journey I’d want my children to take twice a day on ungritted roads in winter.