Eye Watering stuff…

Any novelist will tell you that the prospect of not working on your novel is far more alluring than actually sitting down to write it. In fact I’m sure I’ve touched on this issue previously. Over the years I’ve heard all sorts of brilliant and successful writers (A.S. Byatt amongst them) extolling the virtues of housework, interrupted only by the pleas from their agents to get on and write the b………. thing.

So, one day, when indulging myself with one of my too frequent moanings to a good friend about not being able to get on with my latest literary ramblings, the idea came up that I would retire for a week to a flat just north of the Scottish border for a self-styled writer’s retreat. Great! I would get so much more written there

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In my excitement, I failed to remember two things: one that it’s a writer’s affliction to be curious (and enthusiastic) about absolutely everything, and secondly, quite often (and in my case, read that as extremely often) writers like to walk and think at the same time in order to plan the next literary steps.

I packed the car and beat it past the Angel of the North and the Farne Islands, past Berwick and over the Scottish border to find my allotted accommodation in a quiet village. Oh, and the occasional red lion…

Blog 3 AytonInternet was available, which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on one’s willpower. Mine was worthy of an Olympian Gold. Neither email inbox or Facebook were accessed prior to at least one p.m. Writing was done. Then exploring had to follow. And I’m not talking virtually. Out into the real world of…well, old cigarette machines, if you must know…juxtaposed poetically with rails for the disabled…

Blog 2 Ayton I soon got into the swing of things and headed for St Abb’s Head with its nonvertiginous sheep…

Blog 14 Aytonand the beautiful coast around Coldingham Bay…

Blog 4 AytonI couldn’t resist a trip round Berwick-upon-the-famous-Tweed, with its fortifications and moving borders…

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DSC08237…which over the centuries we have made such an effort to cross…

Then there was this particularly swanky spiral staircase…

Blog 10 AytonWith the aid of a book of walks, starting point Coldingham village, I managed not to be in front of that laptop for quite a bit of the week. I saw red deer, blue butterflies, any number of wild flowers including my favourite…harebells…not to mention a couple of beautiful inland lochs.  I even came across this…

Blog 11 Ayton…a stone, carved out to make room for a vinegar rinse into which visiting families in the time of the plague could drop coins to disinfect them in return for food from the villagers. Enough to make your eye water…

Blog 5 AytonAnd if you don’t believe me and you remain convinced I was slaving over a hot laptop and not walking that lovely coast at all, I even managed a selfie…sorry about the grimace!

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