Having lived in The Scottish Highlands now for four years, I thought it was time to celebrate Burns Night in traditional style. A Burns Supper, no less.
Now, I know I am not the first one to write about Burns on this blog. Scotswoman Joanna gave the lowdown on Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) and his comic poem Tam O’Shanter in an earlier post, which you can read here. She also gave us her own modern take on it, in a short story.
The first “supper”
This was in fact a memorial dinner. It was held on 21st July 1801 at Burns Cottage (built by Burns’ father and where the bard was born) in Alloway, South Ayrshire. The idea obviously caught on. A Burns Club was formed in Greenock and held a Burns Supper in 1802, and in 1810 London held its very own Burns Supper. Rabbie was doing well!
So, when our local pub, the Badachro Inn, decided to hold a Burns Supper, we had to sign up for it!
Home again, and celebrating another voyage of discovery, complete with devil and postman. Don’t you just love it when you are driving along and suddenly discover something new?
That is what happened to me when I recently travelled back from my writers’ retreat with the Liberta Hivies (and a few others).
It was a dreich day…
Despite the weather, we were taking the scenic route home…
What I didn’t know at the time was that this was the old coaching road. Mailcoaches used this road in the 19th century to carry the mail between Dumfries and Edinburgh.
We have all seen pictures of the mailcoach dashing through the countryside, horn blaring, but did you know there is a monument? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out more about that. Continue reading →
I am a storyteller. Does that have to mean research overload?
Storytelling is an art as old as time. I make up stories, tell yarns.
I am not an academic, I didn’t go to university and I didn’t study the art of writing at any college. I remember telling stories in primary school (possibly it began even earlier, I can’t remember) and I learned my art as I went along. Still do, in fact.
So I am NOT telling you how to write (or how to read). I am talking about stuff that distracts me when I’m reading a novel. Things I try to avoid.
“Write what you know”
We have all heard that old maxim, but whatever genre you write in, you will come across something that needs you to do a little research. At least, that is my experience. Continue reading →
In May this year we booked a holiday. To explore the scenery, landscape and, of course, the history of the Outer Hebrides. It was not intended as a Jacobite tour, but from the very start we kept bumping into Charlie! I knew some of his story, of course, because I researched much of it while writing my Highland Trilogy. Two of the books actually mention Bonnie Prince Charlie.
In the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie (Almost)
Following Joanna’s wonderful blog on pheasants the other week, another food-related post. About gardening. Sort of.Well, more a ramble, really, but there is some (vaguely) writerly stuff at the end. Promise.
Gardening? I am “NotAGardener”. There, I have said it.
“NotAGardeners” will know how inadequate they feel when they see a well tended veg patch, straight lines of leeks standing to attention, beans and peas running riot over a network of canes. Lettuces, cabbages, potatoes – to say nothing of herbaceous borders bursting with colour, flowers waiting to be picked to adorn the dining table. It would be (naturally) groaning under the weight of food I have grown, harvested and prepared with my own fair hands.
Earlier I caught up Louise for a natter and I thought you might like to listen in….
SM It came as a most delightful shock to me when I discovered I had been nominated for the RNA Awards this year. To be honest, I have been so involved in my latest book that I had forgotten all about submitting Cinderella and the Scarred Viscount. How did you feel when you heard the news? Something like this, perhaps…?
LA Stunned, to be honest! I’d forgotten too, having agreed to a very tight deadline on the book I’ve just delivered. It came as a shock, but also a huge boost because I had just reached that ghastly stage with the current book when everything seemed to be wrong with it. It was such a joy to realise that sometimes I can write things people enjoy. Continue reading →