It wasn’t really a writers’ retreat after all. We did set foot outside the caravan, it didn’t rain all the time and I didn’t get a lot of writing done. Well, not actual writing – I did get quite a lot of thinking done, which isn’t always possible at home and definitely isn’t the case at work. Even better, it was thinking that was closely focused on my most recent mystery novel and which helped me to untangle a couple of plot tangles. All that’s left to do is to re-write what was originally the final chapter, and write a proper final chapter in which everything is wrapped up and explained in the Poirot tradition, although probably not in the library of a stately home or the lounge of an exotic hotel, or on a cruise ship or train of any kind. When the people who inhabit Pitkirtly want something explained, they usually go to their local pub, the Queen of Scots.
We did quite a bit of walking, and I did some swimming. We visited Holy Island and were impressed by the atmosphere, although the aspect that overawed us most was the weather (see photo below). At one point it seemed as if we were going to get caught in the middle of a massive storm, but my son pointed out that it was moving sideways behind the island and not actually coming towards us, and indeed after reading some tweets later we discovered it had actually visited Edinburgh and the East Lothian coast, and after that it must have just sidled out to sea, missing Holy Island by a short distance. I wondered if this happened every time, as if St Cuthbert’s spirit was on the lookout and would always command the storm to avoid his holy place, but there was a smaller downpour later in the afternoon as we sat in the Panda reading our Kindles and waiting for the causeway to re-open, so apparently the island doesn’t always escape.
We discussed the idea of living on Holy Island, and whether it would be a good environment for a writer. The remoteness and lack of other distractions might seem ideal, but the deciding factor seems to be whether it has broadband or not. I don’t think either of us could survive without the internet.