Towards The End

I’m almost at the end of my holiday now. Our time away was a fantasy writer’s dream – we followed a trail through the Black Wood of Rannoch, we lived in a woodland cabin where there was a real wood fire to be tended, we walked in the woods by Loch Tay and came face to face with a deer, we found out about how Iron Age people made holes in stones and carved wood. I very nearly wished I was a fantasy writer so that I could make the most of all these experiences. But I’m much too lazy for that – why make up your own world when you haven’t exhausted the possibilities of this one yet? (Of course, I realise that in a sense all writers do make up their own worlds.)

forest trail

In the Black Wood of Rannoch

In spite of not being a fantasy writer I did find it inspiring to be away from home and from the daily routine, and I managed to get nearly to the end of my edits, leaving only a couple of things to research online once I got home. My netbook made heroic efforts to connect to a wi-fi network that seemed to be in range, but it kept being rebuffed. I was quite glad of this as I had been convinced it would be good for me to have time away from the internet.


I will spend the rest of the weekend trying to catch up with basic things like making sure there’s enough cat food, getting rid of the more obvious cobwebs and hacking through the part of the garden that the neighbours can see – the last of these is more to justify having badgered the local council into giving me a garden wheelie-bin than because pleasing the neighbours is actually top of my agenda. In addition I hope to incorporate the results of my research into my novel – who knew that being an accessory after the fact was called ‘art and part’ in Scotland? – and select a final cover image for it. By the way, if anyone reading this knows that ‘art and part’ is some sort of joke made up by Wikipedia please do let me know as soon as possible!

Wood burning stove

The wood fire blazes into (temporary) life.


2 responses to “Towards The End

  1. What a great phrase! A quick from here (Stateside) came up with the following:

    ART AND PART, Scotch law. Where one is accessory to a crime committed by another; a person may be guilty, art and part, either by giving advice or counsel to commit the crime; or, 2, by giving warrant or mandate to commit it; or, 3, by actually assisting the criminal in the execution.
         2. In the more atrocious crimes, it seems agreed, that the adviser is equally punishable with the criminal and that in the slighter offences, the circumstances arising from the adviser’s lesser age, the jocular or careless manner of giving the advice, &c., may be received as pleas for softening the punishment.
         3. One who gives a mandate to commit a crime, as he is the first spring of the action, seems more guilty than the person employed as the instrument in executing it.
         4. Assistance may be given to the committer of a crime, not only in the actual execution, but previous to it, by furnishing him, with a criminal intent, with poison, arms, or other means of perpetrating it. That sort of assistance which is not given till after the criminal act, and which is commonly called abetting, though it be itself criminal, does not infer art and part of the principal crime. Ersk. Pr. L; Scot. 4, 4, 4 ; Mack. Cr. Treat. tit. Art and Part.

    A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.

    I also wrote to Michael Quinion of World Wide Words fame, to see if he knew the origin. Sounds so like “part and parcel”, but I don’t imagine there’s any connection.

    Your description of your stay in the Black Wood of Rannoch sounds magical. Now I have another place to add to my list of places I’d love to visit!

    • Thanks very much Peggy – this is really helpful! I also loved the phrase when I found it, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard anybody use it. best wishes, Sheila ps the whole Loch Tay and Loch Rannoch area is lovely – we also went to the theatre in Pitlochry and I wished we had had time to go to Rannoch Station as well – there is a great tea-room there and you can walk out on to Rannoch Moor which is really wild.


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