Ancient history

I turned a year older on Monday, after a splendid weekend of housewarming and mooching round the Doors Open Day in town. This year I only made it to Riddle’s Close and the Wauchope Mausoleum, but that was enough to spark a couple of potential NaNoWriMo ideas. Things I got for turning older, for the nosy:

– Some original Kate Bush vinyl
– A square foot of land in Glencoe, with accompanying ‘Lady’ title
– A lovely bottle of champagne and a posh meal out

Things I didn’t get:

– A pet llama
– Worldwide authorial fame
– The midlife crisis Citroen CX5 of my dreams

Speaking of driving, I’ve started taking the car out once a week to a) stop it seizing up, b) remember how to drive and c) go to historic sites for ideas.

Yesterday I headed for Hailes Castle, a ruin associated with the Rough Wooing. East Lothian was gorgeous in the early autumn sun; the road runs close to the sea and through some marvellous rugged hills. That’s the fun drive. The less fun part was discovering there’s only one road to the castle, and it’s single track and covered in tiny paintwork-damaging stones. And closed just for one day. Ever done the world’s tightest 3-point turn in an 05 Ford Focus, while a disappointed-looking suit in a BMW waits to get into his country pile? You might as well book me onto the rally track now.

Born to be mild.

Born to be mild.

On the plus side, I spotted Traprain Law on the way back and parked up for a wander (read: pulled off into the car park with more faith in my brakes than most mortals should have). There’s lots of interesting history there, both Roman and more mythological. Historical fiction time, perhaps?

Now that it’s officially a month until NaNoWriMo, I figured I’d get some practice in. Some artists are declaring this month Inktober to do a drawing a day. I’ve decided to declare it National Short Fiction Writing Month. Or NaShoFiWriMo. Has a ring to it, no? I’ve taken the archive of prompts from the Scottish Book Trust’s 50-word story contest and every day I’ll try to write a short story based on one. The question is how short to make them. 500 words? Or stick to 50 words? For someone whose descriptions really make full use of Word’s thesaurus, this will be a real challenge…

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