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East Coast Story – the blog

The novel I’m working on involves the story of St Etheldreda, the daughter of King Anna of Anglia in the seventh century. Determined to be a nun, she managed to keep her virginity intact through two marriages and go on to found Ely Cathedtral. She travelled from Ely to Northumberland to marry a prince, then back again a few years later, pursued by her husband, the king.

The characters in my novel travel south with Etheldreda. I\’m absolutely delighted that last year the Arts Council gave me a grant to travel with her too. It was five hundred miles and took five weeks in five stages. You can read about it here.

St Abbs Thumbnail

On Wednesday Johnny, Wilf, Bet and I went for a walk around the headland at St Abbs, the northernmost extremity of my walk, and the place where Etheldreda lived for a large part of the time she was in Northumbria. (It’s in Scotland now.) It’s beautiful here. Cliffs and clear blue sea, huge skies. Ethedreda was under the [...]

St Abbs to Berwick upon Tweed Thumbnail

This week was mostly a holiday in Berwick upon Tweed, but on Monday I walked from St Abbs with Poppy and Mike, and on Tuesday I led a writing workshop at Berwick Library. Apart from the fact that some of the participants thought they’d come to a talk, the workshop went very well. One man said he’d opened up [...]

South Witham to Oakham Thumbnail

We left the Blue Cow through a gate in the corner of the pub car park and followed a footpath through some fields. This was fine for a while. We saw other dog walkers and it was obviously a popular morning stroll. Then the path reached a road and the other dog walkers turned back. The path was meant [...]

Woolsthorpe to South Witham Thumbnail

This would be a good way to spend an evening at The Chequers:  Arrive by car – someone else driving – in your glad rags with a friend or friends. Brings lots of money. Try one or more of their amazing cocktails. Order a three course meal. It won’t make you feel uncomfortable, because the portions are sized [...]

Byards Leap to Woolsthorpe Thumbnail

  After hot night tossing and turning, sticking to the sheets, our landlady asked us at breakfast if we’d been comfortable. Yes, except for the heat, I replied. Oh, didn’t you use the fan? she asked. Back in the room we discovered the fan in the wardrobe. I’m definitely checking all cupboards from now on. At breakfast we also [...]

Lincoln to Byards Leap Thumbnail

Today we set off from Waddington, just south of Lincoln, and walked along the Lincoln Cliff. More accurately a scarp, the Cliff is elevated approximately 80 metres above a landscape which stretches out flat for ever. The views were amazing. The sky was huge, the land went on and on, even though day was hot there was light breeze [...]

Lincoln Thumbnail

Today was our day off walking. In the morning, after a dog love-in over breakfast at our dog friendly B&B, I went to Lincoln Central Library to give a talk about my walk and the novel that will come out of it. It’s very odd to give a talk about a novel before you’ve written it. I [...]

Woodhall Spa to Lincoln Thumbnail

Our Bed and Breakfast in Woodhall Spa was called Oglee and was run by a friendly woman and her son Stephen. Stephen told us he had Aspergers, and many other things about his life, including his love of football and his cat Bagpuss. But mostly he wanted to talk to Betty. He appeared whenever she did, and she responded [...]

Donington on Bain to Woodhall Spa Thumbnail

Today was meant to be a long one. I measured it on my phone and it was nineteen miles. Johnny’s feet weren’t up to nineteen miles. I’d done a bit off research in the evening and decided we could walk to Belchford, get a bus to Horncastle, then walk to Woodhall Spa, cutting six or seven miles off [...]

Tealby to Donington on Bain Thumbnail

The lovely Irene packed us into her tiny car – four people, three rucksacks, two dogs, one of each of the latter underneath the parcel shelve in the boot – and drove us back to the path in the picture book village of Tealby. Irene has an Olde Worlde sign in her breakfast room saying No Singing, No [...]