Gosh, it’s been a while since I posted. I have a wonderful excuse – I wrote a book. Well, that’s a little bit of a cheat. I wrote the first draft of it years ago, but it wasn’t right. So now that I’m learning the art of editing, I ditched half of it, totally re-wrote one character, and altered another. I don’t think I could have done if I hadn’t have left the manuscript alone for so long.
It’s still in its early stages, and needs plenty of ‘word massaging’, but hopefully it might give me more options for exploring the less wonderful world of publishing.
As for the rest of my time – life stuff, including a holiday in Scotland and another in North Wales. I saw plenty of my favourites things: castles and abbeys. Here’s the first…
Threave castle was built in the 14th century on an island in the River Dee by Archibald Grim, Lord of Galloway. It’s a hard to reach place even today. If you ring the bell, the boatman comes across and in small groups ferries you across the river to the island (This is after walking across a few fields of farmland). Threave is probably an old Welsh word for homestead and the land around was settled by Gaelic speakers in the 7th Century.
The castle became the stronghold of the Black Douglases – the earls of Douglas and Lords of Galloway, who supported Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Independence. However, they came to an unhappy end. At the Black Dinner in 1440, the young earl William Douglas and his brother were invited to dine in the company of a bull’s head, which is the symbol of death. After a mock trial, both boys were beheaded on the spot and their castle surrendered to the king. By 1455 James II of Scotland had overthrown the powerful house of Douglas and the castle was besieged, captured and turned into a royal castle under the care of the Lord Maxwells. Eventually besieged again during religious wars, it fell into ruin and remains isolated. This is to the advantage of the local wildlife. Peregrine Falcons nest in the roof tops (so we couldn’t climb high up, only down into the basement), and nearby were nesting Ospreys.
It was a little damp when we visited, grey and overcast.