‘When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord
An float the jinglin’ icy boord
Then, water-kelpies haunt the foord
By your direction
And ‘nighted trav’llers are allur’d
To their destruction…’
Address to the Deil by Robert Burns
It’s been a frenetic couple of weeks since the launch of my debut novel Love Until it Hurts. The seed of the novel was sown on the MA in Creative Writing programme at Bath Spa University. Three years later, after forensic critiquing, razor-edged editing and much sweat and tears, the completed work has been released. I have been delighted with the response from readers, and the writing community, and grateful for all the kind comments I have received.
I was in Scotland when the publication went ‘live’ and that, perhaps, was fitting, given that a significant proportion of the story’s action takes place there.
Heading north, out of Glasgow, my first stop was the Kelpies. In Scottish folklore the kelpie is a mythical water-horse, notorious for luring children and unsuspecting passers-by to their death by drowning. However, the kelpie’s bridle was a highly-prized possession, commanding the strength of ten horses to whoever could get their hands on it.
The modern Kelpies, constructed from steel, stand thirty metres tall next to the Forth and Clyde canal. Described by designer Andy Scott as ‘proud equine guardians of Scotland’s inland waterways’ they glittered in the autumn sunshine on the clear, bright morning of my visit.
Next stop on the itinerary was Dundee. Jam, jute and journalism were, at one time, this city’s claim to fame. Now add to that the V and A Museum, which opened in 2018, showcasing the best in Scottish design. Its rugged silhouette, jutting over the Tay, emulates both Scottish sea-cliffs and the hull of a boat. At the heart of the V and A, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room is definitely worth a visit. Originally commissioned as a tea-room interior in 1908 by Miss Catherine Cranston for her Ingram Street restaurant in Glasgow, the original fittings have been conserved, restored and reconstructed and feature as one of the V and A’s highlights.