As a reward for all our hard work at the unit, we managed to spend an hour or so at Abbotsbury, the location of my third novel and work- in-very-slow-progress, The Right Place.
It really is my favourite place in the whole world. I am still genuinely heartbroken when I think about our aborted house purchase in the spring: we would have lived 20 minutes away from Abbotsbury...
The ancestral landscape is magical - there is an eeriness to the place, an inexplicable otherworldly quality which I will try to capture in my novel.
On Saturday, there was a lone Post-it note stuck to the rugged wall next to one of the niches. It illustrates well the small passage below, taken from the first draft of The Right Place.
The recess was crowded with messages and tokens of fervent faith in the powers of the saint. Some of the wishes had obviously been scribbled in haste in the midst of some sort of emotional whirlwind, on the first paper support the writer had found: a sticky note, the torn lined page of a notebook, or even the back of a supermarket receipt, often in biro or pencil. Then you had the ones that had obviously been composed carefully, thoughtfully. Those had been written down on the back of a postcard purchased in a local art gallery, on letter paper or on a posh bit of card.
Often, the words matched the traditional prayer word for word. Some other times, people offered their own, extended version of it, adding their personal preferences to the established verses. The most demanding ones went on for ages.
This little hollow, carved in the southern wall of the exposed chapel, would at times reveal so many snapshots of human stories. Kat had often stood in front of it and quietly read the messages to St Catherine which were sometimes accompanied by a few extra items: coins, ribbons, feathers, small candles, and always dried butterfly wings, tragically decaying and mixing with the stone dust on the rough surface of the recess... At times, there were pictures that would stare back at you almost too intensely – it would get too unbearable.
More about events, published books and work-in-progress very soon!