It was lovely to finally stop off in Abbotsbury again last week to go and have a quick look at St Catherine's chapel, the setting of my third novel, The Right Place.
I am glad to say that the broken window which had stayed boarded up for months and months has now been replaced and light can again pour into the small space.
Some tourists must have left the outside gate open as there were some, erm, fresh clues to a wandering cow's presence inside the chapel!
I was delighted to see a new batch of messages in one of the niches written on an array of different supports, very much like in the excerpt of the book I have posted on The Right Place's page (you can read the whole extract on the page).
The now familiar prayer had been committed to a glossy thick cream-coloured card; the black gel ink hadn’t entirely dried yet and some of the curved letters still glistened in places. Underneath the five verses of the traditional prayer to St Catherine, patron saint of spinsters, a woman had applied her red lips: here they were, round and full in all their painted glory, the ruby-red outline shouting sassiness and vitality: not at all the kind of mouth Kat had thought would belong to someone so desperate to get hitched that they would appeal to a fictional religious character. And yet, Kat couldn’t help feeling a certain sadness as she contemplated the lonely wish card left behind in the small niche, with an unlit white tea candle and the still-fresh head of a red rose for only companions.
At other times, 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 some kind of emotional whirlwind, on the first paper surface 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 at the back of a postcard purchased in a local art gallery, on letter paper or on a posh bit of card.
The Right Place, first draft
I will keep going back over and over again throughout the next few months to absorb the atmosphere of the place.
Unfortunately, I still haven't found the time to sit down and add to my word count! But spending an hour in Abbotsbury and actually walking in the landscape I am writing about really helps with inspiration and I am planning on getting started again in early September.
I think therefore I write.
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