I have a serious case of wanderlust. It’s an affliction that’s infected me in recent months and a habit I’ve happily become a slave too, for this addiction always, always helps to satisfy creative cravings.
Eating breakfast one morning, I found myself drawn to the local paper and followed the instinct inviting me to read it. Scouring the local ads, I found myself reading about a community gathering at the local park and another for an open day for gardens in the local area. Without any concrete plans, I made a mental note to visit both events, conveniently held at different times.
The next day dawned sunny and humid and in the afternoon I joined the crowds walking along to Dunniker Park. Finding myself amongst a plethora of voices and the blast of a horn from an ancient fire engine surrounded by eager kids waiting on their turn. Then there was the Scottish drums that swirled around the air and matched the beating of my heart. Surrounded by a birds of prey display, pony rides, ice cream trucks and children’s teacup rides, I found myself in the middle of a gathering and unexpectedly thrust into my story. I morphed into my central character, feeling overwhelmed in the midst of the community she once belonged to but no longer feels part of. I felt her adrenalin and nerves as she holds the intense gaze of the man she once loved and lost. Smiling, I began walking home having received what I’d needed.
Sitting at home feeding my caffeine addiction, I initially changed my mind about going to the gardens until curiosity won and I gathered my constant travelling companions, a notebook, pen and camera, and made my way to Wemyss Castle Gardens. Parking my car, I proceeded to the able and sought permission to take some photographs. Walking into the property, I found myself drawn to a cluster of trees. Sitting in the thicket of a forest and with my legs partly covered by lavenders and sunlight fighting its way through the branches I felt more peace than ever. I didn’t want to leave and I did what I always do in these circumstances, I took a photograph and captured the moment, just as my Nana had taught me too.
Reluctantly leaving faerie glen forest, I made my way down to the walled garden and entered another magical world. Stone seats buried within lush green hedges, flower arches leading the way along an intricate circle pathway, statues giving 19th century selfie’s and stories that whispered into my ear and shared their secrets. I smiled as I realised I’d finally found the gardens I was looking for. Watching a documentary recently about the history of the legendary Hyman’s Gardens in Sussex, I realised I needed a garden for my next fantasy faerie tale and, as always, circumstance found a way of giving me what I needed at the exact time I needed it.
To help you understand, Wemyss Castle Gardens is a private property and to visit you need to send an e-mail asking permission. So my unplanned visit, was serendipitous. Walking from the walled garden, I laughed as the penny dropped. This place, with its beautiful forest, spellbinding garden and the castle that bore the crest of the Firth of Forth waves was familiar because they were steeped in my family history. My ancestors had been here. From childhood, my Nana has told me stories of her “Granny at the Toll” referring to the ancestral home in West Wemyss that had been betrothed to my descendants by the Laird, motivated according to family lore, by a deed of courage by my great granddad Jock Dewar. There is a particular funny story about his daughter, my Great Granny Betsy, who was friends with the cook at the Castle and once when the Queen Mother was visiting, she lay on the ground outside the dining room to get a peek of the visiting royal eating her lunch. Walking back to the car I laughed, understanding the instinct that had brought me here to this place and would return me back home to my laptop. Sometimes, to take a step forward you need to return to where your story, your history, started in the first place.
Inspiration comes to me in different places. The most surprising is my car. I love to drive. Seeing my car keys as another passport to feed my wanderlust. I love the thought of getting in my car and going wherever I want to go. Paris is next on the list. I can see myself driving around the Champs-Elysees and having a whale of a time negotiating the mad traffic there. After that, I’m planning Route 66. There is nothing more pleasurable in life than driving with the window down, the wind blowing your hair around your face and listening to music … loudly as it only should be. It’s in this space that I’m given the unforeseen, characters names, plots and storylines, that literally pop into my head without warning.
So, if I could leave you with one parting wish, I would like it to be this; trust your instincts. Listen to the ghost in your head, and spark a conversation with your twin flame, compelling you to share all things all at once, wholly and forever. Your instincts will take you to the unexpected, secret places where your story is waiting to find you. Close your eyes and listen to the murmurs telling the tale. Then open your eyes, and write your story. I just did.