Just back from ten days at Melrose in the Scottish Borders. Here is our cottage.
We wandered around, leaving ‘Tom Fleck’ leaflets in likely places. Some were left at this posh hotel for salmon fishers at Dryburgh.
We had a good lunch, then walked the grounds.
Next to the hotel is Dryburgh Abbey. Earl Haig of WW1 fame is buried here – he asked for a gravestone of the design that marks the British fallen on the Western Front.
Sir Walter Scott also sleeps here.
The abbey is a bit of a ruin but, being north of the Border, was not knocked about by Henry VIII.
Sweeps of aconites – they like to grow where blood has been spilled, some say.
At this spot, beneath the Eildon Tree, back in the 13thC, a man fell asleep for seven days – he thought. He spent the time having a tryst with the Queen of the Faeries. He woke up seven years later with the gifts of rhyming and prophesy.
Eildon Hill looks down on the stone. My novel, ‘Tom Fleck’ will be reviewed in the Autumn edition of ‘The Eildon Tree’ – an arts magazine.
The Roman legions had a camp beneath the Eildon hills. Trimontium, they called it (Three Hills).
The site of their ampitheatre for games and entertainment. It overlooks the River Tweed.
Nearby is a railway viaduct that impressed Queen Victoria.
One evening, Susanne Lockie cooked us a splendid dinner at her home in Howick. Susanne was one of those who helped ‘Tom Fleck’ come to life. Here is her husband Paul, Susanne, and my good lady Beryl.
At Coldstream there is a memorial, a sword that points to Flodden Field.
Flodden Field and the little valley where I imagined Tom Fleck and his fellows took shelter from the Scottish artillery.
The Flodden memorial. On 9th September 1513 Tom Fleck stood to the right of this with hundreds of other archers. Further to the right, the contingents from Cheshire and Lancashire were overwhelmed. A farmer’s plough uncovered their burial pits.