Tag Archives: Travel

St Monan’s ~ One of the Gems of The Fife Coast

The folks of Edinburgh all know the secret of East Neuk, a coastal region in Fife where the estuary of The River Forth merges with The North Sea. Each village has it’s own character and features; St Monan’s being just one of those places.

Neuk is the Scots work for nook or corner,’ Wikipedia informs us, and the ‘corner of Fife’ aptly describes East Neuk, omitting any reference to its natural charm and beauty.

East Neuk stretches from Earlsferry and Elie (my last post) to Kingsbarns, and each wee place has a unique character. Incidentally Mac Duff is said to have fled from Mac Beth via the ferry to the southern coast of the estuary. Hence the name Earlsferry!

From Lady Tower in Elie and passing the ruins of Newark Castle along Rose Bay you have a fairly gentle walk to St Monan’s. The path follows the rocks below this tiny kirk at low tide, but there is a detour behind the village to avoid getting your feet wet when the tide is high.


St Monan’s Harbour

The colourfully painted cottages along the harbour frontage lead you towards The Smokehouse; a restaurant where you can eat out of cardboard boxes whilst overlooking both harbour and the view towards The Isle of May. Alternatively there’s the more cosy option of The Diving Gannet, a wee cafe just off the harbour. Both places are well worth visiting for much needed refreshments, but maybe on different visits!


My Husband Poised in Anticipation

Following the Coastal Path signs out of the village you pass the salt pans from days gone by, when Fife exported salt overseas. Then there’s the windmill, which has appropriately been turned into a lifeguard station, from which there are clear views in all directions, if the weather is fair.

It is good to pause and reflect a wee while in each of the fishing harbours of East Neuk; think on their similarities and difference, the ambiance and their sense of community; before continuing your journey along the Fife Coastal Path, which was the inspiration for my book.

Diana Jackson is the author of ‘The Healing Paths of Fife.’ 




Filed under Fife, Fife Fantasy, The Healing Paths of Fife, Virtual tour of Fife

Cross Genre, #Memoir, #Travel, #Motivational and Inspirational, #History ~ Why?

DSCN2797[1]Dear reader and writer

I posted a tweet about a week ago “Soon to be announced – launch of my Fantasy. It’s a bit of everything , .”

It may have been a coincidence but a day later there was a post on a blog I admire and subscribe to The Book Designer:

Thinking about writing on multiple genres – here’s what you need to know

Firstly – an agent and publisher does not know where to place it ~ or is to self publish best

I must admit that it has crossed my mind as to where bookshops would place my new book, and it is that market which I hope to tap into, as well as Amazon, but I reasoned that it was more a ‘gift book section’ since it is inspirational and motivational. OK – got it, but I am self publishing, or publishing through a small indie press, Eventispress, run by local authors.

Secondly writing what you are moved to write is not always the most productive for marketing purposes.

Will my current readers stay with me? Should I stick to the same genre  to be consistent and build up an audience. Yes, there is lots of sense in this but circumstances have meant that I have altered course. I will write this more fully on another blog post. Whether I am right to veer in different directions I’m not sure. I could give all sorts of arguments ~ this was a book I needed to write, I was so inspired by my surroundings that I could not help myself, I was grappling with ‘who I am’ and this just felt the right direction to go in and I’m thrilled with the result…

Thirdly I’ve not been true to my author brand.

I hold my hand up here. I’m not very good at marketing in a logical way. I know I should be more business like about writing but if I failed to enjoy what I do then I would give up. 

.Specialisation is one key to success.

I must argue that there is one theme running through all of my novels and books and that is my love of social history. If I visit a place the first thing I do is read about its past and its people. ‘Riduna’ and ‘Ancasta’ are historical romantic fiction. Norman’s memoir is of course history too – 103 years of it! Then ‘Murder Now and Then’ was inspired by an unsolved murder one hundred years ago and finally, ‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation’ is inspired by many folks through the ages who either lived in or visited Fife. In fact I ‘met’ them as I walked along the Fife Coastal Path. They were fascinating characters.

Branding is more than genre, it is style, characterisation and voice

Yes, I believe that the characters in ‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation’ are as true to my style as any of my novels ~ more so since the book is in part a personal memoir. My writing reaches from the depth of my soul in a way which I have not really experienced since writing ‘Riduna’ ~ that’s because it was written at a time of ‘soul searching’ and my encounters were as real to me as Harriet and her family in my Riduna Series, who have lived with me for about fifteen years now. It is truly my own voice.

I will finish with this wonderful quote from The Book Designer.

“But ultimately, your goal is to link your name to an organic and dynamic brand that’s based on you and arouses a positive, emotional experience for your targeted readership–regardless of genre. yes!!

By doing so, you can tie a common thread between all genres you choose to explore.”

I could not have put it better myself ~ beautifully written. I recommend reading the whole post for anyone interested in exploring different genre, or multiple genres. 

‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation ~ A Writer’s Fantasy Walk Along The Fife Coastal Path’ is now available as a paperback on Amazon.


Filed under Events, Fife Fantasy, Writing, Writing a novel

Mid Bedfordshire Murder Mystery Virtual Tour no3 ~ Haynes & Old Warden

This tour is by car, although there are many places en-route where you could follow numerous footpaths through the Mid Bedfordshire Countryside. We will begin at the crossroads at Silver End Haynes and take the route to Northwood End, passing the community centre on your left and The Greyhound Pub on your right.

Mid Bedfordshire Villages around Old Walden ~ Google Maps

Mid Bedfordshire Villages around Old Walden ~ Google Maps

At the junction on the A600, where cyclists park to test their skills in the wooded trails opposite, you drive straight on. This is a difficult junction so take care. Ahead the lane winds towards the village of Old Warden. Continue slowly, taking the corners carefully as you pass the disused railway bridges and then converted station house before the village sign comes into view.

Old Warden is a quintessentially English village with its thatched houses and cottage gardens, unspoilt by the passing of time. If the time is right the The Hare and Hounds is a pub and restaurant well worth visiting, whether it is to have a Hare and Hounds, Old Wardencoffee or cold drink in their well laid out gardens or a light or more substantial lunch. In the photo the Mk2, which features in ‘Murder, now and then’, has decided to do just that.

At the end of the village you will pass the gated entrance to Shuttleworth College and The Shuttleworth Collection, although the entrance to the aviation museum is a mile further along the road. The lane continues with two sharp right angled bends where, on a Sunday, you might be charmed by the site of cricketers at play, completing the perfect English village appeal. There is a track opposite on your left up to the church, where you could pause and take a circular walk through surrounding countryside and village – there’s a handy map in the church car-park, which you can use at a discretionary charge.

Back on the lane, as you leave the village, you can enjoy the best views of Shuttleworth College, a Jacobean style Victorian building with a tall tower and imposing chimneys. The entrance to the aviation museum, which will have a post of its own on my tour, is further down the hill, but if you take the next turn on the left your route will continue through arguably some of the best preserved villages of Mid Bedfordshire. First there’s Ickwell Green famed for its gatherings on May Day with Maypole and Morris Dancers. Next is Northill and if you take a left turn here it will wind its way to Cople, another charming village. Turning left again towards Cardington along the Cople Road you can continue until you are suddenly in awe of the Shortstown Hangers in front of you. (You will have seen these at a distance in my last post) I do not believe that anyone could be unmoved by the sight of these vast structures, which speak of aviation vision in times gone by and of the R101 airship, when so many lives were lost. (Shortstown will also feature in an individual post at a later date.)

Continuing along this lane you might spot the entrance to Warden Abbey Vinyard, a local community winery now run by volunteers – its sparkling wine chosen by the Queen Mother I believe! Rumour has it that this year’s harvest has been so good that there might be a 2014 sparkling. I do hope so!

This lane runs parallel to the A600, but it is a much more pleasant route for an afternoon’s ramble amd it will lead you back to the Old Warden Road. A right turn will take you to the crossroads on the A600 and Haynes, the start of this circular tour.

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Murder Now and Then, Virtual Tour of Bedfordshire