Friday, June 22, 2018

Hunting for inspiration.

I recall a few weeks ago that I was writing about being at a cross roads in life and career,  and people wanting this and that, and me having no idea what was going on. Well the universe has stepped in, working its magic in mysterious ways. 

So my car failed its MOT spectacularly- seemingly headlights are not supposed to be under water, and I had a huge split in my crank/drive/prop shaft. Some thing technical anyway. Cost of repair £1200. 
Value of car £104.
Cost of car when I bought it as a stopgap 9 years ago...£1000.

So no complaints really.

Buying the new one was more complex- nobody has any new cars for sale if you want them sometime before 2025. I found some money I didn’t know I had. So I bought a nice second hand one. Got home ..that same day… to a letter from the accountants to say 'We were right, the tax man was wrong and we do owe him the extra funds.'

 So THAT’S what that money was doing there.

Well I have the car so the revenue can go and raffle.

And I got a very nice green light for the next two books. The first of those is a standalone ( why did I agree to this Stan? Michael? They are hard to write!)

I needed to find the exact location of the house where it all takes place, and ever hopeful of a film deal I wanted it to be at the top of the Holy Loch. The Holy Loch sounds good doesn’t it, for a place of evil in a beautiful setting.

So today we set out in the new car, in search of the ‘three lochs’. It turns out there is a drive now ( like the 500) called the Three Sea lochs. Basically as the Clyde turns right (?) from the ocean to head into Glasgow, it feeds three fingers of water at that point ( and another 13 lochs elsewhere) ; the Gare Loch, Loch Long and the Holy Loch.

Sounds lovely, but they are very deep and very protected by the geography of the area. So this is the place where the UKs only nuclear submarines park up. The Holy Loch used to be the home of the US naval base but they have gone, leaving a lot of broken hearts, kids with no dads and strange boxy housing schemes in the middle of no where.

The economic deprivation since they have left has been some of the worst in the UK.

On a happier note, here  are some pics of what I found.

First stop Helensburgh.  The three fingers are laid out on the opposite side and it is a very long way round.( In Scottish terms, not American scale. It's not Texas!)

This fence goes on for mile after mile. I did catch sight of a football pitch behind it.
You can guess what it protects.

Ahhh, the Gare Loch itself.
(All pics taken  from the drivers seat of a car going at 40 mph)

Head of the Gare Loch- top of the first finger.

And now the road heads inland, missing out the second fingertip. This is Glen Croe and the infamous Rest and Be Thankful road which features  in The Night Hunter.

Still trying to repair the rock fall that happened in The Night Hunter

A wee  Marle Sheltie. Cute but nippy.
There is a famous Botanical garden up here, something to do with the rainfall and warm air coming up the water.
This huge garden is right at the top of the Holy Loch  ( the third wee stumpy loch) and is about 80 miles into the drive. What a fascinating place, but more about that later. I'm looking for ideas and inspiration for 'Megan and Carla' who both grow up at the head of the loch, in a big house and I need a river or a pond to set on fire. As you do!

This could be an ornamental pond near 'The Italian House' but not big enough for my evil purposes.

A sign from above. Attempted murder !!

I could give the family this summerhouse for 'Sound Of Music' type assignations. 

Ohhh, I so wanted this to work as 'The Italian House', it's a youth activity centre within the Botannics.

But the lower part of the house looks better, this suits my plot.

And I can use this in a later book. It's very Heathcliff/ Katherine.

My characters have a park in front of the house where the grass rolls down to a 'watery thing' but the water cannot be fast flowing. I will give them a few trees like this to add atmosphere.

Imagine looking out this window and witnessing a murder!

The northern tip of the Holy Loch... all very sandy and not suiting my purpose at all.
Then I found this flowing into it.....  BINGO!!

Time for Ice Cream and the ferry home.
Far too tired to write anything!
Word count of new novel. zero.

Caro Ramsay 22 06 2018


  1. Caro, I will not make a crack about those blue sky pictures. The places you show are lovely and will make a great backdrop to one of your black-as-night stories. Happy travels into your new imaginary setting!

    1. The sky was blue, the sun was out and there was a windchill factor of minus ten! But as a research trip, it was fabulous.

  2. At least you only had to drive a couple of hundred miles (about 20 Texas miles) to find the location for your stand-alone. Our South Africa location is about six hours drive from Joburg (and longer from Minneapolis). The other locations for the book are Geneva and Ho Chi Min City. We skipped the Geneva trip. One of the most memorable things from HCM City were the scooters - like a huge swarm of angry bees and probably more dangerous.

  3. Stan you could set your next standalone somewhere more exotic. It could be about a serial killer who stalks the greatest golf courses in the world, bludgeoning his victims with a niblick and burying them in bunkers. Think of the fun you's have doing the research!

  4. I've no doubt that stand alone or home alone, you've got a loch on this story line. I'll go to my room now.