Saturday, 22 June 2013

Life on the Edge - The Breathless Press Blog Share

Welcome to Breathless Press Blog Share. Today I am giving my blog over to Clair de Lune.

Hadrian's Wall : Life on the Edge.

Hello I'm Clair de Lune, and new to Breathless Press. My short story "Life on the Edge" is in the editing stage, so I thought I'd take the opportunity today to tell you something about the background to it.

It's no secret that I am a grandma. Several times a year, I have the great pleasure of my 6 year old granddaughter L for a week's stay during the school holidays. Usually we plan some excursion, and last year was no exception. Romans are coming up on the school's curriculum, and this area is rich in their history. The Emperor Hadrian built a wall across the whole of the north of England to keep out the marauding Scots. A wall meant mile-castles, garrisons, soldiers and all their hangers-on. There are a few very good sites still in existence where you can walk the wall, and visit exhibitions. This, then, was the plan. It was a pleasant summer's day, not too hot and a nice breeze blowing, perfect weather.

I packed the picnic in the car and my husband and L too. We set off for Carlisle, five minutes later,

"Are we  there yet?"
"No, love, it takes thirty-five minutes." Five minutes later,
"Are we there yet?" and so on, you get the picture. 

We did arrive at last, parked the car leaving my husband to the peace and quiet of Classic FM and set off. She bounced I walked to the main entrance of Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. Once inside we visited the Border Reiver's exhibit then downstairs to the Roman one. Set out in the basement it is designed for young people to get the feel of what it was like to be a Roman. We dressed up in Roman and Celtic costumes. We built a section of the wall, and read about the daily life of the soldiers stationed there. Four questionnaires on the computers successfully completed, we got our Roman Identity cards complete with awful picture.
After purchasing a plastic sword and helmet, we returned to the car and set off for the Roman Army Museum. The plan was to picnic first then do the visit but, of course, L couldn't wait so we went inside. As we watched a film about life on the Wall an idea began to from in my mind. Not even holding down her seat, which was trying to fold up with her inside it, could distract me. Visiting the exhibits, reading the explanatory cards to her and answering a host of questions didn't stop the ideas flowing. Being an old-fashioned sort I always have a pencil and notebook in my handbag. The next film was a recruiting sergeant explaining the advantages of life as an auxiliary. I began to write furiously. I sat and scribbled as L revisited the exhibits, pelted me with questions, and threatened other visitors with her sword, as a soldier of Rome. Luckily there weren't many, and all were older so they were charmed rather than offended.

A plastic tortoise shield was added to the equipment before we had lunch. After the picnic I sat and wrote, and L looked at the book I'd bought for a friend's grandson in Australia. By the time we were ready for home I had the plot, characters, and situations worked out, but I didn't have an ending. Once home L sat and coloured in the sheets of Roman soldiers and Border Reivers, and I wrote scene after scene but still no ending. Several days later I was almost at the end of the story when the ending came to me. What was it? Well you will have to wait and read the story. I can tell you that I was a great admirer of Guy de Maupassant as a school girl and his "sting in the tail" endings. Mine is not so good as his by far, but it will surprise you. 

When you've read it come and visit me on Face Book, and tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing from you. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    What a great story! Looking forward to reading the book :D

    And congrats too, hoe the editing stage is over soon!