There's still lots to tell about my trip to Scotland!
First of all, my visit to the Kilmartin Museum was more than remarkable. Dunadd, where I set my book and where I was staying for a week, is the most important of the ancient monuments that dot the six mile-long valley called these days Kilmartin Glen, but which in my book is called "The Valley Of Stones." Archeologists come in from time to time and excavate another of the burial cairns or stone chambers, and they have also from time to time taken their trowels to Dunadd. Some of what they find is housed in the Kilmartin Museum, which also boasts an outstanding little tearoom. Every time I go home to Argyll, I pay the Kilmartin Museum a visit, because it has provided me with good source material for my writing (and because the scones are the best!) In my book, Veil Of Time, one of my main characters Jim Galvin works there, and it is in the tearoom that he has tea and scones with my protagonist Maggie.
Anyway, this time, I also wanted to sound out the lady (also named Claire) who acquires books for the museum shop and see what the prospects were for her carrying my book. So, not only was she willing to do that, but she had already heard of the book. (Another lady on the till taking entrance fees turned out to be the mother of my brother's childhood friend, and she let me in for free.)
I took my little party down to the museum housed in the old Kilmartin church manse (such a nice little irony!) and began to explain to them some of the features that had informed my book. A lady volunteer (doing the job of my Jim Galvin) approached and asked if I was Claire McDougall, saying she had read my book and loved it and was quite effusive about the chance meeting. Made my day.
On to the tearoom. Sitting there, looking out through the oversized windows first to an 8ft deep pile of stones known as Glebe Cairn (where a burial chamber and necklace of jet was found), and then to the walls of the tea room, I noticed a couple of pieces of art. The first one is this:
You can't tell from this picture of the running shoes, but the title of the piece is "Time Traveller." I remind you that time-travel is one of the main features of my book. Then above my head at the table where I was sitting was a painting of Dunadd. Below is the inscription:
"Veil Of Time" all but jumped out of the paper and hit me square in the forehead!
The stone features of Kilmartin Glen were built thousands of years ago along a ley line, a fissure in the earth's crust emitting unusual levels of electro-magnetic energy. (How did those ancient folks know that?) Perhaps that energy informs both the veil of time and the book of the same name. I don't know, but I do suspect that we ignore at our peril the larger forces that move our story along.