Thursday, September 11, 2014


19th September 2014

I am in Scotland researching my third book in the time travel series, and this was one of my first stops on Loch Tay. These amazing constructions called Crannogs were built starting in the iron age, and it isn't that easy to build them, let me tell you. Those iron age ancestors of mine knew a thing or two. For instance, these houses are built on stilts, and the way you secure all the many stilts it takes to support a house on the loch bed is you take a very long tree trunk out into the water and then you put a cross piece over the top of it. Next, you start to wiggle the trunk and because the floor of loch is sand over clay, you start to create a quick-sand effect, and the trunk becomes lodged in there witha vice-like grip. Another thing they did, which was very crafty and not so far from what we do today is that they built the walls of the crannog in two parallel layers, and in between they stuffed insulation made up of wool and bracken. I enjoyed poking around the crannog, and was especially pleased to leave a copy of my book with the lady in the gift shop, who was quite excited about it and promised to order more.

After the crannog, I drove up to the tiny village of Portmahomack, which is on a finger-like peninsula of Ross-shire and where a long time ago there was a Pictish settlement and lots of fantastically carved monoliths. One of the stones bears the symbol that is (not by coincidence) tattooed on the inside of my arm! It's called a crescent and V-Rod, and no one knows what it means, except for some who think it intimates that Scotland will gain her independence like any other rich and self-sufficient country should. (Well, I am the only one who thinks this!)  
It is lovely here, quite unspoiled, as you can tell below. Last night in the closing dark, I sat on a       and watched the sky fade. A heron flew up and flapped magestically, as Herons do, across the surface of the water.

As for the fog. Sometimes people vote for fog. Sometimes the smoke screen gets taken for daylight, And that's what happened to my country on September 18th 2014.

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