After the events, we had a flying visit to see the standing stones at Callanish. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a fine piece of neolithic action, so it was fantastic to see the stones. And if talking to young readers is the very end of the writing process, a trip like this is, for me, the kind of thing that can prove to be the very beginning of a book. A book like The Dark Horse, for example, is based in this kind of landscape, and who knows yet whether my week on the Western Isles will lead to anything creative. Seeing all the windfarms here also got me thinking about Julia Green’s great book, This Northern Sky, set amongst just such a landscape.
Questions of my creativity aside, at the very least we saw a stunning example of someone else’s. We were taking a bite in a café by the standing stones, and I was just expounding the idea to Mike that you learn something knew every day, when around the corner came a cat, straining on a leash. Strange enough, but we expected to see a person on the other end. When it turned out to be another cat on the other end, clearly straining in the other direction as hard as possible, we realised that here is the solution to the well-known expression of disorder: “herding cats”. The answer is simple – tie the damn things together.