Arriving in Whitehaven late Tuesday afternoon, via Wensleydale and the Hawes Creamery, nerves became a little bit frayed as we set about negotiating the one-way system for Church Street and The Georgian House Hotel. After being warmly welcomed and more than happy to say goodbye to the car (it’s a long way from Lincolnshire), we were greeted by the mewing of hungry seagulls swooping inland from the sea, over the harbour into town. I’m back, I thought, back here in Whitehaven walking the streets of my ancestors. More to the point I’m walking the streets of my fictional characters visiting the town to check the final details for my work in progress “New Beginnings on Vancouver Island”.
My novel begins in 1854 with my main character, Stag, and his ‘marrer’ (best friend) Tom, supping ale in the Golden Lion Hotel. This fine Georgian building used to be the Customs and Excise Offices on Roper St where it joins the Market Place.
Maybe I have an over-ripe imagination but standing there last Tuesday looking in I could see Stag and Tom sitting in the window snug and warm against the harsh wind blowing outside. They’ve got their heads together in conversation surrounded by Saturday night revellers.
When Stag and Tom are ready to move on and feeling warm enough to face the wind outside they pass out into the courtyard and out through the Golden Lion Court gates. Again, I see them come out, jackets wrapped around their bodies and caps pulled well down on their heads.
Where are they going? They’re off to Lowther St, but more about that next time.