From Doon the Watter to Up in the Air

bbb 9BBB COVERWith the schools back now in Scotland, it feels like the end of the summer, especially as the weather is rotten, again. It’s been an interesting summer for me, dominated by the publication of Buy Buy Baby and my jaunts with family and friends.

In the course of a week, I went from visiting one island on the west coast of Scotland to another off the east coast of Spain.

The first trip to the Isle of Great Cumbrae only took 15 minutes in the ferry from Largs to reach but leaving the mainland behind creates a sense of escapism. And Millport, the island’s ‘capital’ has a nostalgic atmosphere of a time before package holidays abroad when many Scots took a trip ‘doon the watter’.

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Me on the ferry with my eldest son.


Kames Bay directly opposite our holiday flat.

For years, my family has had the use of a holiday flat overlooking Kames Bay to enjoy a relaxing weekend.

But recently, neither of my adult sons have wanted to come with us so my hubby and I have only had the company of our two dogs (cheaper and easier to amuse!).  However, this year was different. My eldest son decided to come too along with his girlfriend who was a Millport ‘virgin’. Apart from a great chance to spend quality time with them with good food, drink and board games, I also had another agenda. This trip was a chance to take photos of the location which inspired Buy Buy Baby.

As in the previous visits, we climbed up to Farland Point for spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde but also to see where the seed was planted for my new novel. I don’t know any writers who aren’t naturally curious and I’m gold-standard in the nosey league.

Up at the viewpoint, I’d always stop to read the plaques on the memorial benches and was intrigued by the dedications. Six years ago, the tributes to loved ones sparked an idea for a story about a mother whose child has died and how she visits her ‘Angel’s Bench’ to reflect on their time together.

IMG_2970IMG_2922One idea led to another and I wrote ‘The Angel’s Bench’ about the bittersweet quest of two very different women united by the same desire – they desperately want a baby. Since the first draft, the storyline has changed as well as the title, which is now Buy Buy Baby and was published on 7th July by Cranachan Publishing. I got a bit snap happy and although none of the actual dedications relate to the novel, it’s a place that was clearly special to many and I hope by including Millport in my novel it might inspire others to visit this beauty spot.


Me with my youngest in Ibiza.

IMG_3104No sooner was I home from Millport than I was packing my suitcase to leave the next day for an another island. One that was much warmer and livelier but both islands are beautiful in their own distinct way.

This short and sweet trip was to see my youngest son who was ‘working’ there over the summer and it was a chance for us to have a wee adventure together. As I’d never been to Ibiza before, I loved discovering the history of Dalt Vila and walking along the beach at Playa de Bossa to indulge in people watching. Never one to miss a photo opportunity for marketing my book, I whipped out a copy of Buy Buy Baby, much to my son’s embarrassment (you’d think he’d be used to it by now!) and took pics of the book on location as the perfect beach or poolside read.


Stunning sunset from my hotel balcony.

The key theme in Buy Buy Baby is motherhood and there aren’t many weeks that I manage to pack in so much quality time in a matter of days with my sons. The result? I came home with more west coast beach glass to add to my collection, sore feet from walking around Great Cumbrae, several hangovers, thrashed at Pictionary, suntanned and skint but happy to see my boys live up to the book’s dedication, “For my babies, Ross and Lewis, who have grown into men that make me proud to be their mum.”

In typical teacher mode, “What did you do this summer?”