To Autumn in South Lakes

This place will always be full
of beginnings and endings for me,
and traces of old and untold stories.

A visit to Cumbria is a treat and especially in-between seasons. Trees and hedgerows begin to show their autumn tints in the late summer sun while swallows swoop and soar, testing their wings in readiness to fly south.

Despite the afternoon heat, the light gives way to cooler evenings, and there’s anticipation in the air of something unfathomable.

Returning to the Lake District and, in particular, South Lakes brings a sense of home-coming. As soon as the Lakeland fells come into view, my spirits lift and I feel a resurgence of energy, story, magic, life.

This is Light Weaver country. This is where I met the characters in my first novel. This is where something extraordinary seized my imagination while liberating my soul.

A richly-coloured, undulating quilt of fells, pastures, crags, lakes, shores, rivers, forests and hideaways is woven with the fabric of human, animal and other seen and unseen life.

The ever-changing light makes more or less of what is here and simply intensifies the transience of each moment.

This place will always be full of beginnings and endings for me, and traces of old and untold stories. I’m entwined with this landscape for reasons that partly remain a mystery, and this is why I keep returning with a happy heart filled with sparks of possibility.

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On Board the Mobile Library

On Monday 30th July 2012, I returned to Cumbria with my novel, Light Weaver, for an extra special book signing on board the mobile library. It was a wonderful experience for me to take the book back to where it all began some four years previous. It was also, perhaps, a novelty for the mobile library readers as the event was a first of its kind (as far as we know) in South Lakes.

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After a quick interview with the fabulous Ian Timms of BBC Radio Cumbria, I travelled north with that familiar feeling of going home. I journeyed under a dramatic sky, with ever changing light, rainbow flashes, and ominous cloud that has been typical of this strange summer.

Upon arrival, I met the lovely library staff. I was treated to a tour of Kendal’s stunning Carnegie library on Stricklandgate before setting off to the historic South Lakes villages of Burton and Holme to meet readers on board the mobile library.

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There were moments where I felt as if I’d stepped into scenes from Light Weaver. I was half expecting the singing psychic to make an appearance, dancing up and down the street as I signed copies of the book. And, perhaps he did!

Time passed quickly as it always does when you’re having fun, and I left the mobile library to continue its adventures into the heart of Light Weaver country.

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After a walk by the river and a delicious late veggie lunch at Kendal’s Waterside cafe, I made my way to Silverdale, where I often find Light Weaver’s Tom and Cali watching the tidal bore. Sometimes, I see the mobile library there, too, although I’m not sure whether it’s in this dimension or another.

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Thank you to Cumbria Library Services for making the event possible and to Dave and Sam (either of them could have been mistaken for Tom!) for looking after me on the mobile library. Also, thanks to the lovely Cumbrian folk who gave me such a warm welcome.

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