BOOKS ON BILLBOARDS

Celtic Connexions is thrilled to have the creator of look4books.co.uk, Gary Walker, here with us today. Not only does Gary support indie authors on this site, but he also creates fabulous billboards with their covers. This is the one he did for my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past. I’m thrilled beyond words.

Books on Billboards

So settle in Gary and make yourself comfortable in our ‘hot seat’. You work in a completely different field. How did you get interested in photo manipulation? How long have you been doing it?

I have been seriously doing this work for around 18 months. The reason for me getting interested in this would be better suited to your second question

What made you decide to do “books on billboards” for Indie authors?

I had written two books which I had published independently. They did fairly well on Amazon Kindle for the first few weeks, but then I noticed a sharp fall off of sales. At this time I had no interest in Social Media, so knew nothing of the marketing possibilities of using images with links to my book selling pages on sites like Twitter and Facebook. By the time I had gained this knowledge I had already decided to remove my book from Amazon. I then made the decision to help other independently published authors by putting their books on my website http://www.look4books.co.uk and began to design posters for them.

When did you start your website look4books.co.uk?

The website has been going for a number of years, it began life as an antiquarian book selling, and information site. I had been a collector of old books for more years than I care to remember.

Of all the billboards you’ve done so for authors, do you have any particular favourites and will you share them with us? Was it the degree of difficulty, the type of billboard the author wanted, or the way the colours from the background worked with the book cover images?

A lot of questions there. To be perfectly honest the answer would probably be all of the above, and sometimes none of the above. What I’m trying to say is I just know when a poster really works. It also helps when I get feedback from the author themselves, be that positive or negative.

Many thanks Melanie for inviting me to do this interview.

Thanks for coming over today. It’s been great getting the ‘inside scoop’ on your work. Here are a few more examples of Gary’s brilliant book posters.

Books on Billboards

Books on Billboards

Books on Billboards

Books on BillboardsYou can see more of Gary’s photo manipulation genius on his Pinterest board book posters.

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SOPHIA’S SECRET by Julie Ryan

Sophia’s Secret – Book 2 in the Greek Island Mysteries

Sophia's Secret

Blurb:

This is the second book in the Greek Island Mystery series. Although each book is intended to be read as a standalone, some of the characters from the first book, Jennas’s Journey, do make an appearance.

Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart. It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty year old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure?

~~~~~~~~~~

I see in your bio you have a strong attachment to Greece. Can you elaborate on it?

I first went to Greece in 1984 to work as a Language Teacher and although it wasn’t love at first sight – I arrived by train in Thessaloniki in the middle of the night – as soon as I saw Athens I felt a tingle and by the time I visited the islands it was a full blown love affair. I stayed for two years in all and have been back to visit on numerous occasions. There’s just something magical about the light and the scenery and climate are fantastic. What more could you ask?

You were born in Barnsley, Yorkshire (I have a character in one of my WsIP who comes from there). What was it like to live in a former mining town? (Since I’m not sure of your age, if you lived there before the mines closed any memories such as the miners’ strike in (I think) 1984?

I have a strong attachment to Barnsley – though for different reasons to my attachment to Greece. The people are down to earth and for me it will always be home. I remember the miner’s strike well and how divisive it was to the community. It was a very dark time and some of the wounds it opened still haven’t healed completely. I have family there and whenever I return, it’s like reliving my childhood and I immediately lapse back into ‘Yorkshire.’

Sophia’s Secret is the your 2nd book in the series. How many do you envision in the complete series? Two? Three? Four? More?

To be honest, I have no idea. The first book in the series, Jenna’s Journey’ began life as a short story. I was amazed that it developed into a novel. I thought that was it but I missed writing about Greece and before long a second book was on the way. There will definitely be a third but after that I’ll wait and see what my characters tell me.

Did you always want to be a writer? When did the bug bite you?

I’ve always loved writing but never really imagined that I would write a novel. I think I just needed some self-confidence. Once I saw that it was a real possibility then the bug took hold and now I don’t think I could stop even if I wanted to.

 ~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sophia's SecretAbout the Author:

Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a dippy cat with half a tail. She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance!

She is the author of two novels set in Greece, “Jenna’s Journey” and “Sophia’s Secret” both part of the Greek Island Mystery series. She is currently working on a third book, ‘Pandora’s Prophecy.”

 

You can follow Julie on

Facebook
Twitter
and on her Blog

You can buy Julie’s Greek Island Mysteries

Jenna’s Journey

Sophia’s Secret

Canada Day 2014

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day

This year, I spent the day at the Canada Day Morrisburg Market. The heat was oppressive as was the humidity. I think it felt like 41C outside – and that was even under a canopy in the shade. Thankfully, there was a breeze coming in off the river, but that also posed a few problems.

Canada Day
My table. Notice hubby is also wearing A Shadow in the Past T-shirt.

My little table (while it looks very nice decked out in red and tartan looks so small under the 10’x10′ canopy. And because there was so much room in the tent, people took the short cut through the one end to go to and from other parts of the park.

I rearranged the table after this photo was taken and put the easel with the “what people are saying about A Shadow in the Past” in the middle behind the calendars and moved the stacks of A Shadow in the Past to the edge of the table.

I had a few people ask if we had T-shirts for sale but I only ordered the two – one for hubby and one for me to wear to assorted signings (unless more formal attire is required).

Canada Day
Showing of my A Shadow in the Past t-shirt

The militia reenactors scared most of the people (me included) when they started firing their guns… without warning I might add. Still I managed to get a couple of pictures of them.

canada day 2014 3
Militia reenactors
canada day 2014 4
Militia reenactors

Early in the afternoon, the wind changed and my easel became a sail, so it spent most of the afternoon under the table, although I did manage to get it back on display a few times. It meant having to hang on to it and even then there was no guarantee it would remain upright.

By the end of the day, I had sold 4 copies of A Shadow in the Past and 2 copies of The Consequences Collection. In addition, a number of people took my postcards and were quite pleased that both books are available as ebooks. Now we’ll see if that interest translates into sales.

How did you spend your Canada Day?

 

Launch Extravaganza for FALLEN FOR ROCK by Nicky Wells

Launch Day is here for FALLEN FOR ROCK!

Fallen for RockBlurb:

‘A thrilling and delicious story of love and self-discovery woven around a broken romance that will make you turn page after page and cheer to the end.’

Love, life, loyalties. Nothing stays the same when Emily gets drawn into the world of rock.

Glossy and sophisticated professional high-flyer Emily has no time for nonsense such as the rock music her ex-boyfriend Nate adored so much. Yet when she unexpectedly comes into possession of VIP tickets—access all areas—for new rock band phenomenon, MonX, she can’t resist the temptation.

The fateful gig turns into more than one night, and Emily finds herself strangely drawn to this new and unfamiliar glittery world. However, only weeks later, MonX and her own universe fall apart with devastating consequences for all. When MonX lead singer Mike appeals for her help, she reluctantly embraces a new opportunity. But she soon discovers that while she may be a rock chick after all, a groupie she is not… Or is she?

Just exactly where do her loyalties lie? And what direction will her life take now that she’s left behind everything she treasured?

Warning! Fallen For Rock contains some explicit content and strong language that may not be suitable for readers under eighteen years of age.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Proudly introducing: Mike Loud, rock guitarist and “I’m hell to live with” lead singer in Fallen for Rock

Welcome, Mike, and thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. How are you?

I’m fine, thanks so much for having me. It’s a bit early in the day, so please nudge me if seem a bit spaced out. And thanks for the extra strong coffee!

Late night recording, was it?

Absolutely. We didn’t leave the studio until four in the morning. That’s like…five hours ago.

Goodness. I’m doubly honoured that you made it, then.

Wouldn’t have missed it for the world, chick.

I’m very glad to hear that you’re back recording again. It was all a bit touch and go after the MonX break up for a while, wasn’t it?

Well. *coughs* You could say that. We didn’t part on the most amicable of terms.

You’ve been keeping very quiet about what happened. You never gave a statement to the press at the time, but you did reveal all to Nicky Wells for her latest novel, Fallen for Rock. How come?

Technically, I didn’t reveal anything to anyone. Nicky was primarily chatting with Emily, and Emily shared what I’d told her. Obviously I met Nicky a few times as well, and I read the whole book before it ever went to print…

You did?

Of course I did. I’m a fast reader. I’m not adverse to a bit of romance, although it was a little strange seeing… um… well… some of Emily and my… physical encounters…rendered on the page. In written words. Not that I’m a prude or anything. It was just odd to read that stuff about me.

Ha! I bet. So what happened with MonX?

*Mike grins* You’ll have to read the book for the gory details. I swear I was innocent, really.

Tell me about the book. How does it feel to be not only a rock star but also a romantic hero?

A romantic hero, crikey! *guffaws loudly* I’d never considered it like that. It feels surreal, to say the least. I’d never planned to ‘star’ in a book. A movie, perhaps, but not a book. Although who knows… maybe one day Fallen for Rock will hit the big screen.

Anything’s possible. I hear Nicky had an offer for a movie deal on her first novel before now?

She certainly did.

And?

She turned it down, or so she told me. Apparently she didn’t like the terms of the deal, and they wanted to change the location too.

Crazy. But Fallen for Rock…?

I guess if the right deal comes along, we’ll have to talk casting.

Who’d be you, do you think?

Me? *laughs loudly* I’d play myself. Like a tour?

A tour would be great, but even a single gig would be awesome. Just imagine… me and Jon, performing a song we wrote together. Ah, there’s a lifetime’s ambition.

It’s interesting to hear about what drives you.

Ha! Some would say I’m too driven. Emily nearly chucked me out way back when because I was such an arsehole while I was writing music. She was really worried for me too, and all I did in response was snap at her. Although in fairness, I had warned her that I’m hell to live with.

And that’s also in the book. Am I thinking of the right scene here?

You certainly are. That bit’s in the book, as is our whole story from start to finish. How we met, how MonX broke up, and what happened next to me, and to her.

Why “Fallen for Rock”?

Great question. Nicky says it’s because Emily goes through such a turnaround. You know, from rock-hater to rock-lover. Me, I think the title works on many levels. I took a fall, too, although not so much ‘for rock’ as ‘from grace.’ And Emily quite literally had a fall. A fall that would change everything! So it’s a fab title, and the meaning just gets more and more powerful as the story unfolds.

Thanks so much, Mike, it’s been brilliant talking with you. You take care now!

You too. And rock on, as Nicky would say.

Rock on indeed…

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fallen for Rock SWAG Giveaway!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo celebrate the launch of Fallen for Rock and to spread some joy, I’m giving away the following items:

One Large Signed Poster of “Fallen for Rock”

Three Sets of Signed “Fallen for Rock” Swag (Postcards and Bookmarks)

Three Sets of Signed “Fallen for Rock SWAG SPECIAL” including 2 bookmarks, 2 postcards and 2 guitar picks

Five Sets of Signed “Fallen for Rock” Guitar Picks (two picks per set)

One Set of “The Complete Nicky Wells Swag” (signed): Bookmarks and postcards for Sophie’s Turn, Sophie’s Run, Sophie’s Encore, Spirits of Christmas and Fallen for Rock

One Audio CD: Bon Jovi “Greatest Hits” (2010)

One Amazon Gift Certificate for £5/$7 or equivalent

Enter HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Portrait6About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

You can buy Fallen For Rock here:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.ca | Amazon.au

Join Nicky:Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association |Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads| Pinterest

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

RomanceRockBanner_NickyWells

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto – August 25, 2013

We were checked out of the hotel and over at the airport before 8:00. When I booked the room, I went with room only because I knew there were plenty of places in the airport to go get breakfast.

The Air Transat desk opened at 8:15 so we went and got checked in so we could get rid of our two big bags. After passing through security, we found a place reasonably close to our gate where we could have a meal (and me, a coffee). We decided on the Beardmore Bar and Restaurant. After all the huge, cooked breakfasts I’d eaten in the two weeks, and having already mowed down a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps, I only had fried eggs on toast.

I’m not sure how it happened, but when I went to fasten my belt in the WC, the buckle came off in my hand and a belt without a buckle isn’t much use to anyone, so the entire thing went into the trash. At least for the time being, we didn’t have a lot of walking to do so I didn’t have to worry about losing my pants… LOL.

While we waited in the departure lounge for our flight to arrive, I took advantage of the free wi-fi and checked my email. I discovered that an interview I had done with Stacy Claflin before our trip went live the day before. I went to her blog and thanked her for hosting me before my half hour expired.

Before our plane arrived, a fire engine arrived and parked by the gate. It doesn’t exactly inspire a warm, fuzzy feeling. Shortly after that, an ambulance arrived and parked next to the building below where we were sitting.

Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport
Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport

We waited and watched to see what would take place next. Once the plane taxied in to location, the fire engine went out and parked by the left, rear emergency exit. Once the gangway was in place, two paramedics sprinted up the outside stairs.

For the longest time, nothing happened. Well, there was likely a lot going on in the plane but from our vantage point, we couldn’t see.

Eventually, a paramedic descended followed by a man carrying some cabin luggage and a purse. He was followed by a woman and a paramedic. She and her ‘husband’ were bundled into the ambulance.

When hubby came back from a walk, he told me he’d overheard a couple of flight crew members saying that they didn’t know exactly what happened but the woman was taken to Royal Glasgow and would be spending the night there for observation. Not a very nice way to spend the beginning of your vacation or arriving back home.

The flight boarded and left on time. We thought for sure it would be late with all the earlier excitement.

Except for hitting a few patches of turbulence, one severe enough to suspend beverage service – it was rough – but other than that, everything went to plan and we landed in Toronto on time and I phoned my cousin who was picking us up to let her know.

Walking through the airport, I had to continually tug at my pants to keep them from falling down. I thought for sure, my actions would create suspicion but we had no problems at all, well except for the self-serve customs scanners not reading our passports or declaration form the first time. It wasn’t until the girl started towards us that it worked. I told her it had to be her aura.

When we finally got our bags, which seemed to take forever (trouble with checking in so early – bags are the last to come off the plane), we headed outside and found a place by one of the posts and called my cousin again. Within minutes, she and her husband were there and our luggage loaded into their car.

Back at her place, we transferred our stuff from her vehicle into the trunk of mine. I had bought something for them to say thank you for letting us leave the car at their place for the two weeks and for putting us down at and later uplifting us from the airport, so got it out of hubby’s CPAP machine bag so I could give it to them when we got inside. I quickly discovered the price tag was still on it so I had to get it off and into the garbage without them seeing. I was successful.

So what was the gift you ask? It was a wee sign with a picture of a cat and wording to the effect “household staff here”.

We visited with them for a while before leaving for home and pulled into our driveway shortly before 9:00 pm.

What a trip! I can’t wait until we can do it again… so I guess I best get my second book finished and published so I can take it on a UK (or maybe elsewhere) book tour.

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow – August 24, 2013

What a difference a day makes. Late yesterday afternoon when we arrived in Largs, it was dull and overcast, not to mention, cold with showers. This morning, it was bright and sunny. Over breakfast, I chatted with Pica, the lady who runs Tigh-An-Struan Guest House. She knew I was a writer from my email signature and asked about my book and could she buy a copy. Since I still had some in the boot of the car, I was more than happy to oblige. I gave her the price and told her I would even sign it for her. While I was at the car getting a copy and the book swag to go with it, I made a note to myself to tell hubby I wanted to go back down to the beach and take pictures since it was so different than when we arrived. Book signed, bill paid, hugs from Pica (especially after I showed her the page I had signed on), we headed to the car only for me to have to go back because I’d left my warm poncho in our room. She handed me the key and I dashed upstairs. Not only had I left my poncho on the bed, but hubby had left his shampoo and body wash in the shower. Before we left, we put as much of our stuff as possible into the suitcases since for the most part, any extra bags from purchases had just been tossed into the boot. Our rental car would be going back later today and the fewer items we had to contend with, the easier it would make our lives. Before leaving Largs, we walked down to the beach so I could take pictures.

Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Ferry at Largs
Ferry at Largs

As we’d done the day before and back on Day 8 when we headed south, I wanted to stay along the coast for as much of the drive to Johnstone where we would catch the train into Glasgow as possible.

River Clyde near Langbank
River Clyde near Langbank

Same day return tickets purchased, we went out onto the platform to wait for our train. We weren’t there more than ten minutes before it pulled into the station.

Train arriving in Johnstone
Johnstone Station platform

As soon as we were off the train and out of the station, we immediately headed for Argyle Street where we turned left and made our way to the High Street and up to the Necropolis.

Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
The mercat cross in Glasgow
The Mercat Cross
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street

Call me weird, but I love cemeteries – especially old ones. The stonework in these older monuments is amazing, not to mention the architecture of the mausoleums.

Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Mausoleum in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis

We had barely scratched the surface of this amazing ‘City of the Dead’ when it was time to move on. From here we went to George Square where there used to be a tourist information shop but was closed and relocated to Buchanan Street. So off we went but not before taking a slight detour down to Royal Exchange Square to see the Duke of Wellington Statue.

The Duke of Wellington statue
The Duke of Wellington statue

Yes, that’s a traffic cone on his head. If my murky memory serves, back in the day people would climb up and put it on the statue only to have the city come along and take it down. Finally, once it was up there it was left as is because the statue was being damaged. Now it’s illegal to remove the ‘jaunty chapeau’. Buchanan Street was alive with bands playing and buskers on almost every block.

Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street
Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street

We stopped in at the tourist information looking to see how far out the new transportation museum was, only to discover it was far from being within walking distance. I had toyed with the idea of buying the guys something from here but that didn’t happen. From here, we walked down to Argyle Street and went into the St Enoch Centre where I visited my favourite department store – Debenhams along with a few others but didn’t find what I was looking for. On our way back to the train station, we went into The Glasgow Kilt Company on Union Street. Much to my delight, they had the tartan corset I’ve ogled and drooled over for a few years and decided that buying online wasn’t an option. There was no change room here, and with UK sizes being different than North American, I needed to be able to try it on. One of the staff was extremely helpful. He told us of their other store on Hope Street which had more tartans to choose from plus, the needed change room. He even came out onto the pavement with us and told us how to get there so off we went. What a score! It took some time trying on various sizes (hubby was even allowed to come and help me) until I found the right size. I got my corset (one that fit and less expensive than online), a couple of fridge magnets and ‘Glasgow’ hoodies for the guys. Here it is, what do you think? I’m seeing some new author photos done wearing it. Maybe up at St Lawrence Park after the leaves change since it’s gorgeous up there in the the autumn.

tartan corset
tartan corset

When we finally got back to the airport complex to return the car and check into our room, we decided to return the rental car first. It wasn’t a long walk between the two places. We made sure all of our loot was out and got one of the baggage carts to put most of the stuff on to go back. They were quite pleased at the condition the car came back in, and surprised when hubby told them that one of the back-up lights was out. I guess they don’t get a lot of people fess up?

Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn

After we got checked into the hotel, the first thing we did was re-pack up the suitcases ensuring they weren’t overweight and that said weight was relatively equal, and a few pounds below the maximum allowable so that we’d have the wiggle room we needed in the morning to put our ‘can’t pack until the end’ stuff in. Despite having a well stocked mini-fridge in the hall just inside the door and a bottle of wine on the desk, we steered clear of them (well, I used a wine glass later so I could finish up the bottle of red wine I’d brought with me from Earlsfield Farm) and visited the bar downstairs where we had a bite to eat and a few well-deserved pints of Becks, and toasted a very successful trip. It’s really hard to believe it’s gone by so fast. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be trundling our luggage over to the airport and flying home.

But one last time before we leave Scotland, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Day 13 – Gretna to Largs

Day 13 – Gretna to Largs – August 23, 2013

Our first stop this morning after getting checked out was back up to Smiths Hotel to see if my lens cap had been turned in. We did a cursory glance as we walked through the area we’d sat in the night before but saw nothing so went to reception and asked if one had been turned in. When the girl on the desk heard where we’d sat the previous night, she said check with the bar staff because it would have likely been turned in there. We did and were told to go to reception which we replied we’ve already done that and were told to come here. Then the girl asked if we’d had a good look around where we sat, which we hadn’t. I mean, going through the area, patting down chairs, looking under them without anyone knowing why would look rather suspicious. She then told us it was okay to have a good look so we did. Hubby ran his hand down between the side of the chair and the cushion where I’d made myself comfortable the night before and voila, he came up with the missing lens cap. Before we left, we made sure that reception and the girl in the bar knew we’d found the elusive contraption hiding in the chair. Yay!

Now that the lens cap mystery had been solved we could get on with our day starting with our stop at Caerlaverock Castle. I wanted to go here when we were last in this area in 2005 but time didn’t permit so I ensured a visit on this trip.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

What an impressive ruin! It’s likely to be the most intact of the ruined castles we’ve visited in all of our visits to Scotland.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

While we were inside one of the chambers here, a couple of kids were throwing stones down from one of the upper levels. Hubby, stinker that he can be, said to them in a ghostly sort of voice, “Do you want me to throw them back?” Funny, they quit throwing stones. Go figure.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

After our visit here, well worth waiting for I might add, we headed to our next stop Sweetheart Abbey but driving along the Nith Estuary, I had to stop. Not only was it at low tide but one of the signs we’d seen at a lay-by mentioned quicksand. How can a body resit such a photo op?

The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary

By the time we arrived at Sweetheart Abbey, it had started to spit rain. Just what one needs when you need a WC. Thankfully (tongue in cheek), there were public toilets in the car park. I don’t know who maintains ownership of these ones but they were functional and that was all.

Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey

The story behind this abbey can be found at Historic Scotland. Talk about true love…

Lady Dervorgilla's resting place with a cast of her husband's urn
Lady Dervorgilla’s resting place with a cast of her husband’s urn
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey from the churchyard

As we did after leaving Kennethmont, I wanted to drive along the coast, despite the weather being grey and gloomy with occasional showers. Our trip was coming to an end so maybe that was the reason behind it. Still, I wasn’t nearly as weepy as I was during the drive from Kennethmont to Kelso.

We passed by Cardoness and Carsluith Castles vowing to put them on the next trip. By taking the coast road, our trip was longer, but despite the cloud cover and occasional showers, far more scenic than the more direct inland route.

Near Girvan, we stopped in one of the lay-bys (part of the old road) for a photo op.

Ailsa Craig shrowded in fog
Ailsa Craig shrowded in fog
mainland scenery across the firth from Ailsa Craig
mainland scenery across the firth from Ailsa Craig

By now we really had to make tracks since we wanted to go over to Quarriers Village and see our friends there who had made the journey up to Kennethmont for my book launch. Off and on during the entire day it continued to rain – sometimes harder than others. “Sat Nav Sally” took us to the M77 (not a bad thing since we needed to make up time) and onto the M8… in rush hour. No worse than driving across Toronto, but still not the easiest. Knowing where we were and where we had to exit helped immensely so it wasn’t the end of the world.

After a visit with our friends, we made tracks for Largs, taking the ‘back’ roads. Looking back, we probably should have gone and checked in first, then headed over to Quarriers Village but seeing our friends was far more important at the time than getting to our room.

Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House 2
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House

Before going off for a bite of supper, we walked the other way to the beach and I was able to get a few pictures.

Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs

We went up into the town and had our supper at an Indian Restaurant next to the Royal Bank of Scotland. It was an excellent meal, and although the onion bhajias we had weren’t on the same level as the ones in Kelso, they were delicious and served on a bed of fresh, sliced onion. Yum, yum! And no heartburn later!

So before I fall asleep after a long yet fulfilling day, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Scotland and the plan is to drive to Johnstone and take the train from there into Glasgow to go shopping and visit the Necropolis. Fingers crossed the weather cooperates.

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