It’s always difficult to say when a story is finished. I guess if I’m just constantly changing the to a and back again, then there’s not a lot going on. But every now and then (usually when miles from a pen and paper) I suddenly realise that something has to be rewritten. However I think an ending is in sight for Portland Pirates.
As part of my research for Portland Pirates, I talked to a local climber about what it’s like to climb the many cliffs around Portland. Rich and Sarah at New Heights Climbing take out groups of new and experienced climbers, often climbing by the Cuttings, a popular area on the east coast. I was very interested in the type of rope and equipment used to traverse the various cliff faces. Many of the nearly 900 climbs around Portland are already bolted so climbers can clip into the rocks, although some areas have seasonal restrictions to protect birds such as peregrines and puffins.
I was also intrigued by the unusual names given to the various routes, such as Yikes Shaggy! and Reptile Smile. When I lived on the West Cliffs, I often saw climbers heading out to tackle the sheer cliff faces. This inspired me to create 2 characters who would represent another aspect of the island’s life.
Climbing is another unique facet of Portland, which brings people to the Isle from all over the world. Rich from New Heights helped me to piece together how my main character Isabel would experience climbing, and what kind of safety equipment would be used. to bring these chapters to life. http://www.climbingengland.com/content/photos.asp
Church Ope today, always fascinates me… I was studying a map of Portland at the museum today, a copy made of an original c. 1800. The place names are different, intriguing. With all my family coming from the north of England (or so I believed), I am still trying to find out about my grandmother’s grandfather George Harris, who said (in the 1881 census) that he came from Portland, Dorset, born here in 1847. Such a coincidence.
Saw the Phoenician statue today at Portland Museum. He has a presence of his own, contemplative but aware of the changing world around him. Benevolent too. With the high point of Phoenician culture around 1200BC, I wonder whether this statue could possibly be so old. There were trade links between Dorset and the Mediterranean in this era.
I have nearly finished writing the Portland Pirates now. The story is a little more complex as the relationships between the characters are intertwined, and Isabel my main character is heading towards that awkward age of 13. Church Ope features a lot in the story, as well as Chesil and Portland Bill. The atmosphere of Church Ope lends itself well to pirates, not to mention the intriguing graves at St Andrews. Vikings landed here in the 8th century. I’ve read that Portland itself was named for the Saxon pirate Porth. Pirates everywhere… if you look hard enough…