The Bookshelf Cafe News

Filling the Creative Well

It seems weeks since I’ve settled down to proper work, partly because the Easter break stretched even longer this year. However, it gave me a chance to get out and about exploring, seeing new places and filling that creative well of ideas and inspiration.

As well as having time with the husband, we had three days with granddaughter which was great fun. Younger children certainly do keep the oldies young. It was a great excuse to revisit the steam train (my favourite form of transport), have a paddle in the cold Firth of Forth and become a child again at a brilliant local outdoor heritage site.

In between, we visited the impressive calendar House in Falkirk, where I was fascinated by the Georgian kitchen with its fantastic cooking range, It evidently was the first place to use gas in the kitchen, in the early 1800s. The ‘smoke-jack’ (fan) turned the cogs to operate the spit! Otherwise, only candlelight was used throughout the house.

I was delighted to see the 150 year-old ice chest which used to be kept in the cellar. The 200 year-old ice house, which was apart from the house, kept ice from the loch frozen for up to eighteen months. The lady telling us about the kitchen was dressed in period costume adding to the fun and she had prepared a basket of coloured eggs since it was around Easter.

These were dyed as follows:

Yellow: from the gorse growing wild
Brown: from onion skin
Red/pink: from beetroot
Green: from spinach

There was even an original Georgian recipe for Simnel cake on display and tiny bits of the cake to try – baked recently, of course! It was slightly different from modern recipes but just as delicious with its taste of almond.

Yesterday, we unexpectedly happened upon a vintage car display at Linlithgow where we’d gone for coffee and a walk by the loch. I love vintage cars and was over the moon when the owner of my favourite 1928 Austin suggested I sit in the driver’s seat. I needed no second bidding and it was as gorgeous inside as out. Pity I couldn’t have had a wee drive. My second favourite was the open-topped white MG, although I didn’t get to sit in that one.


All in all, I’ve come back from the Easter break inspired to get on with various types of writing again, as well as trying to finish the full length novel so I can go back through and make sense of it. My creative well seems to have filled up with lots of ideas, so I guess we all need that break now and then.