Wednesday 26 August 2015

Travelling light

Afternoon tea at the Randolph, anyone?
I think I may have mentioned once or twice how much I like travelling by train. Airports not so much, as airplanes are involved, naturally, and I'm not a fan. But I do like airport shopping malls full of ritzy stuff that you can't afford but is nice to look at. And I love staying in hotels. All sorts of hotels, from the glamorous modern sort, full of plate glass and fancy metal sculptures to the chintz and roaring fire types. My in-box will testify to this, as every other mail seems to be about train holidays and special offers on hotels. One day I'm going to do the Orient Express. One day.

Most of my journeys involve Cardiff station 
At the moment all my travel is the armchair kind, but I have a very nice collection of brochures to remind me of what is out there, just waiting round the corner. And at this time of the year it's not just the travel brochures. The bookshops have plenty of 'holiday reading' with pretty covers and travel type promises in the title, so it appears that I'm not the only one. It doesn't have to be just romance either. Think of how many Agatha Christie titles involve travel and exotic places. I think she must have had a fondness for trains too.

Of course the possibilities offered by any sort of travel are a gift to a writer. It's classic advice that you should begin a book at a point where your protagonist is at a point of change, and what better than a journey? It can be towards something, or away from something, Or a holiday or business trip to an unknown place. Or even a regular commute. There are a couple of places on the route between the commuter stations in Cardiff that always make me wonder ... But then again, crime writers are always looking at the most innocent places and wondering, so that's nothing new. Being out of their regular orbit can make a protagonist particularly vulnerable - always useful. Especially when they don't speak the language. And anywhere that throws a small group of people together - like a train, or a hotel or a country house is a fabulous setting. See Dame Agatha again. Of course you have to have snow, or a storm, or maybe a high tide, to keep them there. With my weakness for islands, the high tide has a particular appeal.

Apparently books with locations in the title are very popular, so I'm not the only one.  And if you can't actually make a journey, or stay in the posh hotel, reading about it has to be the next best thing.


  1. Travelling, or simply dreaming about it can do wonders for the inspiration! I love hotels too and they don't have to be posh ones (although that's obviously better) just a room prepared by someone else and cleaned by someone else after I leave will do! Angela Britnell

    1. Hi Angela me too! Even an overnight stay will do :)

  2. Fingers crossed, I've got some freewheeling time in Dundee next week while Tom presents a paper. Never been there before so whi knows what it will inspire?

    1. Hi
      I've never been to Scotland, but it is bound to have possibilities :)