Sunday 29 May 2011

A quiet drink...

I had an enjoyable and productive time today, writing and researching for Book II. The day began in Winchester, where I found a table in Starbucks and successfully nailed down the sequence where Kim and Naysmith first met. It was an idea that I'd had some time ago, and initially discounted, but something Anna said made me view it in a different light. It's difficult to write at home when everyone else is around, so I drove to Winchester - it's not far, and it's been a rewarding place to write in the past.

Things came together rather faster than I'd expected, so I later drove over to Salisbury and followed the road on into the village where the two characters live. I had wanted to check the route anyway, but when I got there I thought it might be helpful to know a little more about the place, so I thought I'd go and have a drink in Naysmith's local.

I'd always imagined it would be the pub on the market square, so I parked up, went to the house I've chosen for them, then walked back to the pub. The place was almost deserted when I went in - just a young mum with a toddler, and her partner playing the fruit machine. I did my "looking for someone" face and nosed around a little, but somehow it just didn't feel right - the sort of place that got crowded and held pool tournaments. A barmaid appeared and asked me if I was looking for someone (which made me smile). I described Naysmith for her but she said she hadn't seen him - I'd have been worried if she had. She suggested I try another pub, just along the road.

This one was much more suitable. Uneven floors, dark wood beams with horsebrasses for decor, and a dartboard perilously close to the TV that hung above the old fireplace. I ordered a drink and listened to the locals arguing about the right and wrong way to pour a Guinness, and smiled as a group of them crowded around the window to watch the comings and goings of a house across the street, and to speculate what was happening inside.

"There's something going on there, I bet you."
"Yeah, there is. You watch, they'll draw the curtains in a minute..."

I sat in a quiet corner, and roughed out another couple of sections, including one set in the village. As I left, almost everyone I passed smiled at me, and several people said goodbye!

I think Naysmith is going to enjoy drinking in there.

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