I wake up to bright sunshine peeking through the bedroom blinds.
I wash, dress, eat. Its not early. I can’t do early.
I walk to Waverly Station and purchase a ticket.
The train journey takes around two and a half hours.
When I get there, I wave to the man in the control tower. He recognises me,
knows my face from years back. He smiles at me now as a child of thirty.
The air literally smells green.
One inhale of the leafy landscape and there is no denying I’m in the highlands.
Mountains cradle the little town, shielding it from the clouds with it’s strong back.
I move through the town, passing the old cobbled houses and the uniformed gravestones in the kirkyard.
I say hello to the residents, who seem younger with every visit.
I cross a small bridge and watch the water travelling towards the Watermilll, it’s paddles sprinkling passers by as the wheel thunders forwards.
I reach the large wooden entrance, the driveway, the kissing gate, the inevitable ducklings that follow me hoping for breadcrumbs.
My space is at the top of a small hill.
I walk passed the reception and onto the grass
passed the cafe, always populated by lovers of fried bacon
passed the park, emptyish now it’s lunchtime
and arrived at site 156, with the smallest white caravan perched on top,
challenged in size by the brown awning clinging to one side.
I unzip the tent-like structure and step inside.
The smell of wet canvass and old sleeping bags is instant.
I remove my boots, place them by the cool box and take out my key to the caravan door.
It opens as one,but you can leave it half closed if you like.
Its muggy inside, a dry heat hits the back of my throat.
I pull back the orange curtains and open the windows as far as they’ll stretch, clicking to let me know. The breeze instantly fills the small room, my notebooks fly open as the air dances around them.
I take out the largest mug I can find and pump the tap until water comes out.
I boil the kettle and I wait.
Sometimes I begrudge using my laptop here. As if it doesn’t belong. As if it wasn’t invented yet. I place it on the kitchen table and open it next to my notebooks.
The computer takes its time switching on. Warming up.
I pick up a pencil and write the five senses on a piece of paper.
I write about how they trigger memories.
Sometimes without even realising.
I write about the sounds of the River Tilt behind me.
And how it was so much colder than I could have possibly imagined
when I paddled in with eight-year-old feet.
I write about the taste of water that’s run straight off the mountains.
So cold it gives you brain freeze,
but it didn’t stop us sooking the rocks just to get at it.
I write about the way rain smells on a freshly cut lawn.
And about how much trouble we used to get into
trailing wet loose grass from our feet back into the caravan.
I write about the way the sleeping bag material feels as you settle in,
arms fused to your sides, that cold metal zip on your skin.
And how much it hurt when you rolled over and fell out of bed in one of those things.
I note down everything I see sitting here, everything I saw walking here.
And I write about how, rather than time, memories have a strong sense of place
I write about their stories
And about the significance of a writing space.
This caravan. This mild yet dreich day. This spot. These smells. That view.
And by that time, the laptop has woken up.