We went to Minstead in the New Forest and stayed in what can only be described as a shed in someone’s garden! (We needed a self-catering cottage for less than a week, that allowed dogs. Not many ticked those boxes!)
But a delightful little shed it was and, best of all, there was a fabulous pub just 50 yards away in one direction and a village shop/tea room 50 yards away in the other. So, we were well catered for.
I also rather liked the touches of ‘mad’ in the New Forest. eg: as we drove round a bend, fortunately not too fast, there were EIGHT cows and calves running down the road towards us, with about 10 cars stacked up behind them. I am convinced they were having an evening jog.
A short walk up the path, from our ‘shed’ to the churchyard, took us to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s grave, creator of Sherlock Holmes.
Here it is – if you look very closely, you’ll see that someone’s placed a pipe on it, bless.
I need to tell you something about Conan Doyle’s mother (which I have just read on Wikipedia, so it must be true).
But first, this: when I was trying to get my first story accepted by Woman’s Weekly and, more recently, by Take A Break, my mum used to say, ‘Oh, I’d give up with them! Don’t send them any more!’ every time I got a rejection (she couldn’t take the pain).
In contrast, Conan Doyle’s mother was very encouraging and this is what we writers need, is it not?!
When, in November 1891, Conan Doyle wrote to his mother, “I think of slaying Holmes … and winding him up for good and all. He takes my mind from better things.” His mother responded, “You won’t! You can’t! You mustn’t!”
He listened to her (good man) but, ‘in an attempt to deflect publishers’ demands for more Holmes stories, he raised his price to a level intended to discourage them, but found they were willing to pay even the large sums he asked. As a result, he became one of the best-paid authors of his time.’
And all because of his mother! Clever lady.
Gloucestershire Short Story Event* – 26th October
And on a different note, if you live in Gloucestershire too, then you might be interested in the ‘Stroud Short Story’ event – details are here. You have until 28th September to submit your story for consideration and the event itself will be held on Sunday 26th October.
But please note, this is only open to those who were born, or live, or work, or study, or are a member of a writers’ group in Gloucestershire or South Gloucestershire – and I realise that’s probably not many of you!)