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TITLE
'The Blackberry Day'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_ROSAMUNDE_PILCHER
PLACENAME
Dornoch
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
SUTHERLAND: Dornoch
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Rosamunde Pilcher
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1440
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'The Blackberry Day' from Rosamunde Pilcher's collection of short stories, 'Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories', first published in 1991. It is read here by Cindie Reiter.

'At Inverness she alighted from the train into a climate so different that the night train could have carried not only north, but abroad. The day was Saturday, the month September, and she had left London on an evening warm as June, the air muggy and stale, the sky overcast. But now she walked out into a world that glittered in the early light and was arched by a high and cloudless sky of pale and pristine blue. It was much colder. There was the nip of frost in the air and leaves on trees were already turning autumn gold.

Here she had an hour or two to wait for the small stopping train that would carry her, through the morning, even further north. She filled this in by going to the nearest hotel and eating breakfast, and then walked back to the station. The news-stand had opened, so she bought a magazine and made her way to the platform where the smaller train waited, already gradually filling with passengers. She found a seat, stowed her luggage, and was almost at once joined by a pleasant-faced woman who settled herself across the table in the seat opposite. She wore a tweed coat with a Cairngorm brooch in the lapel and a furry green felt hat. As well as her zipped overnight bag, she was burdened by a number of plastic shopping bags, one of which contained what looked like a hefty picnic.

Their eyes met across the table. Claudia smiled politely. The woman said, "Oh, my, what a cold morning. I had to wait for the bus. My feet turned to stone."

"Yes, but it's lovely."

"Oh, aye, good and fine. Anything's better than the rain, I always say." A whistle blew, doors slammed. "There we are, we're off. Sharp on time, too. Are you going far?"

Claudia, who had picked up her magazine, resigned herself to conversation and laid it down again.

"Lossdale."

"That's where I'm bound, too. I've been down for a night or two, staying with my sister. For the shopping, you know. They've a lovely Marks and Spencers. Bought a shirt for my husband. Are you staying in Lossdale?"

She was not curious, simply interested. Claudia told her, "Yes, just for a week." And then, because it was obvious that she would be asked, she volunteered the information. "At Inverloss, with my cousin, Jennifer Drysdale."

"Jennifer! Oh, I know her well, we're on the Rural together. Stitching new kneelers for the Kirk. Funny she never mentioned the fact that you were coming."

"It was very much a last-minute arrangement."

"Is this your first visit?"

"No. I used to come up every summer when I was young. When her parents were alive, and before Jennifer inherited the farm."

"Do you live in the south?"

"Yes, in London."

"I thought so. By your clothes." The train was rattling over the bridge, the firth spread below them, stretching from the far western hills to the sea. She saw small boats going about their business, delectable houses facing out over the water with gardens sloping down to the shore. "I came up last night on the sleeper."

Rosamunde Pilcher, nee Scott, was born in Lelant, Cornwall, in 1924. She was educated at Penzance and Cardiff before going on to serve with the Wrens during World War II. In 1946 she married Graham Pilcher and moved to Dundee where her husband ran the family jute factory. She raised four children and has 14 grandchildren. She has a holiday home in Dornoch, a location which has formed the backdrop for some of her writing.

Earlier in her writing career Rosamunde Pilcher wrote romances under the name Jane Fraser. Her big break came in 1987 with the publication of 'The Shell Seekers' which removed Tom Wolfe from the top of the New York Times bestseller list in 1990. Since then she has become one the most successful contemporary female authors. More than 70 of her stories have been televised in Germany. She retired from writing in 2000 and was awarded the OBE in 2002.

Pilcher's novels are noted for the detailed evocation of their beautiful settings. 'September' and 'Wild Mountain Thyme' are set in Scotland and the pictorial work, 'The World of Rosamunde Pilcher', depicts the landscapes that inspired her writing. The second chapter, 'My Second Home', is devoted to Dornoch.

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'The Blackberry Day'

SUTHERLAND: Dornoch

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Rosamunde Pilcher

This audio extract is from 'The Blackberry Day' from Rosamunde Pilcher's collection of short stories, 'Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories', first published in 1991. It is read here by Cindie Reiter.<br /> <br /> 'At Inverness she alighted from the train into a climate so different that the night train could have carried not only north, but abroad. The day was Saturday, the month September, and she had left London on an evening warm as June, the air muggy and stale, the sky overcast. But now she walked out into a world that glittered in the early light and was arched by a high and cloudless sky of pale and pristine blue. It was much colder. There was the nip of frost in the air and leaves on trees were already turning autumn gold.<br /> <br /> Here she had an hour or two to wait for the small stopping train that would carry her, through the morning, even further north. She filled this in by going to the nearest hotel and eating breakfast, and then walked back to the station. The news-stand had opened, so she bought a magazine and made her way to the platform where the smaller train waited, already gradually filling with passengers. She found a seat, stowed her luggage, and was almost at once joined by a pleasant-faced woman who settled herself across the table in the seat opposite. She wore a tweed coat with a Cairngorm brooch in the lapel and a furry green felt hat. As well as her zipped overnight bag, she was burdened by a number of plastic shopping bags, one of which contained what looked like a hefty picnic.<br /> <br /> Their eyes met across the table. Claudia smiled politely. The woman said, "Oh, my, what a cold morning. I had to wait for the bus. My feet turned to stone."<br /> <br /> "Yes, but it's lovely."<br /> <br /> "Oh, aye, good and fine. Anything's better than the rain, I always say." A whistle blew, doors slammed. "There we are, we're off. Sharp on time, too. Are you going far?"<br /> <br /> Claudia, who had picked up her magazine, resigned herself to conversation and laid it down again.<br /> <br /> "Lossdale."<br /> <br /> "That's where I'm bound, too. I've been down for a night or two, staying with my sister. For the shopping, you know. They've a lovely Marks and Spencers. Bought a shirt for my husband. Are you staying in Lossdale?"<br /> <br /> She was not curious, simply interested. Claudia told her, "Yes, just for a week." And then, because it was obvious that she would be asked, she volunteered the information. "At Inverloss, with my cousin, Jennifer Drysdale."<br /> <br /> "Jennifer! Oh, I know her well, we're on the Rural together. Stitching new kneelers for the Kirk. Funny she never mentioned the fact that you were coming."<br /> <br /> "It was very much a last-minute arrangement."<br /> <br /> "Is this your first visit?"<br /> <br /> "No. I used to come up every summer when I was young. When her parents were alive, and before Jennifer inherited the farm."<br /> <br /> "Do you live in the south?"<br /> <br /> "Yes, in London."<br /> <br /> "I thought so. By your clothes." The train was rattling over the bridge, the firth spread below them, stretching from the far western hills to the sea. She saw small boats going about their business, delectable houses facing out over the water with gardens sloping down to the shore. "I came up last night on the sleeper."<br /> <br /> Rosamunde Pilcher, nee Scott, was born in Lelant, Cornwall, in 1924. She was educated at Penzance and Cardiff before going on to serve with the Wrens during World War II. In 1946 she married Graham Pilcher and moved to Dundee where her husband ran the family jute factory. She raised four children and has 14 grandchildren. She has a holiday home in Dornoch, a location which has formed the backdrop for some of her writing.<br /> <br /> Earlier in her writing career Rosamunde Pilcher wrote romances under the name Jane Fraser. Her big break came in 1987 with the publication of 'The Shell Seekers' which removed Tom Wolfe from the top of the New York Times bestseller list in 1990. Since then she has become one the most successful contemporary female authors. More than 70 of her stories have been televised in Germany. She retired from writing in 2000 and was awarded the OBE in 2002.<br /> <br /> Pilcher's novels are noted for the detailed evocation of their beautiful settings. 'September' and 'Wild Mountain Thyme' are set in Scotland and the pictorial work, 'The World of Rosamunde Pilcher', depicts the landscapes that inspired her writing. The second chapter, 'My Second Home', is devoted to Dornoch.