Having decided to set my novel in North Kent I had to pick a town, but when I couldn’t find one that exactly matched my criteria I invented one …Oh the giddy power of being a writer!
Thambay is situated near Whitstable, and I have taken liberties with the local geology to build it in a bay capable of sheltering a long beach, a fishing harbour and the all-important pier on which stands the Helter-Skelter of my novel.
Then I had to draw a map – I couldn’t have Albie running across the Market Square on the way to the timber yard if that was the wrong way, could I? So here it is – the town Albie grew up in – and it feels so real to me that I’d move there myself if I could!
.....Albie wheeled his bike into some woods to shelter under one of the big old trees. He had just pulled the wax packet of sandwiches out of his pocket when he smelled smoke, and his heart pounded inexplicably. Leaving his bike, he pushed his way through the wet tangle of undergrowth to emerge, with startling suddenness, in a clearing full of gypsy wagons………..One face in particular caught his eye…….. she was only a young girl – maybe fifteen or sixteen – but more beautiful than any of the girls in town, and those black eyes were casting a spell on him.
This is Albie’s first sight of Maria, and when she returns his love he is overjoyed. But to marry Maria and travel with her tribe would mean leaving Thambay where George, his ageing adopted father, wants him to take over the Helter-Skelter. Albie faces a difficult decision – until Fate takes a hand.
For your daily dose of Tenerife here is MAP TWO, of a MONKEY ZOO near us.It’s not nearly as grand as the Loro Parque in the north - to be honest it's a bit scruffy - but the animals and birds do have room to move and you are allowed inside some of the cages. This entranced my grandsons – the tiny MARMOSETS and Lemurs took fruit from their hands and they stroked a giant turtle. My son had a long conversation with a chimp, and when the chimp eventually had enough he sprayed John with a mouthful of water. I wish I’d caught that moment on camera!
These two monkeys where photographed by my daughter-in-law in Costa Rica – sitting in your drinking-water is a wonderful way to keep cool!