The bus, a forgotten treasure.

After focusing on the house, the bus became a forgotten treasure. But now, more than ten years later, I’ve started using it as my office. In summer, the metal of the bus soaks up the heat. In winter it’s freezing cold as the doors don’t close properly, the rubbers around the windows show signs of wear and tear and the rain occasionally permeates the skylights when it’s too persistent, but the view is spectacular and it’s far enough from the cottage to feel isolated.

Bus covered by tarpaulins

Huge tarpaulins cover the roof to keep it dry inside. It means I have to lift them up every time I want to write and that’s nearly daily. If I leave them rigged up, it’s guaranteed that the wind will pick up and change to a northeasterly. The tarpaulins become giant umbrellas, ripping away the ropes that hold them to the poles in front of the deck. I’ve experienced that more often then I care to remember so my routine is to tie them all down when I’m finished and haul them up again when I arrive in the morning. It’s a tedious job, to say the least, especially when it rains.

My desk inside the bus
Ava’s writing desk in the half-dark because of the tarpaulins

There have been times that I sat at my desk in the near dark with only one tip of the tarpaulin rigged up, a rug over my shoulders and the heater at my feet, writing my masterpiece while trying to ignore the cold, the occasional mouse, and the pelting of the rain on the roof. At other times, especially in summer, I open up all the coverings and let in the sun. It still makes me breathless, looking up from my script and watching the harriers as they soar through the sky, or seeing the shimmer of water on the horizon with the occasional tip of a sail moving way beyond the green of the pasture. 

As much as I’ve loved the bus, and still do when the conditions are right, I’m looking forward to replacing it with something more convenient, a little cabin, completely finished and trucked to the site as we’re tired of renovating these days. But, if that’s too complicated or too costly then I’ll continue to keep writing there, sun or rain, as I refuse to let the weather spoil my fun.

Interior bus with pink couch and writing desk

Because I love writing. I love conjuring up characters and situations that are remarkable and authentic. Making them alive and believable is a beautiful puzzle that keeps me awake at night and makes me get up in the early hours of the morning wanting to write down what I just dreamt up.

In summer, the bus is still one of my favorite locations and most of the Rules of Enchantment has been written there. There is a lot of that bus and me in my book, not literally but figuratively. The troubles and tribulations Grace experiences during her journey. The doubt, the grief, the depressive feelings. The beautiful moments and highlights she encounters are mostly created in that old Bristol Hess bus.

After working on the book for three years, during weekends and holidays and even daily when I retired, I’ve finished it and I’m keen to start the second one in the series. I’ve actually started already but editing the Rules of Enchantment and making it ready for publication takes up all my time so the sequel is temporarily on hold.

View from Ava’s desk

I’m visualizing writing the next one in our new cabin. The large windows will be looking out at the same vista but I’m surrounded by a different enclosure. Wood instead of aluminium. Warm and dry instead of damp and draughty. Crisp instead of weather-beaten.

In a sense, the new environment reminds me of the setting where the next book will take place. A totally different environment. Because book two is all about Bear and his twin brother Leo, Grace’s ex-lover, and uncovers why the brothers distanced themselves from Grace and let her make that life-changing journey on her own.

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