Story Starter: The Royal Scotsman


All aboard the Royal Scotsman.

This fabulous train was sitting at another platform when I got home to Dundee after either the Southampton or Newcastle workshop earlier this year. Isn’t it splendid? The paintwork looks kind of brown in the pic, but it was actually a glossy dark ruby. Gold lettering. Shiny clean windows. Sumptuous upholstery inside. All very fine. But my favourite bit is that platform at the back. (I know it has a name but darned if I can remember it.)  For some reason it makes me think of the Wild West. And cinders. No doubt it will make you think of something entirely different.

I wonder where it was bound? I didn’t have time to check that out. It had been a long day, and my husband was waiting outside the station to whisk me home for a much-needed cuppa so I shouldn’t really have even stopped to take the pic. Ooops, I hadn’t confessed that to him. Hope he doesn’t read this. Sorry, dear!

I’m still, as always, using more 2000-word and 3000-word stories than anything else, and I have to warn anyone who’s sent in 1200 words recently that so has everyone else. I can only reiterate that I use only one per week, 52 per year, and yet we probably receive almost 52 of them every week! So, an awful lot of you are going to have  a very long wait to hear any kind of news, and when it comes it’s likely to be disappointing. Just like a train, sometimes…. Anyway, sorry, but those of you who know me know I tend to call a spade a spade.

But back to our lovely train. I can hear it singing along the tracks. Steam engine? Beautifully costumed passengers on board? That’s the literal interpretation. I wonder what else you’ll come up with? I can hardly wait to see.

PS Autumn 2017 workshops booking form is here. 

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.

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