Diary of a Writer – July Prompt

in Bomarzo

I visited the garden of Bomarzo in Italy during a tour of gardens organised by the Friends of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. It contains many huge statues, like the tortoise above, and a few buildings. The carvings are often referred to as ‘monsters’ and they are both immense and, in some cases, grotesque. One of the buildings is a house that slopes.

The garden was created in response to grief over the death of his wife, Giulia Farnese, by Pier Francesco Orsini in the sixteenth century. Over the centuries, it became clogged by under/overgrowth, but has been cleared. It is still in private ownership and has become a major tourist attraction.


Okay, so how do either the tortoise or the fish on a bicycle contribute to inspiration? While my writing is very much in the doldrums at present, I think these images serve to remind me that even out of a period of comparative drought something, and something weird and wonderful, may come.

What I actually need is a house. I don’t see people walking through walls, but I am hugely influenced by atmosphere. Anyone with a recommendation? Where are the properties you’ve used? Was it a family connection that took you to the area? Were you interested in the politics?

The Door of the Year

City of Discoveries, my anniversary serial for The People’s Friend is up on their website and can be accessed here.

City of Discoveries



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 76 – Start the Week, Again

In the garden Bomarzo, Italy

So, how is your upcoming week looking? Are you starting it in church, Mayfield Salisbury’s online service is here? Today the youth ministry is led by Hillary and the sermon is given by Rev Neil Gardner for Trinity Sunday.

Perhaps you’re travelling, virtually, to somewhere exciting like the garden Bomarzo where the sculpture above is one of the attractions? Designed in the 16th century as an expression of grief and horror, the garden today retains a sense of out-of-this-worldliness.

Our armchair tour went to France yesterday and evoked memories of a lovely family week that included a swimming-pool, baby owls and a troupe of scouts singing around a campfire deep in the surrounding woods. Scrabble started with a bang as we both went out in the first 3 moves! Bee sting is waning in strength and the discoloured patch is now as big only as a coffee cup saucer and not a small tea-plate! Have removed a trout from the freezer and will hope to cook it for tonight’s tea. It’s quite large.

ADVENTURES WITH THE PAINTED PEOPLE by David Greig, directed by Elizabeth Newman and starring Kirsty Stuart and Olivier Huband is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 this evening. The Royal Lyceum, David is its artistic director, and Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Elizabeth Newman is their artistic director, communities will be tuning in. Why not join us – virtually.