Yes, it appears that I have abandoned the blog, but the thing is, I just haven’t had time to write about anything: Apart from being incredibly busy at work, we have also had two months of an excellent reading game that took up my spare time, and … oh yeah … I also moved house. So, with all the moving and decorating and other things, I have had literally no time to spend sitting at the computer outside of working hours.
However, things are finally quietening down again to a level where I can post a quick update on a recent literature-inspired trip:
Just a short drive north of here, perched on the cliffs, lie the ruins of New Slains Castle.
Now, you might think this is just yet another ugly ruin of yet another castle (we have lots of them after all), but there is a little more to this one.
Most famously, Bram Stoker started writing Dracula when holidaying at the Kilmarnock Arms in nearby Cruden Bay, and the castle famously inspired elements of Dracula’s castle. There is an octagonal hall at New Slains that made it into Dracula:
‘The Count halted, putting down my bags, closed the door, and crossing the room, opened another door which led into a small octagonal room lit by a single lamp, and seemingly without a window of any sort.’Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897)
Btw, apparently when Stoker visited the castle, the hall was also lit by a hanging lamp (as the hall had no windows) and according to Mike Shepherd, author and blogger at https://draculasalad.blogspot.com, the lamp still exists. He also tracked down a photo on a BBC post that shows what the hall would have looked like at around 1900.
For more interesting facts about Bram Stoker’s connection with the castle and other locations in the area, Mike’s website is a great source.
There is some more historical trivia that features the castle, its owners, and visitors. From what I remember, there is a conection to Churchill which tells of a lady who contemplated suicide after he announced his engagement to Clementine, and there are also the somewhat entertaining 22nd Earl of Errol and his wife Lady Idina (cousin of Vita Sackville-West), who both also provided inspiration for literary characters. Famously, Nancy Mitford based her character “the Bolter” in The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate on Lady Idina.
Anyway, I just like the place for it’s eerie atmosphere, especially at this time of year, and the coastal views.