is for Castle. Well, one in particular. Scarborough Castle which stands proudly upon the headland at Scarborough on the NE coast of England. It provides a natural division between the South and North bays and it has stood sentinel over the town since being built by Henry 11 in the 1150s.
The castle started life as an Iron Age settlement, later it was occupied by the Romans and then The Vikings before reaching its hey day in the 12th century. The castle has seen more than its fare share of conflict and strife in its long history.
My association with the castle started in my childhood. Every summer, I…along with my parents and older brother, and later my younger sister would spend at least a week at the popular seaside town where we would indulge in the typical ‘bucket & spade’ holiday of the working classes.
Our ‘digs’, as my father referred to the little hotel we always stayed at (with full board) were just around the corner from the castle on the North side. It was much quieter than the more commercialised South side. More refined if you like. I was happy with that, because even as a child I was quiet and introverted……and very ‘tuned in’ to certain places and atmosphere.
Scarborough castle was no exception. Inside the ruins, along their perimeters and almost all of the area surrounding the ruins made me feel inexplicably melancholy and sad. In fact, thinking about it, most of the town made me feel that way, and still does. And the cry of seagulls too makes me feel sad.
Of course, I didn’t know why I felt this way and I don’t remember ever having told my family at the time. But it was only later in life (in fact it was in 2011 at the age of 54) when I discovered M/M stories and books that pieces of the jigsaw began to fall into place.
I was deeply affected by the stories of these men and their troubles and conflicts with society. Many times I found myself sobbing uncontrollably while reading these stories. I had never felt such empathy with characters as I did with these men. But why?
It was while I was in the throws of a period of crying that I called out the name ‘Ellis’ asking him to forgive me. I was totally unable to explain why I called that name.
But I have wondered…..have I lived before, in Scarborough and perhaps suffered some trauma involving someone called Ellis. I don’t suppose I will ever know for sure.
All these things combined though, did give me the idea for my WIP. A story of two boys, friends from childhood they live in the fishing community of Scarborough in the early years of the 20th century. When Ellis and his friend, Stephen reach their teens they realise that what they feel for each other goes much deeper than mere friendship.
One of their meeting places is….Scarborough Castle.