Jane Yolen's Wayside

Once again, Jane Yolen invited this gang of unruly writers to her lovely home of Wayside in St Andrews, Scotland for a gathering of great minds and silliness.
I left a drizzly Edinburgh on a late train to get there. Happily, my travelling companion was the brilliant Annemarie Allen (who has visited my blog before). She is an expert on the Prestonpans witches, so I always quiz her when we're together and learn tons. (I keep my notepad close when I'm around her.)
Somehow, the poor weather completely bypassed St Andrews, and we enjoyed spectacular views all the way there. One of these days I will invest in one of those fancy cameras that erases reflections and crud on the outside of windows. There is such a thing, isn't there?
Elizabeth Wein picked us up at the train station, so I was able to gush to her about Code Name Verity, which I was scared to read, but finally did. It is a story of bravery and inspiration in the end, despite taking place during war (perhaps because of taking place during war). Although, I will never get that line out of my head, "KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK!”
     Elizabeth (one of three Elizabeths invited, which wreaked all manner of havoc - E.W., Elizabeth Kerner, and me) drove us through a hopping and sunny downtown St Andrews, and finally put a name to "Zebra (pronounced "zeb-rah" not "zee-brah") Crossings" for me. (These are black and white striped poles that indicate where pedestrians have the right-of-way over cars at an intersection. I never knew they had a name.) Downtown was hopping with people shopping and sitting outside at cafes, enjoying the sunshine. I enjoyed the ride so much, I only thought to take one photograph of this lovely ruin downtown.
At Jane's we talked about books, of course, and the importance and impact of names while we ate too many sweets and deviled eggs. JOY!

Mark A. Smith ate his very first deviled egg that day. I watched him for a reaction like that from the creature in The Shape of Water. Truly, if you had never eaten a hard-boiled egg, or a deviled egg in your life, wouldn't it be like swallowing pure sunshine? I love them, and Jane makes them best! Christina Banach and I had a contest to see who could eat more of them. I won, I think. Is six a record? (Might've been seven.)
     At any rate, after eating, Jane gave us all medals for being her friends, as if we could love her any more. Her support and generosity towards me and other creators amazes me. There will be books about these lovely gatherings at Wayside someday, of that I am certain. Tolkien and Lewis had nothing on us!
The wine flowed and the desserts kept coming, which compromised our abilities to be respectable company - as Bob (Robert J.) Harris, Joan Lennon, and Lisa Tuttle proved from their own Rose Theatre, a.k.a. "The First Floor Balcony". I mean, we are artists after all.
With full bellies we relaxed in the lovely garden until Annemarie and I realized there was only one train back to Edinburgh that hadn't been cancelled or delayed (what is up with the trains lately?), and we had to leave much earlier than we wanted to.
Everyone got a look at my artwork from Crow Not Crow and MerBaby's Lullaby before we left. (We all bring recent works to share or trade.) How fun to not only have original pieces to share (unlike during my digital days), but to see their reactions to them! Debby Harris' face says it all - I was so flattered!
Elizabeth (W.) drove Annemarie and me back to the train station, and we did indeed catch one of the last reliable journeys home. I wish I could relay how beautiful the train ride was as we chugged past the Firth of Forth and wee villages along the way. We saw six men carrying a boat on the mud flats where thick fog made it look as if they were floating. And yellow fields of rape-seed that were as dazzling as the gold in those deviled eggs. What a treat to be a creator visiting Jane's Wayside!


Jane Yolen said...

Silly girl--those are CHOCOLATE medals. Did you miss that???

Well, I missed the ROSE performance. Where was I???


Anonymous said...

The chocolate medal did'n't survive long after I got home. And it wasn't meeeee. Thank you Jane for a lovely day.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

I don't ever want to eat my medal - I want to keep it! Although, I suspect it will end up in Hubby's tummy one day when I'm not looking. :) xxoo e

David Opie said...

Sure sounds like an enchanting event! Thanks for sharing!

Robyn Hood Black said...

What a wonderful gathering! Yay Jane, and you, and all in that creative huddle.
Can't believe I'll be seeing those surroundings NEXT week! (We're taking a day tour to St. Andrews and County Fife.) :0) & Yes, I will ask you about the status of the medal....

Susan Eaddy said...

What a fabulous enchanted gathering. This group really knows how to LIVE!

A. Colleen Jones said...

Wow! You got to hang out with some pretty cool kids! And eat dessert! And get a chocolate medal. What more could you ask for? (A train, maybe). :)

cmills said...

Thanks for sharing all the delicious details of this magical day!