Seeds of stories are everywhere

  Our Scottish getaway It's amazing what you may discover on your holiday. We came back on Friday, after a wonderfully restful break in a delightful cottage in Scotland, discovered by my wife Eva who has a gift for finding special places for our breaks. In 2019, we stayed a stones' throw away from where the well loved author and illustrator Beatrix Potter used to holiday. But this time, the place where we stayed, was a short stroll away from somewhere with a much darker history.  In our directions to the cottage, we were told 'there is a war memorial on your left', all well and good, that's exactly what we expected to see, but all was not as it seemed.  The de la Bastie monument At first glance, you could believe that's what it is, but when you look closer, you discover it's more a memorial to one man: a man whose murder went on to cause an international incident. The man was Antoine d'Arcy, also known as 'The White Knight'. He was highly skilled at tournaments, on personal terms with James IV, an ambassador of France to Scotland, a keeper of Dunbar castle, had a company of 40 spearmen and even hosted James V of Scotland.  The international incident, trouble between Scotland and France, was caused by his murder. He was murdered by George Home, a member of the Home Clan, who wrapped the hair of d'Arcy onto his saddle cloth and then stuck his victim's head on a pole in the middle of the village. This murder was punished, due to the urging of the King of France - though it took 11 years! And in the early 19th century, a monument was erected by a member of the Home Clan in honour of  The White Knight. But that wasn't the only story. Oh no.  A friend recommend we visit the nearby costal village of St Abbs. So we did, and it is a gorgeous site, but this place also has more to it then meets the eye. We popped into the visitor centre, only to then find out that St Abbs is twinned with New Asgard which appears in Avengers Endgame. We haven't seen either of the Avenger films but we are certainly going to now.  And then we stumble upon a sweet story of how the founder of Tunnocks tea cakes gave £250,000 so St Abbs could have their own lifeboat.  And that's without mentioning my mini drama of getting lost whilst on a stroll with Charlie, and some wonderful encounters with the local wildlife.  As Roald Dahl says in his introduction to his autobiography Going Solo -  Life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.  I'd love to hear of any surprising incidents that you've had on your holidays. Let me know on Facebook or in the comments.  Martin is a writer, baker, photographer and storyteller. He's been published in the ACW Christmas anthology and Lent devotional. He's currently honing his craft at flash fiction and you can find him on Twitter here.

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