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  • This is complicated... two ideas are colliding in my head but failing entirely to coalesce. Coalliding, maybe. This story writing is so tricky.

    The picture is a ruined abbey - Byland Abbey, near my house in North Yorkshire. Seriously, go out of your way to visit it. And go to Shandy Hall (home of Laurence Sterne) in the next village, while you're there. You're a writer, aren't you? It's a shrine to writing, and art.

    But the thing is, the thing that gets me, the germ of this idea is: that this picture looks almost exactly like a drawing of a steam engine, as executed by my Grandma for my entertainment.

    She used to claim she couldn't draw, but she would (on request) produce the Grandma Steam Train, which had a funnel puffing smoke, an engine, a coal tender, and a couple of carriages.

    She would come to visit us in Whitby (which also has an abbey) in one of these fearsome beasts. The train would puff into Whitby station, which was a covered terminus, and sit there, heaving and steaming like an exhausted dragon fresh from a particularly tricky contest with a knight errant.

    The smoke on the platform would clear, like in one of those black-and-white pictures, and there she would be, a vision.

    You see, it hasn't coalesced. But it has sort of coallided.
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