I looked at this picture today. It is not mine, but from here. This is The Mount, in Fleetwood, Lancashire. A little bit more googling and browsing and I turned up this – The Mount’s official blog.

The Mount is the name of the hill – a pretend, artificially designed hill – and the thing on top of it is called the pavilion. You climb (not a hard job, unless you’re pushing a toddler in a pram, as I was) right to the top and, apart from the view, which is of a grey sea and a lighthouse and some memorials to lost fishermen and a lost fishing industry, getting up there is a disappointment. Right at the top, and the pavilion – not as nice in real life as it is in the photograph – is shut up and shutters down. It doesn’t have opening hours – it’s been like that for years and no-one I’ve been able to ask (including the very nice librarians at Fleetwood Library) knows what it is like inside. Although they did tell me all about Decimus (tenth child – his mother probably had better stories) Burton.

I suppose I was hoping for a tea-shop or at the very least a skanky public inconvenience. Nope. I took a note of the graffiti and moved on.

I was out in Fleetwood because I was wondering how to do research for a story I was planning to write. Going there and looking at things seemed to be a good start, although because I didn’t know exactly what I was doing – either with the research, or the writing, or even the pram, the trip seemed like a disappointment.

I’m just going through the copy edits on A Kind of Intimacy and have been reminded that the hill and the pavilion thing became a setting for a nasty scene towards the end of the book – my Annie climbs up there and – out of breath but hopeful – meets a bad man in a denim jacket who didn’t bring flowers but a bad joke I stole from my brother. 

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