Let there be light!

by Amanda Fleet

I live in Scotland. In the summer, the daylight seems almost never ending.

In the winter?


But finally it feels as if spring might appear. The frogs will start frolicking in the pond again, and dawn will occur closer to breakfast than lunch. The idea of going for a long walk doesn't feel like madness or potentially necessitate 45 layers of clothing.

And if I'm walking all morning/afternoon/day, I will (of course) have a notebook (or two, or more) with me, not least because I am right in the middle of the madness of writing the next book.

Out on a walk, I may suddenly get an idea for a scene, or how to solve a sticky bit of plot. Or I may overhear a great snippet of dialogue and want to note it down.

If my characters would actually shut up for ten minutes (they don't), I may even be struck by a yen to sketch the view.

I want to have a small collection of notebooks with me that can cover all possibilities, with enough protection that they can bounce around in a rucksack, but not weigh 20kg.

Almost invariably, I'll be carrying my Lochby Field Journal, with a couple of A5 notebooks inside - one for writing scribbles (plot, dialogue... etc.) the other with paper better for sketching. These two aspects are currently covered by a Clairefontaine Inkebana notebook (for the writing scribbles) and the new Viking Ego for the sketchbook.

Why these two notebooks? And why the Lochby?

Let me start with the Lochby. It's just beautiful. I've written about it before, but that doesn't make it any less fabulous. It has a waxed canvas cover that will protect against dings and scuffs to the books, as well as against damp things being shoved in the backpack. But not only that, but the interior has nooks and crannies to carry enough other things to not need to carry anything else, writing-wise.

The front inside cover has a mesh pocket held closed with velcro which easily holds a bit of cash, plus three other open pockets - all suitable for carrying credit cards. Behind them is another slip pocket that runs the height of the cover, where random receipts or other bits of paper can be stashed. In the back inside cover is a pen-loop and a full-width and full-height vertical slip pocket that you could slip the cover of a notebook in, if you wanted to.

Running up the middle of the cover are 4 elastics for holding notebooks in, plus two ribbon markers. There's also a slip-pocket in the back cover (though I find this one a little tight). The whole thing is held closed by a chunky metal hook and loop, and there's a second pen-loop in the cover (I prefer the one inside though - it's a little tighter).

So, that's my Lochby. When I'm out and about, it can hold everything I need (I also have a slim bird identification book that gets slotted in the cover, and plasters in the small velcro pocket!). I can stop and only need to find it in my backpack, whatever the reason I'm pausing.

As for why the Clairefontaine and why the Viking Ego? They are just splendid notebooks. The Clairefontaine will take any kind of pen you want to throw at it, and the Viking has great paper for sketching in a slim enough notebook that it fits in the Lochby without weighing a ton.

The Lochby also comes in a very smart navy and black. There are also pocket-size versions available in brown and navy.