‘The towpath on this side of the canal is quiet; most of the boats deserted… I watch a family of swans feed in front of the sluice gates.’
On our first visit to Lincoln we stayed at a pub called The Pyewipe, just outside the city on the canal. We loved walking along the towpath almost as much as climbing Steep Hill (the most aptly named street in the country) and visiting the cathedral with its famous imp, and seeing the Magna Carta in the castle.
We were also impressed by the waterside development at Brayford Wharf, a super-modern contrast to the medieval city above. In Endless Skies it is the place where Rachel first sees Jonathan, and I just had to have her live in a waterside apartment, even though she hates it. Although at the beginning of the book she would probably have hated anything.
‘This is a sky which goes on forever, echoing the flatness of the land, the faded gold of stubble sliced by the squareness of ditch cuts and dykes against the rolling mass of cumulus above.’
Winteringham, and its fabulous restaurant with rooms, Winteringham Fields, is a very special place for my husband Jim and me. Since 2014 we have spent big birthdays and special anniversaries there and can’t imagine going anywhere else.
The village and its surrounding countryside, along the banks of the Humber, has a rare beauty all of its own and it is there we first experienced Lincolnshire’s endless skies. Believe me, they are like no other.
For me Winteringham had to be central to the story so I made it home to Esther and to Jonathan.
‘At the end of the passageway is another staircase, identical to the first. Sunshine from the metal-framed window half way up sparkles on the brass handrail and floods the dark green lino with light.’
As far as Endless Skies is concerned, Hemswell was the final piece of the jigsaw, the place that brought World War Two into the story, although I only went there to look for an antique towel rail.
The antiques centres are the reason Hemswell is famous today, but it was originally an RAF base. Even now the plan of the base is clear, with former barracks and the old guard room converted for various purposes. This makes it incredibly special and it carries the atmosphere of its former use with it. I could almost imagine the wartime airmen running down the stairs.
Because of this, the book begins and ends at Hemswell and in terms of the story it has become the most important location.
Image courtesy of Liz Hannah