Crime writers in the observatory…
So you’ll be wondering what a collective of crime writers get up to on conferences when the crowds dissipate? You’re not? I’ll tell you anyway. We go gazing at the stars. The shiny-in-the-sky-peeping-behind-clouds kinda stars. Not Katie Price.
We were sat sitting, after dinner on Saturday night, at the bar: Lin Anderson, Gillian Philip, Cathy MacPhail and me (Michael J. Malone) when we were approached by a small dapper man.
“Want to see my observatory?” he asked.
“Makes a change from puppies,” said Gillian.
“Or kittens,” said Lin.
“Or tattoos,” said Cathy. “Oops, did I say that out loud?”
“At least tell me your name,” says I. “I don’t go to a strange man’s observatory without at least knowing their name.”
“Bert”, says he. “And here at the Stirling Highland Hotel we have an actual, real-life observatory.”
And before you know it, we were whisked off down a long, white corridor and up a steep, white staircase climbing up inside a dark tower.
“Ooh,” says Lin Anderson. “I could fair murder someone up here.”
“Me bagsies that,” says Gillian.
“Where’s my wine glass?” says Cathy.
So, imagine an igloo. Except there’s no snow. And it’s made of wood. And there’s a fricking HUGE metal tube thing stretched across the ceiling. Those in the know – our Bert – call it a telescope.
As Bert describes how the telescope works Lin and Gillian are getting more and more excited. Lin is wondering when Doctor Who will appear and Gillian is staring at this giant metal tube thing making squealing noises that Meg Ryan would be envious of.
Bert is visibly growing before our eyes. His chest is about to burst with pride. And we haven’t even looked through the thing yet.
Sadly, the cloud cover is too thick – the moon has got its cloak on, so to speak – but our Bert has an alternative. The Wallace Tower is lit up in the distance like a beacon and the telescope brings it so close we can see every brick. Gillian’s squeals are so high pitched now that only dogs can hear it. Albeit, every dog within a twenty mile radius.
Back in the bar – pulses calmed, breathing normal, the conversation returns to more mundane matters.
“Can I borrow a red wig from anyone for tomorrow?” asks Cathy.
Post by Michael Malone
Photos by Iain McLean