My short story Ida's Bench is in this month's People's Friend Fiction Special. Usually I have a tale to tell you about the inspiration behind it but with this one the story just told itself.
Around the beautiful West Sussex countryside, you will see many benches dedicated to the people who have loved a particular view or who in their lifetime enjoyed walking that particular path. Ida's bench is one such bench on the Sussex downs. I shall direct you to Tracy's blog post where she has posted a photograph of one such bench and unbeknownst to her, it may even have been Ida's bench.
I knew I wanted to write about Ida's story and why she loved to sit on her bench, but decided to place her bench overlooking the sea instead of the Downs. It was one of those stories that was written in a sitting, the ideas tumbling out. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it is a wonderful feeling. Luckily the fiction editor liked it.
The only disappointing thing is that the illustration in The Friend didn't show a bench, which I think was a great shame as it is, after all, the title of the story. Still, the story is one of my favourites and I am thrilled to have had it published.
These are the pigs that I pass on my walk to Ida's bench. The pig farm covers quite a large area of the South Downs. Some think it an eyesore but I love it, especially when there are hundreds of piglets.
You can just see the town where I live in the distance.