This evening- thanks to my wonderful hosts I had the pleasure and privilege of visiting two real villages. One ‘Dayt Roumi’ was a rather upmarket one, with a gorgeous lake in the middle, a café, even a hotel and houses of all sorts dotted around it. Another was a traditional village with a real farmhouse where I could meet the family, go into their home, ask them questions and have a good look around. I was delighted at this opportunity – a real honour indeed to be part of their life. As I expected, I was met with so much warmth, affection and a welcoming manner opening out their doors. Such a privilege indeed!
I also came face to face with parents in rural surroundings coping with disability of a child in the face of resilient and hardworking farming lives. I got to see the special wool rug that the women had woven, the large animal shed, the vegetable plot where we were given gifts of mint to make tea and watched the cows grazing in the fields. On another farm we were taken to a beekeepers farm and learnt about the process, making our way gingerly through the nettles and brambles, passing olive and peach trees.
Now that I have gathered all this material – what do I do with it? Well the visit posed more problem for my plot than I had imagined. What I had seen bore no resemblance to what I had imagined or put in my ‘village’ chapters. For example I had imagined lanes, with village houses very close together. Here, sometimes they are divided by almost an acre of land. There is alot of space in the countryside with people engaged in farming and with plenty of land for growing crops.
I have now decided that the farm I visited- lets call it ‘Khadija’s farm’ named after the older woman who hosted us will play a major part in my novel but in setting only – the characters will be totally fictitious, as I believe its not fair to the real people. This will become the neighbouring farm to Imane’s home, one of the heroine’s in my novel.
The real setting of the village will be the ‘Roumi’ village by the lake. The modern café and that gorgeous house I spotted would belong to Yanis’s family, Imane’s fiance. I am quite pleased with myself. Now I can visualise the setting. Next the hard process of rewriting of scenes and grafting of new ideas and settings – will begin when I get the time that is- in between many inspections. Exciting but a lot of hard work ahead!