A master of the festive fairytale, playwright Stuart Paterson lives in Cupar, Fife. Here he tells us where he’d like to disappear for a well-earned spell of relaxation. His latest magical play, Merlin the Magnificent, is at Dundee Rep from Monday.
Where is it?
Beacon Hill Farm, near Morpeth in Northumberland.
Why do you go there?
The views from Beacon Hill are spectacular and the accommodation is cosy enough to feel comfortable but not so fabulous that you’re worried about the consequences if the children spill juice all over the place. It’s basically converted old barns and steadings, but it also has a swimming pool and tennis courts, and there’s a set of goalposts too. We do sometimes try to play tennis, but we’re Scots so we’re totally hopeless at it. These days I find the ball goes past and I’m left standing there wondering why my legs didn’t move.
Because it’s not too posh, you can just go out there and enjoy yourself. Around half a mile away there’s a lake that’s good for fishing – or for swimming in the summer when the weather’s nice. It’s genuinely peaceful – not over-run or busy – and there are no cars and few other people around. The air is really clean and the whole place has a magical feeling, which I think comes from it having been a real farm.
It’s also in a lovely part of the world. Geordies are a bit like hyperactive Glaswegians: there’s that similar sort of spark and and energy there.
How often do you go?
Actually, we haven’t been for a couple of years, but we’re hoping to go again soon. How did you discover it? Through a friend of my wife who stayed there.
Who do you take?
My wife, Joan, and my three teenagers Patrick, Bruno and Alana.
What do you take?
Good books. We each have our own personal CD player so we don’t have to inflict our – very different -tastes in music on each other.
What do you leave behind?
Deadlines for plays. Concerns about whether what I’ve written is any good. All that sort of stuff.