My inspiration behind ‘A Red Sky at Night’

The Red Sky at Night Jo Thomas

Well, the clocks have gone back. The evenings are darker and autumn is slowly but surely showing us her true colours – red, orange, yellow and gold. I love this time of year; love it! I love the early evening mist as it rolls in through my village, mixing with the smell of wood smoke as log burners are woken and brought back to life after their long summer break.
I love getting wrapped up in big thick sweaters, gloves and hats and getting out in the fresh air. This is the time of year I love to walk my dogs the most and as I walk, the more I find stories start to play out in my head.
And more than any other time of year, it’s the autumn when I find myself drawn to the sea. There’s a beach I go to near us, where dogs aren’t allowed in the summer months. I look forward to the autumn when I can drive over there in my camper van, take the dogs and let them charge around on the soft sand, dipping in and out of the rock pools, chasing seagulls that land. I love the bracing fresh air, watching the dogs run in figures of eight and bound in and out of the little waves. And then what I really love is to cook outdoors, sizzling, spitting sausages on barbeques on the beach or jacket potatoes in the embers of a wood fire, hot juicy hotdogs held in hands covered by fingerless gloves, cheeks glowing from glasses of well-deserved red wine after the exertions of a good walk. I just love it!

This is how I came to the idea of A RED SKY AT NIGHT.  I wanted to write about being by the sea as autumn rolls in on a wave, like Aphrodite riding ashore on her giant shell, on the backs of galloping white horses.
As a child I used to holiday in West Wales, the same two summer weeks, the same long drive and the same campsite every summer. It was wonderful. We loved the freedom we had as kids there, telling our parents we’d be back at teatime. We spent hours crabbing in the rock pools, jumping off the rocks into the deep water and mackerel fishing. They were happy carefree days.
Then last year, I bought Dorothy the camper van and we took it back to that same campsite, where my three children enjoyed the same things I used to as we watched the sun set over the sea. They loved it just as much as I had.
So with the clocks going back, make the most of glorious autumn days. Why not take a walk to the beach and watch the white horses or catch leaves in the woods and make a wish. Sometimes we need to go back to the things we loved as a child to find our way again as an adult.

This weekend is my daughter’s birthday. We have family and friends coming to stay. We’ll be wrapping up warm, taking the dogs along the beach and then lighting a fire in the back garden and eating hotdogs and chilli by the fireside.

Everything changes in the autumn. It may be the end of the summer, but for me, it feels more like a new beginning, like something exciting is waiting just around the corner.