Living by the sea at this time of year the haar is a common presence; November is renowned as the season of ‘Mists and mellow fruitfulness’, but along the coast we have more of it. The word haar is interesting, for some reason I thought it was Scandinavian, but it probably isn’t: haar is used along the coast of the North Sea, and mainly in eastern Scotland, and  north-east  England. Variants include har, hare, harl, harr and hoar which may have come from the Saxon or Low German and Middle Dutch word ‘hare’ ; elsewhere it is usually called a sea fret.

I have used fog a couple of times in my novels, in ‘The Double Act’ and also in my first published e-book, Farholm. Deke is the main character, and she has gone to the island of Farholm to find out about her dead husband who came from there; she becomes friendly with Micheal who is on his own pilgrimage and they become trapped in a hippy commune in the hills when the fog comes down.

The fog was thicker than anything Deke had ever experienced, it was quite frightening, like a disembodied entity pushing up against her face, its cold breath chilling her skin and dewing her hair. She wanted to hold onto Michael but he stayed close by her, his arm against her elbow. Dawnstar lead them as surely as if she could see clearly. Perhaps she is an alien, perhaps she has infrared vision, thought Deke. It was an utterly silent world apart from the sound of her own breathing, the tap of her crutches on the cobbled path and the light thud of the man’s boots. She sensed the presence of buildings rather than saw them…

Deke becomes upset and rushes out of one of the buildings and then gets lost:

Deke hobbled swiftly down the stable, flung open the door and rushed out into the fog, she would go back to the cafe and phone someone to rescue her, to take her back to her cottage and she would pack and run away. She blundered on and she heard Michael somewhere calling her, his voice oddly directionless in the obscurity. She came up against a wall and followed it, passing an unlit window and came to a door. She banged but there was no response, it wasn’t the café. Michael was still calling her name and then she heard other voices. Quite close at hand a woman said, “Who is it?”
“Its me, Deke,” she answered because the voice sounded familiar.
“Where are you?”
Deke stumbled on to where the woman seemed to be. There was grass beneath her feet, she had strayed out of the confines of the village. She was very frightened. Something moved in the fog in front of her and thankfully she hurried towards it only to collide with a startled cow.
She turned and tried to go back the way she had come. She had no idea which way she was facing, towards the village or away and into the hidden wilderness.
“Where are you?” said the woman again.
She stumbled on and suddenly her crutch sunk into mud. She was on the edge of a pond, the pond she had seen in the photo of the children. She had staggered into the cow trampled ooze and she slithered and stuck, her crutches pushing down into the smelly slime.
“I’m by the pond,” she called, her voice sharp with panic and fear.
“Which side? Can you see across it?”
Deke looked across the dull grey water and could just make out a clump of reeds.
She was shoved violently and she slipped and fell with a great splash. She floundered and thrashed desperately as a foot pressed down on her back, between her shoulder blades.

Here is a link to Farholm:


… and to ‘The Double Act’



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