AN AWARD winning author from Muirkirk has done it again with a commendation in an international story competition.

Rosie McGlynn wrote about a day out in Russia, where her plans went badly wrong for a variety of reasons, leaving her to spend the day on a railway siding.

Based on personal experiences, Journey Through Uncertainty is a collection of the winning entries which includes Ms McGlynn’s Journey to Everywhere.

Writing under the pen-name SR McGlynn, she achieved a Commended accolade for her work in the annual Ouen Press event in which contributors had to submit a ‘true travel’ tale.

Her day out had started with much expectation of meeting and spend time with friends in a Russian town a couple of hours train ride from her student digs in Moscow.

However, mismatched schedules, misdirected communications, and a variety of other distractions mean the visit doesn’t happen.

Marooned on a railway siding, Ms McGlynn compares events of her aborted day out with a wider view of Russian national affairs.

Now settled in Muirkirk, she has worked in several professions including a hypnotherapist in the UK and as an English teacher in Russia.

That meant she had to learn Russian first and how that got off the ground is an extraordinary tale in itself.

Ms McGlynn said: “It was Christmas 1994 and I was living in Leeds and had enjoyed a few drinks. My friend and I were a bit bored and thought ‘Let’s ring someone’.

“So we started ringing numbers randomly from all the world. A lot of them were not answered and we realised that it was early morning in some places.

“But in Russia it was 10am, so I called a number and said ‘Happy Christmas’, but the person on the line did not know English.

“I spent the next seven days learning Russian, then called to wish him ‘Happy New Year’ in his own language and found out his name was Oleg.

“After visiting Moscow for the first time, on December 16, 1995 — it was -20C, I spent the next five years learning fluent Russian.

“I was a mature student, aged 26 at the time, but it grew from there. While on my course at Leeds University I took a year out and worked in Russia teaching English, while they taught me Russian.”

There were many memorable moments, both good and bad, including being outside a hospital in Moscow — under armed guard.

She said: “It was 20 years ago and I needed three weeks of hospital treatment but my insurance papers were waved away, they wanted the money upfront in cash.

“I was left outside, with an armed guard, while I contacted my Russian boyfriend who thankfully had the money — it was 100 dollars a day.”

Learning the language also enables Ms McGlynn to act as interpretor when young people visit the UK as part of the The Children of Chernobyl charity project.

Looking back on her time in Russia is made possible as her mum in Muirkirk kept all her letters, back and forward. which she sent regularly.

Her hands-on experience which has been turned into a series of fascinating factual stories has now earned her several awards.

“I first entered a competition in 2013 when the winning stories would be published, but what I did not know that it was an international event, with entries from all over the world.

“There were 780 entries and I was one of 22 to be published. My next project is a novel based on Brexit, called No Zone.”

Ouen Press is an independent publisher, focusing on contemporary fiction, travel tales and biography while encouraging storytellers to produce compelling tales.

Paula Comley from the company said: “We were delighted again with the global reach of the competition as we promoted a worldwide submissions policy, which reflects our interest in talented writers regardless of geography.”