The picture above shows me and my friend, Dobbin.
Dobbin is quite scary when you first encounter him. He stands at the top of one of the most beautiful – and highly-polished – staircases I have ever climbed. He literally rocks opposite my bedroom door.
I am lucky enough to be on a writers’ retreat, in a grand, yet homely, Victorian manor house on Exmoor. I’ve been here four years running, and think of it as my second home. Northmoor House is surrounded by woodland, and the air is overwhelmingly crisp and clear. It’s an inspiration.
It’s now Thursday, and although I’m missing my boys – feline as well as human – I am absolutely loving my time here. Amongst other things, I have written a short story called My Boyfriend Invented the Jagerbomb; I’ve made a start on two new novels; I’ve walked by the river Barle, and tried to catch falling leaves; I’ve nearly lost a welly in a squelchy puddle, whilst following deer hoof prints; I’ve fallen out of a rhododendron; I’ve had a bat almost fly into my face as I phoned my family; I’ve had two of the soppiest cats I have ever met sit on my lap, as I sat in the formal gardens enjoying one of Jenny Kane’s Mars Bar Scones; and I’ve filled my phone memory three times with pictures of trees.
I’d like to say I’ve partaken in wine-fuelled conversations long into the night, but I haven’t – partly because of my labyrinthitis, partly because I’ve been writing – but the camaraderie, and the food, actually, have been brilliant. If you’re a writer, and if you are able, I very much recommend going on a writers’ retreat! My novels The (D)Evolution of Us and Glasshouse both owe a lot to this estate, and to #ImagineCreative Writing.
But the big new is, I’ve just hit ‘send’ and submitted my work-in-progress, Underrated. Watch this space!
Thinking about it, I might have a celebratory glass of wine tonight, and go rocking with Dobbin – he’s not scary when you get to know him. Perception is everything, and I think Dobbin’s having a right laugh, actually, don’t you?
#WIP #Underrated #writersretreat #writerslife #writingcommunity