Wow - over a year has passed since the visit to Wentworth in 2018 which generated so much material for this little blog! I find it amazing that a whole year has in fact gone by and another writing retreat has come and gone (and that I was still working on the same material!)... Wentworth 2019 was a different affair to those that had gone before but it was no less enjoyable. In case you don’t know, it is organised by the National Association of Writers’ Groups (affectionately - NAWG) and has historically been held over the late May bank holiday but this year there are more retreats on offer - two general writing events, one on poetry and another on scriptwriting. I attended the one over the May bank holiday and had a great time.
I arrived at tea time on Friday and the weather was fantastic! My room was over the arched barn (the communal room) and up a flight of stairs. Now, I wish I had thought this through before filling a huge suitcase full of books and various laptops and tablets! It.... was... heavy! But I would not be defeated - this was my weekend away and I was an independent stay at home mum who was going to assert her authority and get that darned bag up those stairs without any help. Okay, so I scratched my car getting it out of the boot and nearly broke a toe on the staircase BUT I DID IT! I then said hi to a couple of friends I was over the moon to see and settled down to write. I had a bad headache and was asleep early.
The next morning I woke up early as usual. The sun was up, the birds were singing so I got myself out and was strolling around the grounds not long after 7.30. I didn’t intend to walk all the way up to the castle but it was absolutely glorious and I just kept on going. The rhododendrons and azaleas were in full bloom and took my breath away. When I got to the castle I looked around but there was absolutely no-one else there. I came over all Lady Macbeth before Cersei Lannister crept up on me as I prowled around my own Red Keep. Eventually a jogger came by and gave me a fright so I headed back to the main house for breakfast. All meals (except for Friday evening) are included with the weekend (at £167 for two nights, food and optional workshops it is really great value).
I spent Saturday in my room working on my manuscript with short breaks for lunch and dinner. I joined in (pitifully) with the quiz on Saturday evening and had a chat with Chris Huck about his collection of ceramics. On Sunday morning I had to clear out of my room. Rather than fill up the case again, I sensibly split my tomes into a number of bags and made multiple trips to the car so no book related injuries on Sunday! A few of us worked in the lovely library until lunchtime and then we went our separate ways.
There were fewer people there this year. A number of regulars didn’t make it and, of course, there were more dates to choose from but I did miss some of those who didn’t come. I did however get lots of work done, in a thoroughly delightful setting with wonderful people and only 20 minutes from home. I came away feeling very lucky to have attended and I can’t wait for next year. Maybe I will have finished a draft of the novel by then.
I love most types of fiction - crime, mystery, fantasy. Oh, and historical fiction of course and middle-grade books and, well, you get the picture.
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