It’s hard to believe that only last week I was in the Algarve enjoying the hospitality of Carol McGrath who organised a writing retreat for friends. I joined other writers including Alison Morton and Denise Barnes as well as Sue Stephenson (I wrote about some visits I made with Sue and Carol here) and Grace McGrath. It was wonderful to feel the sunshine, swim in the pool, eat delicious seafood and talk endlessly about books and writing.
As part of the week, I delivered some input on writing flash fiction. I’m not sure if my captive audience were aware of being guinea pigs for a workshop that I’ll be delivering in November at the NAWE conference in York. Fortunately, the tasks and activities were well received and, I believe, may have converted some to the benefits of flash fiction as a relief from longer writing.
While a good part of our time was spent writing, we also visited the beach and spent Saturday in Lagos. While I was there and had internet access, I found I’d been contacted through this blog’s contact page by Larry Michell, the driver of the overland bus that I travelled on from London to Kathmandu in 1981 (you can read more about the journey here). The internet is a marvellous thing, I was thrilled hear from Larry and when I’m next in Australia (hopefully in 2015) they’ll be a reunion of overland survivors.
Lagos also provided a splendid restaurant for lunch and an interesting afternoon learning about the slave trade. Portugal was the first country to capture slaves from Africa and Lagos became and important slave port. The activity pre- dated the transatlantic slave trade in which hundreds of thousands of Africans became enslaved on plantations in the Caribbean and the United States. The slave trade also accounts for the black presence in Dorset, where plantation owners like the Drax family, brought Black women back to work as servants in the houses of their Dorset estates. You can find out more about the Dorset connection by reading Dorset’s Hidden Histories by Louisa Adjoa Parker.
What interesting facts have you learnt about your local area?