The writer is a lonely hunter

gailaldwin

Retreats for You with Debbie Flint

I met Debbie Flint in 2011 when we both attended a retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre.  (I returned there last year – you can read about my second visit here.) Debbie works as a presenter on QVC shopping channel, has a number of books published, and she’s recently taken over a writing retreat in Devon. It was great to touch base with Debbie again and draw upon her experience as a TV presenter to produce a couple of YouTube clips where I talk about my writing journey. Debbie’s help was invaluable in introducing me to interview techniques, accessing handy tips and supporting me through the process. I’d never done anything like this before so her coaching allowed me to feel confident throughout filming and I’m delighted with the results. You can watch the interviews here.

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Debbie has made Retreats for You into a homely and relaxing place to write and reflect. My window overlooks the square with views onto the fields beyond. There’s no excuse for not getting on with your work as a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided. It’s  also good to be in the company of other writers and tap into the positive energy this creates. A few days away makes all the difference to my word count, I find!

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Walking and writing

We spent the weekend in Fowey and took an amazing walk around the coastal path where this photo was taken – hard to believe it’s January from looking at this.

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The journey back took us inland along the Saint’s Way. This path was rediscovered in 1984 when local ramblers found a series of forgotten granite stiles. The circular route was labelled ‘strenuous’ and ‘muddy’ and with adjectives like that, I would normally have avoided it. But, with my new fitness routine established, everything was fine.

At my desk on Monday, I received feedback on a writing submission I made earlier in the month. The lovely Suzie at Writers in the Alley forwarded a request from an agency interested in using local writing for a South West Trains advertising campaign. I rang the company and with a ten-minute deadline submitted some work. Two pieces of flash fiction were shortlisted for presentation to the client. When I learnt more about the proposal I was scared silly that my stories would end up on one of those huge ‘out of home’ posters opposite the platform at London underground stations. I needn’t have worried. South West Trains didn’t go for the idea and I’m left feeling disappointed and relieved.

On the upside, I have received some good news. My application for a writing residency at Brisons Veor has been accepted and I’ll be spending a couple of weeks at Cape Cornwall later in the year.

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Lyme Regis

After a busy day at work, Dave and I went to Lyme Regis. We walked along the Cobb.

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Enjoyed pretty views over the harbour towards the town.

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Bought locally caught scallops to eat with chips on the beach.

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A perfect end to the day.

 

 

 

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Sandsfoot Castle

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I ate this for breakfast at 10am following a forty minute walk from the centre of Weymouth. (I must say a cream tea is remarkably enhanced by some fresh strawberries in addition to the clotted cream and jam.) In the background is Sandsfoot Castle, the ruins of a Henrician blockhouse, built to defend the south coast of England following Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his break with the Roman Catholic Church. Over time, the cliff on which it is built became eroded by the sea and most of the gun floor of the castle fell into the sea. What remains is a ruin that’s fun to explore and gives an idea about the construction of a Tudor castle.

Back in Weymouth, there was plenty more activity with a folk festival in full swing and dancers everywhere including these lovely ladies.

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Now at home, there’s sunshine on the deck, and I think it’s time for my first Pimms of the summer.

Cheers!

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Serious walk

Being such a lovely morning, there was no excuse. I’ve managed to put off doing a decent walk every weekend this year. Usually I claim there isn’t enough time and we settle from a stomp along the sea front from Preston to Weymouth. Today, the glaze of blue sky and warm sun had me dig out my walking boots and we headed off.

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Notice the eucalyptus tree!

I chose a walk from cuttings David had saved from a magazine. I ruled out the strenuous ones, and we settled on a circular walk around Corscombe. However, when we’d gone about a quarter of the way (and David was struggling with the instructions) he realised page two of the route was from a totally different walk. Not being ones to retrace our steps, we followed our noses and found a path.

Sheep followed us at one point. thumb_IMG_0603_1024

IMG_0604And the clumps of snow drops were compensation for trailing through mud.

We’ll be better planned, next time.

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