Saturday, 25 February 2012

A weekend by the sea.

Last weekend I was in Fishguard attending a romance writing workshop with Kate Walker. As usual it was a brilliant weekend and once I arrived home I became immersed in my latest story, dealing with the areas that needed more work - as well as trying to do my jobs on the farm.

The sun shone after a wet Saturday morning, but ensconced inside, learning all I could to make my writing better, I didn't mind. It was a great group and we all helped and encouraged each other.

So if you fancy a weekend away, immersing yourself in your writing, then Fishguard is the place for you. If romance isn't your genre, then maybe one of the other courses offered like poetry, short stories even painting, might be just right for you. How can you resist a view like this? I know I can't and I'll be there again next February.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It started with a ....

Valentine's Day. Where did it start?

One of the answers I've come across is that it began in Rome during the third century. Emperor Claudius II wanted to fill his army but many men were unwilling to leave their wives to join the army. So the Emperor decided to ban marriage hoping it would create a whole army of single men willing to join. What he hadn't bargained on was a priest, Valentine, who continued to perform the banned marriages until the day he was caught.
The jailer's daughter visited him often before he was executed for his crime. On the day of his death, 14th February 269AD he is said to have left her a note, signed, love from your Valentine.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Passionate Flamenco, Culture and Writing

Last week I travelled to Madrid to visit a friend I'd met whilst attending Sharon Kendrick's writing course at The Watermill two years ago. After leaving behind a snowy landscape I was a little surprised to see most people bundled up in scarves and gloves as we headed into the centre of Madrid for Tappas, but believe it or not, it was only marginally warmer there than back at home.
We treated ourselves to a night out at a Flamenco Tablao, where we had a fantastic meal and watched in awe as the dancers performed with passion and unbelievable energy.

We also visited the famous Prada Museum. Here we concentrated on paintings by several of Spain's artists, Bosch, Velazquez and Goya. Also we went to Museum Reina Sofia to see Picasso's Guernica. All of this opening up a whole new world to me.

I enjoyed strolling through Madrid's Retiro park, despite the cold and wished I'd been fast enough to get a photograph of the red squirrels as they scampered up and down the trees. The boating lake behind us looks very cold now, but must be fun in the summer.

In the middle of the week we took a train to Seville, where it was quite a bit warmer. There we saw the city from an open top bus and then visited the majestic Seville Cathedral. My favourite place was the orangery, where workers were trimming the trees, filling the warm sunny air with the beautiful scent of oranges.

It wasn't all play. As both of us are writers working hard towards publication, we settled down each day to some serious work and I was pleased to arrive back in a frosty Britain having written lots.