After a busy few days visiting my oldies in Scotland (older than me, like, really old) we had visits with old friends, (only as old as us) in Bristol and Cambridge, where Pat stayed while I was in Crecy. What a fabulous five days that was. I was attending a writing course with five other like-minded people, run by Alan Durant, author of 100 children’s books and his wife Ginny who provided delicious meals and a trip to a Michelin guide restaurant. We stayed in the
prettiest cottage in town, slept in the attic, and wrote in ‘silent time’. No talking and write where you like. I can recommend it. Alan gave us deceptively simple stimuli, like a cemetery and old photos, minimal instructions and half an hour each day of one on one tutorials. At the end of five days, we had each written a children’s picture book and a 3000 word story. These were read out between courses from aperitif to dessert on the final evening. I left feeling energised, and quite likely to go again next year.
Now Pat and I are in a modern apartment in Arras, still in the attic, this time four flights up. We took a guided tour of WW1 sites, cemeteries, memorials accompanied by an enthusiastic Ausssie guide who explained the Australian troops’ involvement in this area. A sobering and emotional day, made worse by shocking hay fever; I sneezed continuously. Pat went to Ypres, Belgium the following day while I rested. We saw entire fields of scarlet poppies, they are a weed here! This morning was market day in the cobbled square. It is hard not to be tempted to buy but we are determined to travel light.
Tomorrow we head back to England, see my brother in Birmingham once more and have a special rendezvous with Dom and Alex in London. We fly out 12 hours before they do!