Up on the North Norfolk coast on a hazy, warm June day, chugging quietly up the creek, simply going with the flow, watching the bird life and letting worries ebb away with the tide. A first for the dog who had never been on board before but she soon got her sea legs and settled down to enjoy the voyage.
Wonderful day out with other members of Society of Authors’ History Writers’ Group (Histerical) to the Manor House in Hemmingford Grey where the author of the Green Knowe books, Lucy Boston, lived for many years. One of the oldest inhabited houses in the country, most of the Norman house remains virtually intact despite various changes over nine centuries. We were shown round the house by Diana Boston, Lucy’s daughter-in-law and the Green Knowe stories came to life for us since Lucy put so much of the house and its contents into them. We also saw Lucy’s exquisite patchwork quilts which she worked in the winters until she was in her nineties and then we wandered round the stunning garden bathed in June sunshine. Magic.
Wonderful lunch at the weekend in the stunning setting of Madingley Hall to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Fry Art Gallery Society. The Fry is a small art gallery in Saffron Walden which punches well above its weight, with a national – and international – reputation. During the summer months, visitors walk through the tiny archway in Castle Street and down the path to the gallery to see work by the Ravilious, Bawden and the artists of Great Bardfield, among others.
Now it’s back to the garden and the battle against the weeds.
A variety of recent activities. A wonderful afternoon drifting round local gardens opened under the Nation Gardens Scheme. June is when the English garden is at its most perfect.
Then up to Scotland for a week to visit family. Always a treat to be among the hills again; living in East Anglia has much to recommend it but there is an absence of hills!
Back home and to the launch of Helen Moss’s new book Dragon Path at Heffers Children’s Bookshop. Helen is amazing and has been dubbed ‘The New Enid Blyton’. I’m not sure she likes the label but her series is certainly gobbled up by her many young fans.
A very happy lunch here at home on a sunny day with four Cambridge based children’s writers – Adele Geras, Pippa Goodhart, Gillian McClure and Annemarie Young. Such fun to compare experiences and ‘talk shop’. And constructive, too; three of us are planning a joint event in the Autumn – watch this space!
Yesterday I was In Letchworth at The Settlement, an excellent adult learning centre where I run a creative writing course for five weeks at the end of each year. We had an open morning where the public could come and talk to tutors and sign up for courses. Very worthwhile and particularly interesting to meet (and have lunch with) fellow tutors. Such an interesting group of people who are teaching a wide range of practical and academic courses. The Settlement is run by an energetic and very welcoming committee and goes strength to strength.
A meeting of Walden Writers at my house last week. As ever, stimulating and useful. How lucky we are to have this critique group locally where we can be sure of objective, supportive and constructive criticism of our work. Oh, and eat cake! I made a particularly splendid one for last week’s meeting but they ate it before I had time to take a photo!
I was in Suffolk this weekend. Took in my cousin’s excellent one man art show at the North House Gallery in Manningtree and then we visited Grayson Perry’s house overlooking the estuary nearby. Completely bonkers but hugely appealing in its own unique way!