This post first appeared on the Authors Electric collective blog
“Where do you write?” asked a very pleasant lady at a talk I gave recently to the Cheltenham Writers’ Circle.
I gave my standard answer: how lucky I am to have my own study in my Victorian Cotswold cottage, with a big desk facing a window that looks out over the garden.
But next morning, when I sat down to write there, I shrieked as a sharp pain shot from my spine to my ankle, reminding me that lately I had been spending far too long at my desk-with-a-view – and I felt desirous of change.
Prompted by the arrival of my new National Trust card in the post the day before, and licensed by my friend and mentor Orna Ross to fill the creative well with a weekly “create date” with self, I stowed my purse, my shades, and my notebook and pen into my backpack, donned my walking boots, and set off to nearby Dyrham Park.
|The long and winding road down through the deer park to the spectacular Dyrham Park|
Ok, I confess, I drove there (well, it is about eight miles away) – but on arrival, I eschewed the visitor bus service and set off down the path to this beautiful stately home, nestling at the bottom of the deer park, in search of a different place to write my daily words.
|A cosy nook beckoned me from inside a hollow tree|
This old hollow tree looked tempting. I’ve always had a soft spot for hollow trees since reading Enid Blyton’s The Hollow Tree House (over and over again) when I was a child. Unfortunately this one was roped off from public access.
I proceeded to the main house, skirting round the building – it was too sunny outside to be indoors – admiring beautiful Delft pots of tulips on the way. (This was a few weeks ago now.)
|The original owner had served as Dutch ambassador|
I thought the chapel would come in handy if my writing wasn’t progressing well and I needed a quick pray, but sadly it was locked.
|The chapel now serves as the parish church.|
There were plenty of seats to choose from with scenic views of the flowerbeds…
|To sit in sunshine or shadow? – depends on which end you choose|
…although I might be tempted to take pity on the gardener and lend him a hand with the weeding.
|I think he might benefit from a bigger wheelbarrow|
Wildflower meadows complemented the formal planting, replete with so many traditional English plants that I found Oberon‘s seductive lines running through my head…
|“I know a bank where the wild thyme grows…”|
…but closer inspection revealed a forbidding sign.
|“Home again, home again, jiggety jig”|