I can hardly believe it was only two weeks ago that myself and four very talented ladies got together for the most magical of experiences. The occasion was a writing retreat, but my lovelies, this was not just any writing retreat. This was a magical adventure, held in the most magical of places.

Heartfelt thanks go to Rosie Longstocking from Greenacre writers who organised the retreat. We were treated to four days at Agatha Christie’s summer home – Greenway in Devon. Yes, that is what I said, I stayed at Agatha Christie’s summer home!!

My goal was to complete the first full edit of my historical thriller and to tighten and rework the first few pages.

Having never met the other writers I was apprehensive. In the days leading up to the retreat, I wondered why I had been so cavalier in signing up, but as they say, he who dares and all that. Maybe I am not as introverted as I like to think!

My worries soon disappeared on meeting these fine ladies. They were funny, friendly, and oh my, so talented!

We shared meals, taking it in turns to cook (who knew you couldn’t make rice pudding with Basmati rice??). The rest of the time was self-directed.

What followed were periods of procrastination involving – long walks, visits to the boathouse, a scoot around Agatha’s house, another visit to the boathouse, discussions concerning impending snow, attempting to find a phone signal, yet another visit to the boathouse – you get the picture… until….. finally…. I began to write!

It worked! Whether it was Agatha sending me good vibes, the wonderful company, or the location I know not. What I do know is that it was my perfect storm – I wrote my heart out. I was spurred on by receiving news that one of my short stories had been shortlisted in The Fiction Factory short story competition.

I can happily report that my edit got completed and my pages got tightened (nowhere else will you ever hear me say those words). And here’s the best bit ….. it was fun!

Between us, we created an environment that was supportive, encouraging and creative…. I think Agatha would have been pleased. Her sanctuary for those few days also became ours, and we flourished.

Highlights included:

Episodes of Poirot

The Boathouse

Writing

Stunning views

Laughing a lot

Playing story cubes after several sherbets!

Reading with the girls

Writing some more

Camillias

Snow

Finding Ingrid in the bathroom writing!

Eating

Making lists

Cooking

Continuing to write

Ladies in the gift shop

Murder….

Got ya! There were no murders, well not real ones!

There really were so many special moments.

Our adventure continued when we came to depart. As had been predicted, the snow came. A frantic half hour ensued. We debated whether or not to ‘wait and see’ and risk getting snowed in, or to depart. I think it was Agatha’s way of trying to keep us there… ‘Five Get Snowed in at Greenway’… Logic got the better of us and we left. The snow continued to fall… heavily, and so began the long haul back to our own worlds. We got stuck on a snowy hill, stuck trying to leave Torquay (roads closed due to snow), snow, snow and more snow fell. Thankfully we all made it home safe and sound.

Jane Lomas, Rosie Longstocking, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Michelle Cunnah – you ladies rock!

To coin a phrase – It really was the best of times!

Five Go to Greenway…. there needs to be a sequel!

Photos courtesy of: Rosie Longstocking, Jane Lomas and Nicole Fitton

View from the path

 

Karma Camillias…

Agatha’s House Greenway. My room is top right with the window slightly open.

Spot the difference! The first fluttering of snow!

The famous Boathouse

Room with a view

Murder… did someone mention murder? Our living room.

View from my room…

Me and Jane, Jane and me and a very big window!

The lady herself!

Here come the girls