A Weekend of Fine Wines, Splendid Food and Many Words

November 21st, 2007 • Posted in News |

Just returned from what has become an annual writers’ retreat in the wilds of Wales. This year we stayed in converted barns on a farm just north of Saundersfoot, not far from Tenby. The farm is now a donkey sanctuary, and also home to a one-eyed pony, feral cat that just would not believe me whan I told it I didn’t like cats, and a pig monster. None of us ever saw the pig monster. But it was heard. It was watching us. It was waiting.

This year there were only five of us: Tim ‘Fucking Oven’ Lebbon, Paul ‘Soup King’ Meloy, Paul ‘Big Room with Furniture’ Lewis, Steve ‘Can I Use Your Oven’ Lockley, and Gary ‘Condiment Bitch’ Greenwood.

By God, but we’re cheerfully and unashamedly middle aged. Each of us went with a laptop, a target for the amount of words we wanted to hit over the weekend, plenty of booze (more of which later), and a recipe with which to impress our fellow retreaters. Upon arrival Lewis unveiled the King of all Sponge Cakes, a truly remarkable affair that actually make Lockley’s coffee taste good. That evening, I cooked sticky roast chicken with roast veg. It would have been lovely if the potatoes had browned (fucking oven). Next day it was Greenwood’s turn in the kitchen, producing a beautiful hot banana pudding which would, had it not been for the aforementioned fucking oven, have been an equally tasty cold banana cake. But none of us complained. Meloy then made his soup, and what can I say about Meloy’s soup? A work of genius. Later that evening (no, we weren’t full yet), Lockley made jacket spuds, sausages and braised red cabbage. Sumptuous.

On Friday night we ‘tied one on’. Actually that phrase has always bothered me, and I’d like to state here and now that nothing was tied on that whole weekend. It just wasn’t like that. But we drank quite a bit … started on London Pride, a nice bottle of Merlot, then I helped Gary – as did everyone else – with his litre bottle of Jim Beam. By 3:30 saturday morning, said litre bottle was very similar to how it had been four hours earlier, except completely empty.

And would you believe it, we even did some writing. Everyone seemed pleased with their output over the weekend, and I wrote almost 18,000 words of the YA novel I’ve been working on, which is now finished in first draft. I also wrote a comic proposal, just to pass a few spare minutes.

So, a truly inspirational weekend, fresh sea air, and the pig monster just waited, and waited … maybe it’ll pounce next time.

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