The Milford committee has kicked around the idea of a writers’ retreat before, but this year we finally got around to organising one when we received an email from Trigonos advertising their spare winter dates. There was an enticing six day period from Sunday 25th Feb to Saturday 3rd March, and we snapped it up.
Trigonos is pretty well perfect for a retreat. It’s not just the setting, which is gorgeous, but also the ambiance. Ensuite rooms with writing tables, a lovely library (with an open fire) for communal chat, excellent food, and a ‘we’re here to help, but we’ll leave you alone if that’s what you want’ kind of attitude. After the evening meal the staff all go home and we’re left to our own devices, so it’s very homely.
Breakfast at eight, coffee and biscuits at eleven, lunch at one (with delicious home made soup). Four p.m. is cake o’clock, and then dinner is at seven. They cater for individual diets if anyone has allergies or intolerances. The kitchen has a vegetarian ethos and they’ve gradually been developing this, but because we’ve been holding Milfords here for twelve or thirteen years and because most of us are not vegetarian, they’ve agreed to cook meat or fish for us at the evening meal.
It’s an ideal place to relax and let the words flow. We arrived in sunshine on Sunday but this morning, like the rest of the country, we were treated to snow, barely a couple of inches, but it made the view magical. Hopefully, by the time we leave next Saturday the roads will be passable.
So, who’s here? Me (obviously), David Allan, Heather Lindsley, Jackie Hatton and her husband Nick Fowler (both writing), and because we needed six to get the booking, Rory Newman, partner of Milford’s recently retired chair, Sue Thomason. Rory’s spending six days hill walking (or snow-walking today). We had hoped for more participants, but since this is a first attempt at running a retreat, we’re delighted to say that it’s working well for all of us.
The Milford Conference week normally runs with fifteen participants. I think that might be too many for a retreat. The ideal number is probably eight – which would fill the main house at Trigonos.
I’ve just delivered a novel (Rowankind) to my publisher (DAW) and I’m spending the week editing The Amber Crown to lick it into shape for submitting. It’s a fantasy set in an analogue of the Baltic States in 1650. I haven’t looked at it for about six months, so I’ve got more perspective now and I’m really enjoying reconnecting with my characters.
There will be a regular Milford (critiquing etc) in September. 2018 is fully booked, now, and we have a waiting list. September 2019 is booking already. Check out the Milford website for details: http://www.milfordSF.co.uk
Jacey Bedford maintains this blog (weekly) and occasionally writes for it. She’s the British author of six novels published by DAW in the USA, the sixth, Rowankind, due out in November 2018. She writes both science fiction and fantasy and has had thirty-something short stories published on both sides of the Atlantic in anthologies and magazines. She’s the hon sec of Milford Writers and hosts the quarterly Northwrite writers’ group. When she’s not writing she runs a folk music artists’ booking agency and does immigration paperwork for visiting musicians. You can catch up with Jacey via her webpage at http://www.jaceybedford.co.uk, or on facebook or twitter @jaceybedford.