At last we’re back in North Wales at the start of another Milford writers’ week. Along with so many other events Milford 2020 was cancelled, so we’re doubly pleased to be here. Our venue, Trigonos in the tiny village of Nantlle, just nine miles south of Caernarfon, has undergone a few changes during lockdown, but mostly things are the same. There are a couple of new comfy sofas in the library (yay!) but no cheese course at dinner (boo). They insist we wear masks in the public areas (sensible) but have a policy of not asking if staff have been vaccinated.
We have all been double-jabbed and we all did a lateral flow test before setting off from home, so we’ll be forming our own bubble of 15 writers for the week.
I’m in Room 8 once again. It’s the smallest room in the house, but it’s big enough, and it has a lovely big bathroom with a walk-in shower. It faces the front of the house, so it doesn’t have a view to the lake and the Nantlle Ridge beyond, but it looks out over the kitchen door and across the (secret) garden. This was the view at 7.45 this morning – a little overcast but dry.
I’m a night owl, so I don’t usually see two 7.45s in a day, but at Trigonos breakfast is 8.00 until 9.00 and it’s as much of a social thing as an eating thing, so my alarm was set for 7.30. Oh, joy!
We spent last night getting to know each other. Milford has a policy of reserving 5 of the 15 places for newcomers, so that we don’t form a clique and anyone gets a chance to come. (Though applicants must have sold at least one story to a recognised market.)
I’m Milford Secretary, so I do the organising, taking bookings, negotiating with Trigonos etc. Liz Williams is the Milford Chair, so she runs the critique sessions.
It’s Sunday morning. We have our first formal crit session this afternoon, starting with my piece. It’s always someone who has been before who is first up for critique. I’ve only brought one piece this year, the start of a new novel called (for now) The Long Long Time of Jornish Marum. I can’t tell you any more because if I did I’d have to shoot you. What I hope to get out of the critiques is whether the novel idea has legs. I’ve only written 7,500 words so far so I’ll decide whether to continue it in its present form – or not – after the assembled writers have kicked it around the field for a bit.
I’ll be posting (or getting other writers to post) something every day this week as a Live from Milford post. Please follow.