the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

A cultural couple of days

on May 15, 2012

I spent a couple of days in Surrey last week with Sue, a friend I met at an Arvon course in 2010 and she introduced me to Carol last year, when we were together for a weekend in Cornwall.  Sue is a fantastic host, cooking delicious meals and making us feel very welcome.  You can find out more about Carol by visiting her blog Scribbling in the Margins.

In spite of the wet weather, we spent the whole of one day at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. Here buildings of historical merit have been relocated to form a fascinating ‘village’ that includes a medieval hall-house, a tudor kitchen, a toll house, and a working watermill.  For those who are interested in historical writing, the musuem is holding an event in August titled Historical Fiction Day where Emma Darwin, Maria McCann and Alison Weir are offering input.  There’s also a short story competition that you can enter.

And if that competition doesn’t interest you, why not think about entering the Historical Novel Society short story competition?

The next day, we visited the home of Jane Austen at Chawton.  Here is a photo of the little table set by the window in the dining parlour where Jane worked at her novels. It was here that she revised Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Other novels followed, including the publication of Mansfield Park in 1814 and Emma in 1816. The house is set very close to the road, and it’s easy to imagine the comings and goings that might have fired Jane’s creativity. Here you can see Sue and Carol outside the house.

It was a splendid writerly retreat, just what I needed before the raft of activities connected with National Flash Fiction Day tomorrow.

11 responses to “A cultural couple of days

  1. What a lovely post, Gail and it is great to have those links. Lovely photos too. However, sadly my web site needs this or it goes somewhere else. It is the hyphen that makes the difference. If I may take the liberty:

  2. Penny Dale says:

    I love the Weald and Downland Museum. It is an inspirational place – I remember going round the buildings on a frosty day just before Chrustmas a few years ago. It made me see with a fresh eye how hard life was, and of course still is for many people, living in basic buildings. It was cold of course, but what struck me most was the choking smoke from an open fire.
    Thanks Gail for reminding me.

  3. I, too, have visited the Weald and Downland Museum and loved it. What a treat to see it again in your blog post.

  4. Wow, what a lovely couple of days you’ve had 🙂

    Inspiring I hope?


  5. Sue Stephenson says:

    I’ve been raving about the Tudor Kitchen ever since! Loved the photos.

  6. John Wiswell says:

    It certainly sounds like you had a fun time!

    • gailaldwin says:

      Spent the whole day there in spite of the rain. Made me realise that saying is true – there’s no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing – the raincoat and wellies did a great job!

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