the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other Dorset writers

Heads up: new publication

I am delighted to share the news that my debut poetry pamphlet will be published in March 2019. Last summer I entered a competition inviting submissions of poetry on the theme of siblings and I was thrilled to be judged joint winner with Rachel Lewis. My pamphlet is titled adversaries/comrades and includes a range of forms from prose poetry to pattern poetry all based on the relationships between siblings.

Wordsmith_HQ have done a wonderful job in creating the pamphlet and designing the cover.

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The cover image is taken from a photo of children playing in Maumbury Rings, the Neolithic henge situated to the south of Dorchester. Every August bank holiday there is a wonderful day of music held at Maumbury Rings where picnickers enjoy a range of bands. This has become my favourite day of the year in the county town, so I am very pleased with the cover design.

Rachel’s poetry pamphlet is titled Three Degrees of Separation and explores issues about love, family, and survival in the face of mental ill-health. You can read more about the pamphlet and details of the pamphlet launch here

The launch of my poetry pamphlet will take place on Wednesday 27 March 2019, 7–9pm at Books Beyond Words in Dorchester. Please register your interested in attending here. I’m very pleased Magdalena Atkinson will be offering musical accompaniment at the event. It should be a lovely evening…do come along.

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Good news: it’s all happening at the minute

Firstly, my interview ‘a conversation…’ is on the Greenacre Writers’ site now. Why not pop over and have a read?

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Secondly, I have a poem in the fabulous print publication Words for the Wild. You can read more about the project here.

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And lastly, I’m off to the Thomas Hardy Society‘s fiftieth conference this evening to hear Paul Henry read from his acclaimed poetry collections The Brittle Sea and Boy Running. It will be good to touch base with Paul again (we were both lecturers at the University in South Wales in 2015).

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2018, Dorchester

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artefacts on display

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books on display

There was a very successful Holocaust Memorial Day event on Friday 26 January 2018 at the Corn Exchange hosted by the South West Dorset Multicultural Network. The event was supported by schools and community members on the theme of The Power of Words. Other opportunities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day  in Dorchester include a poetry workshop on Wednesday 31 January 2018 at Dorchester Library. You are invited by library staff to read, write and share poetry from 10:30 to noon. You can also see artefacts in a special display at Dorset County Museum which record events from the life of Harry Grenville who joined Kinderstransport to find refuge in the West Country. Read more about Harry here, in an interview I conducted for this blog.

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Fine dining in Dorchester at Sienna

When our daughter returned home from university, she worked as restaurant manager at Sienna. Although she is now employed elsewhere, we continue to treat ourselves to a meal there on special occasions. However, with the new choice of reasonably priced tasting menus we may very well go more often. The restaurant has been spruced up with new, modern decor and Chef Marcus Wilcox creates wonderfully diverse dishes which use West Country produce.

Click on the photo to find out what we ate last night!

Sienna is well worth visiting. Tasting menus are available evenings, Tuesday to Saturday and lunchtimes, Wednesday to Saturday.

 

 

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Max Gate, Thomas Hardy’s home

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Thomas Hardy designed and lived in Max Gate, situated on the outskirts of Dorchester, from 1885 until his death in 1928. When we first moved to the county town, the house was occupied by tenants and you could only access two of the ground floor rooms. Over time, the National Trust have opened more of the rooms including the attic rooms where Emma, Hardy’s first wife withdrew to.

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Emma’s boudoir in the attic at Max Gate

Emma started to use the rooms as a daytime retreat, but by 1899 she decided to move her bedroom up there, too. She described her space as a ‘sweet refuge and solace’. It’s strange to think of Hardy working at this desk directly beneath Emma’s rooms.

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Thomas Hardy’s first floor study

In his study at the house, Hardy wrote Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge and much of his poetry.

Very little of the furniture in the house belonged to Hardy because his second wife, Florence, sold everything upon his death. Therefore, the contents of each room is there to recreate the atmosphere that might have existed. As such, this is one of the few National Trust properties I’ve been to where visitors are encouraged to take a seat and enjoy the warmth of the fire in the lounge.

Use of the toilet, however, is not allowed (although there are loos for public use).

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Max Gate is well worth visiting for anyone staying in or passing through Dorchester.

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