the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

National Trust: Lacock Abbey

David has held life membership of the National Trust since a maiden aunt left him £100 when he was eleven. Here is his membership card complete with boyhood signature.


The membership allows an accompanying guest to enter free of charge, so we tend to gravitate towards National Trust properties when out and about. Recently we visited Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. Both the Abbey and properties in the town are administered by the National Trust and this makes for an interesting visit. The Abbey is situated within extensive grounds where you can see the approach of spring.


The building benefits from a variety of architectural styles owing to its history. First as an Augustinian abbey, then the home to a Tudor rogue, and finally as a family home and the birthplace of photography. In more recent times it has acted as a film location to a variety of productions including Harry Potter.


Cloister that appears in Harry Potter

I usually come away from these visit with ideas for creative writing. Word prompts include stone feathers and stone blindfolds. Watch this space for creative outputs!


Flash fiction competition to celebrate 100 years of Thomas Hardy

The Dorset Writers’ Network is celebrating the 100th year of Thomas Hardy by offering a competition. Please submit a piece of flash fiction, up to 300 words, based upon The Ghosts of Max Gate.

File:Max Gate Dorchester.jpg

Thomas Hardy designed and lived in Max Gate, situated on the outskirts of Dorchester, from 1885 until his death in 1928. At the time of construction, Hardy was unaware that Max Gate was situated in the middle of a neolithic stone circle and a Romano-British cemetery.

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. During the latter years of his marriage to Emma Gifford, when she became uncomfortable with the irreligious nature of his work, Hardy arranged for the attic rooms to be extended. This provided a refuge for Emma who became more and more reclusive.

Max Gate is part of the National Trust and open to the public. Please click here for further information.

With the setting of the house in mind, please complete your story about the Ghosts of Max Gate,  and send your entry to:

DWN, Corner Cottage, Bridge Street, Bourton, Dorset SP8 5BA

All entries must be received by 31 October 2013

Entry fees are: £4 for one story, £7 for two stories, £10 for three stories. Please make cheques payable to Dorset Writers’ Network.

Shortlisted writers are invited to read their work at the centenary event Celebrating Hardy’s Dorset, Thursday 14 November, 4:30-700, at Max Gate.

The competition will be judged by Peter Cooper and Alistair Chisholm

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