This weekend I had the best holiday I’ve had in years. I wasn’t white water rafting, bathing on a beach or climbing Kilimanjaro (because really why would I do that?). I was however holed up in a little village in Devon called Sheepwash; enjoying a writers retreat that spawned my most creative episode yet.
As soon as you walk through the door, you’re welcomed by Deborah and her enthusiastic dog Rosie, given a cup of tea and a flapjack, and within minutes you feel like part of the family. But this isn’t just a nice house in the country with an amazing fireplace; it’s a home away from home for writers.
Ironically, I don’t feel that my words could do it justice, but that never stopped me from trying before. The quiet village, the constant access to tea, coffee and the amazing meals cooked by chef extraordinaire Deborah are the icing on top of an already beautiful, tasty cake. Add in good conversation with Deborah, her husband Bob and other writers enjoying a stay there, good wine and great laughs, and you’re getting closer to the magic of the place.
It’s the space that the retreat provided for my head, heart and creative process that really wowed me. I feared I would miss the constant noisy hum of the city that often spurred my pen on, but I didn’t. Sometimes as a city dweller, you can fear the silence, but in a cosy room in Devon I was lavishly immersed in it. It was just me, the words, and a peaceful atmosphere that discarded all the previous noise in my head, so all that was left were the soon to be tightened strings of a story.
It was so special that there is a part of me that worries I might have just been having one long extended dream, and the place doesn’t really exist. However, I have the physical evidence of a receipt to prove that it was real and worth every penny.
Maybe they put something in the water down there, or maybe it was exactly as it seemed; a lighthouse that beckoned writers towards it, to retreat, relax, and create.