What a great week – I kept thinking of the quote from She Stoops to Conquer, which I appeared in twenty years ago now (a college production, I hasten to add). – “I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.” So I love everything about a Tuscan writing week – new friends, simple, delicious food, free-flowing wine, great conversation, fabulous hosts, amazing venue and – time to write.
We sat underneath this bower of trumpet flowers each morning, staring up at clumps of ripening grapes, pen and paper at the ready for whatever exercise we were set, breaking for a lunch of fresh salads, different hams and sharp sheep cheese with vino of course. Then came time for our own writing or contemplation. I loved listening to the thin stream of water gurgling over the mountain strewn parchment of stones. One morning after a blistering walk through beech woods from Badia down to Il Mulino, I dangled my feet in cool water as tiny fish discovered my bare feet. I’m not sure they nibbled, and were too tiny to tickle, while water boatmen skimmed the surface like miniature gondoliers.
In the late afternoons, I wrote badly, but words were added to my latest WIP as jays screeched on the wooded hillside beyond, bees flitted amongst the flowers and the river lulled me into a sense of euphoria.
I loved meeting author, Audrey Davis and writer, Sue Sturton, both larger than life, filling our days and evenings with laughter. I made them laugh once with the final piece I wrote, a great achievement.
We ambled through Sansepolcro and Anghiari looking for characters and found two weddings, a great little restaurant and an artist, Joy Stafford, from my home town of Grimsby. I lit a candle for June, my dear friend in Sansepolcro’s cathedral. Memories of her surrounded me all week as we had holidayed together for the last time at Il Mulino three years before. Her spirit hovered particularly at deserted Montebotellino and the walk along the track beside it.
Finally, we celebrated with pizza made in the brand new pizza oven, as we sat in the softening solar light. A magical week – one that I will treasure, hopefully learn from. I wonder if it will inspire me during the winter months ahead?