Writing away from Home

“There is no better air than here for work” John Maynard Keynes

I’ve managed to line myself up two writing courses for this autumn. Last weekend was the Tilton House retreat led by Vanessa Gebbie.

At the end of October I’m off to North Wales (again) for a whole week of writing with Cinnamon Press and Jan Fortune and Pete Marshall. I wrote so much in the spring during the last course and these were the poems that earned me a distinction from the OU.

The Tilton House retreat – former home of Maynard Keynes and Lydia Lopokova – was splendid.


It is a delightful house with lots of nooks and crannies, log fires and wholesome vegan cooking. It would have been possible just to spend the weekend reading and relaxing but I was there to work. The whole point of spending money on going away from home is for the space to think and write. I’d been looking at one of the 1941 convoys focussing in particular on the Sydney Star and her captain Thomas Sydney Horn, OBE. Being at Tilton gave him the chance to step out of the shadows to tell the story of what happened during Operation Substance – so by the end of the weekend I had a first draft of a long poem written.

2 Replies on “Writing away from Home

  1. The poem about the Sydney Star and Thomas Horn is in my book Convoy which will be published by Cinnamon Press at the beginning of May. How lovely that you're got in touch as I only know about him in relation to the Malta convoys.

    Please do email me on caroline d 12 at gmail dot com.

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