Nightswimming, Daljit, Pascale and the stars

Photo by Phoebe Davenport

I’ve been on my first residential course at the Welsh writing center, Ty Newydd
for which I was fortunate to receive a grant.Here are the highlights. Deep breath…

Driving to Wales, stopping at Oswestry to look for traces of Wilfred Owen who was born there in 1893. Finding a Wetherspoons pub named after him and proceeding to Greggs to obtain lunch. Sitting on a bench to eat it while listening to two teenage girls busking Jessie J. song.  Proceeding to the War memorial. Plenty of Owen’s but no William Salter Owen. On to tourist info where kind lady told me the family had moved to Shrewsbury when Wilfred was three and that his old house was now surrounded by a high hedge to prevent the current occupants being disturbed . As she told me this I remembered reading of the move in Dominic Hibberd’s biography.  There is a beautiful plaque near the church.  I’d forgotten my camera but you came see a picture on the W.O website if you click here    .

Then it was a drive through Snowdonia to Gwynedd on a road I’d not been on before. I saw virtually no humans until Cricceth, then up a single track to the house.

I was convinced to go swimming in the sea by force of nature Joan Hewitt, and was convinced two nights later to go again, under the moon, this time  accompanied by the talented and funny Phoebe and Samantha.

Working with the amazing Daljit Nagra and Pascale Petit.
Getting dinner on the table on time and washing up for 17 people.
Walking to the pub in the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.
Chatting with friendly locals over a pint of gorgeous local beer.
Walking to the river and past the Lloyd George memorial in the woods.
Walking along the Heron’d shore by the glittering sea.
My back on cobbles under the bridge, listening to the river in the darkness.
Walking up the road in the dark silence, night sky full of stars.
Co-editing the anthology with Phoebe and Sam and beating the deadline (no-typos!) thanks to Marion Reilly, IT expert.
Laughing till I cried at Andrew Bell’s Yorkshire Hamlet.
Hanging out with Paul, Sasha and Stevie.
WB Yeats.
Cooking to The Zombies.
Listening to everyone’s poems.



  1. Sounds an utterly wonderful experience. How envious am I! Would love to hear more about your experience of working with Daljit and Pascal sometime if you’d care to share that in a post. You’ve got enough material here for quite a few posts though.


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