After a few quiet days, our second workshop took place in what was a busy weekend, with the main emphasis on eating and talking. I'm nver averse to a bit of talking, but probably the dining out was more than I'm used to in one weekend.
First though, Goldenford presented its second successful Writers’ Workshop for the Guildford Book Festival – Sense and Sensitivity. Like the previous week, the three of us divided up the senses. Having had two slots last week, I dealt with only one, this week – taste. I chose this so that I could use a piece from Tainted Tree in which my heroine, Addie, faced with a box of letters which may reveal something of the past history of her unknown grandmother, remembers tasting an olive for the first time, as a child. She had anticipated that it would be something pleasant, and in fact she found it quite bitter. Was delving into her family history going to produce the same result? I wanted to show how describing taste does not have to be just description, but can be linked to emotions.
I had a plate of goodies (depending on how you look at them) to offer to the group to inspire their writing. I’d started off on an oranges and lemons theme – and produced segments of a clementine, lemon slices, small portions of lemon drizzle cake and a chocolate orange – then, to add a little more choice, I threw in some chewy mints and for obvious reasons, some olives. The group had to concentrate on taste, though the lemon had a nice smell, and although I hadn’t anticipated it, the items had a range of colours, the mints being an attractive eggshell blue. It seemed to work quite well, though I hadn’t anticipated the clementine being bitter instead of sweet, nor the chewy mints being a lot less minty than I’d imagined. Nor had I thought I would take home half the chocolate orange. (Dealt with that now.)
That same day (now nearly a fortnight ago) we had a really nice evening out with M’s cousins and followed it up the next day with lunch with friends. All too often, life is a feast or a famine.
We have been having some lovely mild weather, and I took a few shots of the beautiful autumn colours in the garden. I used only to be interested in showy plants with beautiful, dramatic flowers - which is why I planted a huge bed of rhododendrons. Now I realise there is a lot to be gained in having more modest plants which do different things at different times of the year. The cotoneaster, which I once thought uninspiring, is evergreen, produces flowers in early spring, attracts bees, and has now produced fabulous red berries in profusion which I don't remember seeing before. Similarly, the pieris, as mentioned before, I think, have flowers, berries and flame-coloured leaves at various times throughout the year. Also in this scene, are a couple of berberis, one scarlet
This is a tree which overshadowed our house, and which this week our neighbour arranged to be cut down. The tree featured in the second photo is also shown in the first photo, to give some idea of height.
I also tried to get some shots of this, while the lumberjack was perched on top.
I thought it would go down with a cry of ‘Timber,’ but actually he lopped off lengths and got it to half size, before the remainder – about twenty feet of it, finally came down – more of a whimper than a bang, really. Still, it’s good that it’s gone – it will allow more sunshine in the garden.