The writing retreat with yoga at Ty Newydd last week was very productive. I drove through torrential rain to North Wales, but it cleared as soon as I arrived, and we had three gorgeous days – warm and sunny.
Ty Newydd, the National Writing Centre of Wales is a Grade II listed building. Part of it goes back to the 15th century. It was extended into a more upmarket three-storey Georgian residence in the mid-1700’s. A full renovation with new additions (such as that curved library window) was undertaken in the early 1940’s. The client was David Lloyd George, the politician and PM, who died in the house only a few years after moving in.
I didn’t know this, but the architect was Clough William-Ellis, better known as the creator of the nearby Italianate fantasy village Portmeirion. His motto was Cherish the past, adorn the present, construct for the future.
I had been apprehensive about the yoga, but Laura Karadog, our tutor, was reassuring. I managed three of the four morning sessions, 7am start, lasting for a full 75 minutes: grounding/breathing book-ending an active sequence of movement. Laura was excellent and very generous with her time, offering an afternoon and evening close-down, and individual slots. After the sessions I was grounded, focused and hungry!
My goal for the retreat was to go through all my poems and select enough to form the basis of a submission. After yoga I parked myself on that blue settee and spread my white papers around, then read or relaxed in the garden in the afternoon. Meal times were an opportunity to chat with the others. A nice and interesting group, writing diverse material: short stories, flash fiction, performance poetry, non-fiction, plays. And then there was the young woman composer from Colorado, US who had come to work on the libretto for an opera!