17.11.08

Totleigh Barton - where writers are valuable livestock
                                                                            
Things I enjoyed in the past week:

Travelling Ryanair. People love to bash the low-cost airline but I couldn’t fault its Eastern European staff for their enthusiasm and courtesy. And the planes were new with very clean toilets. So there.

Travelling on the London Tube. Despite a reputation for being rude, Londoners are no less pleasant than Norwegians travelling on public transport and they dress much better. Did have to wonder how people with pushchairs manage though as there are plenty of steps and no obvious lifts. I suppose Norwegians DO care more about young parents.

Sitting for three hours on a train. Oh the eavesdropping! The politeness! The offers to help with my luggage! It was nice to feel part of the human race again (and understand everything most people were saying).

A week at an Arvon course filled with fabulous people – mostly under-30. It is amazing that 16 strangers can gel into such a cohesive, humourous supportive group purely through the love of writing. In the past week, no exaggeration, despite feeling old, I experienced the best of humanity.

Singing 'Mellow Yellow' and 'Universal Soldier' with music legend Donovan Leitch who was chaperoning his teenage grandson on the Arvon course. I mean seriously. Sharing a meal every night with a contemporary of the Beatles, the Stones and Dylan, who is charming, witty and stlll clearly amazingly talented is just a tad more than I expected of the week.

Having a Frappucino – twice! Ooh, the excitement.

Stepping out of the shower every morning to wrap a towel warmed on a radiator around me. Sometimes, it really is the simple pleasures that count. This floor-heating lark in Norway certainly does have its drawbacks.

WHSmith, and Marks & Spencers’ sandwiches.

Writing (of course).

Coming home to find the snow gone, everyone intact and happy, and the house tidier than I left it. Shame it's now -2 but at least the ground is clear.


6 comments:

Caroline said...

Good to hear that you had such a good time. The towel rack thing...maybe it's the Norwegian part in me but I keep burning my butt on the bloody thing! Getting phobic about turning my back on it - it always finds a way to bite me.....

JEDA said...

Ever since I read your last post about your writing workshop you've had me thinking.

Leave your family to its own devices for a week to pursue your personal passion.....

Huh.

It honestly never occurred to me. Could I too do such a thing?

I'm glad you had a good time. I'm jealous of the frappachinos. The experience of a writer's workshop as a whole is almost more than I dare dream about.

Victoria said...

Sounds like a really lovely time! :-)

I thought of another positive about Stavanger - I don't think it gets nearly as cold as Oslo. Today it is 6 C and it doesn't snow very often.

Simply-Mel said...

Hell Jo - that sounds utterly heavenly. One thing about being a SAHM is that you TRULY begin to appreciate the VERY SIMPLE things in life like:

hot coffee
hot towels
sandwiches (cos you didnt have to make em)
grown-ups
3 hours on a train without having to think of anyone but yourself.

BLISS.

Glad you back!

Women Rule Writer said...

Sounds great. I've never been on an Arvon course. Were you doing long fic? Short fic? Something else?

OSLO said...

Caroline, a towel rack sounds lovely (but clearly dangerous).
JEDA - I was terrified the first time, despite the detailed instructions and arrangements I had left in my absence. Second time was easier. In fact I'm leaving them again in a week's time which makes it sound like it has become a habit.
Victoria - if I had to do Stavanger weather, I'd prefer do it in Aberdeen where I could at least drive to interesting places like Edinburgh and Glasgow for the day, and I speak the language.My brother-in-law seems very happy there though
Mel - it was heaven
WRW - I was going novel-writing. Am one third through and needed to check I wasn't completely delusional in my efforts. Fabulous to spend time with so many writers. Highly recommended if you get a chance.