I am staying at the beautiful Norburton Hall in Burton Bradstock in a wonderful and incredibly comfy apartment called The Stables and located in the grounds (and facing the courtyard) of a beautiful manor house.
The first week of my writing residency has been plagued by technical issues. Yes, I am here to concentrate on my book The Right Place, set in the area, and most of the preparation work and plotting is done with pen and paper, but I still need to do some research, do some freelance work unfortunately scheduled for this month and communicate with loved ones.
The estate's internet router went mad on the second day of my stay, and my computer decided to have a massive loony on the third day; oh, and I need to either go to the beach or the top of a hill for my phone to get a signal (I'm learning about rural life with technology - I lived in Cornwall for a whole year back in the late 90s before I had a computer and a mobile phone, and it was much less stressful!).
But I really, really thought I was going to lose my laptop, which was not fun at all.
Thankfully, the tiny (and absolutely gorgeous) village of Burton Bradstock has a lovely community library (with two PCs!). They really saved my bacon on Thursday! I will probably go back there this month as they have a few local history books (and my computer might go weird again, who knows...)
Then yesterday, miracle! Everything started working again... the Wi-Fi was sorted out and my computer decided that it was not going to die on me in the end...
And... relax (for the time being).
To get me in the mood, I am reading Robert MacFarlane's The Old Ways and Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male.
Walking the coast path between Burton Bradstock and West Bay and back (in a storm!) two days ago was an interesting experience and made me feel like Robert MacFarlane on some of his walks. On your own in the landscape under the rain, battling against the wind and soaked to the core, you do feel slightly on edge and vulnerable.
I've also started to go for a run on the beach every other day. I am trying to record sensations and emotions for my novel, as one of my characters is a keen runner.
When you start walking and running on your own surrounded by nature and without the "pollution" generated by human activity, you start noticing very small things: the smells and the noises of the natural world; your eye is attracted by the various discarded things spat out by the sea. You feel more conscious of your own body and its workings, but also stronger and braver.
This afternoon, after five days and a half of brooding skies and rain, the sun made an appearance and I decided to get down to the beach. It was a real spectacle!
I leave you with a few pictures taken this afternoon.
Now I need to return to my book...
I think therefore I write.