For the last week, I’ve been hanging about in Bath and Corsham for my second MA residential week. I have to say, it was bloody brilliant. We met some fascinating people – author Maggie Gee, travel writer Gail Simmons, radio producer Sarah Blunt, poet Terry Gifford – and had such a great time.
Corsham Court is a privately owned Estate in Wiltshire with oodles of land and more peacocks than you can shake a camera phone at. From the outside it’s stunning, but inside the halls are full of a bizarre mix of animal skulls and art. The grounds used to be the residence of the Bath Academy of Art and there are some pretty amusing stories of what it was like in the sixties – I can’t help but wonder how many times the world was put to rights there – but now it’s used for Bath Spa postgraduates.
Our week culminated in a ‘Cafe Ecologique,’ organised by our wonderful tutor Paul Evans, which was loosely part of the literature festival. I get really nervous so I had to get quite drunk, but I did manage to read a piece, even if it was a bit shakey and slightly slurred. I chose a really short bit of non-fiction about my relationship with my body as a part of nature, however I’m not sure it went down too well with some of the older men. I definitely noticed a few side steps afterwards, so I suppose we can count that as a huge success.
Our next residential is hopefully going to be in Melaka, Malaysia. Apparently there’s a really interesting clash of cultures there: British, Chinese, Indian. The first one was at Dale Fort in Wales.