Friday, 25 November 2016

Folly Farm Eve by Tamsyn Murray

For the past few years, I've had the last weekend in November highlighted in my calendar with the words 'Folly Farm'.

Three days on the cusp of winter when I've crept away to a gorgeous retreat in rolling, often mist-covered countryside, with my laptop and a lovely group of children's writers for company. It's an escape unlike any other: a magical, nourishing time that I look forward to all year long. Lots of inspiration, laughter and good food among kindred spirits, with plenty of time alone to gather my thoughts and write. Is it any wonder I'm first in the queue to book a place?

This time last year, I was struggling with an edit of Instructions for a Second-hand Heart and spent most of the weekend locked away in my room, working. So this November, I was determined not to have as much to do; one of the best things about Folly Farm is the company and I wanted to enjoy as much of that as I could. But anyone who knows me well won't be surprised to hear that I have failed to escape my deadlines, so I'll be doing my usual trick of arriving late and trying to balance being sociable with getting as much work done as possible. I need to write the best part of 25,000 words this weekend and I really cannot fail.

In spite of this, I know I'll get a lot more than just words on the page out of Folly Farm. For me, it's an oasis; the chance to step outside the demands of my every day life and enjoy the tranquility of the beautiful setting. I'm looking forward to seeing my favourite tree - I am determined to write about that tree one day - and watching the robin flit across the stable-yard. One year, I found him in my bathroom and had to lay a trail of bacon to encourage him to leave. I'm even looking forward to walking through the archway between the farmhouse and the rooms late at night in the dark, being scared by the barn door that rattles furiously in the wind. Maybe it's not the wind, I'll think with a nervous glance into the blackness. Maybe there's something there...

My favourite tree
Apart from the thought of spending three days with fabulous friends, I think it's the oasis that draws me back to Folly Farm every year; the reminder that it's worth spending time refreshing your batteries and refilling the well. Writing isn't all about the words we write, after all. It's about the memories we make so that we can plunder them at a later date. I'm planning to make some great memories this weekend.


Penny Dolan said...

All good wishes to you, Tamsyn - and to everyone there - and may the magic work again. Folly Farm sounds a wonderful place to be right now.

Anne Booth said...

I really want to go next time! Hope it was really productive for everyone.