When Nicola Davies said that she had booked herself in to the Druidstone Hotel for a few days I couldn’t help but gatecrash her serenity. It wasn’t that Nic was indulging herself in a holiday. She’s had a long term injury which has given her pain for months, years, followed by a ‘simple operation’ that turned out to be anything but. So, a few days out, by the sea, thinking, writing, reading, playing with ideas.
I’m not sure what my excuse was, but in a way I feel that I am in recovery too, from years of working really hard, being on a treadmill of book after book, from which I have stepped sideways.
So, I said to Nic that I’d asked Mister Stenham to look after the cats and Bella, and was coming along too, and we could meet up for supper, or whatever. I had a book to write,(‘haven’t we all dear’) and two books to read, so would keep out of the way.
What followed was a small slice of heaven. Writing, thinking, playing with ideas, chasing unexpected stories with hope in heart as Ivy chased seagulls along the shore. And Nic read to me, told me stories, ideas, and sang with the sound of the waves as accompaniment.
Bear came too, loved the beach, and creatures.
Nic found anemones in shallow rock pools. Ivy was mostly good, ocasional Snarkhound, frequent crab hunter and chaser of birds.
The rocks were sculpted by stone, time and tide.
Below shows how determined Ivy was to uncover a crab. “She’s the kind of dog that, if we found a body in the woods, as dog walkers do, I would first find it because Ivy was eating their hand,” I said. Yes, she’s that kind of dog. Spider crab legs munched and crunched, she tidied the beach as much as she could.
Nic sat on golden rocks and sang to herself but I listened as I looked for bears in the caves.
Beautiful light, sea and space.
And we separated to work and below Nic sits, chasing wolverines while the tide comes in. and I read City of Dragons, chasing images for covers. ( Hard work, but someone has to sit in the sun and do it, so it might as well be me) And in my small house beside the sea I dream of an old friend and am shushed to sleep by the turn of the tide, and waking in the night smell the salt on the air and see the full moon over water.
So, did we achieve anything other than sandy toes and suntans?
Well, I had news of a new project of great secrecy and the news was good so I thought we might celebrate by buying Ivy a velvet coat and a crown.
And we celebrated with Dru Cru too.
I found the beginning of a new story.
We watched the sun set over my house, behind the hill I had climbed earlier in the week.
And the next day we celebrated a wonderful project that Nicola is working on with Graffeg.
And Ivy, who had raced the beach so hard chasing birds, at one time seeming to be flying a gull like a kite, grew wings because her hope to catch a bird had proven so fierce strong.
She loves her wings, and preens them daily.
I managed to order a cream tea the size of my head but was rescued by Eva, also seeking refuge.
Bear loved the beach, the rocks, the shells. He saw a starfish, a hermit carb, and was a little concerned by the monstrous footprint….
…what manner of beast could make a footprint so huge?
Ivy became the sandiest dog in the wide wonderful world.
Nic read more stories to me, turning the sea to women, seals to girls, children to creatures, hard hearts to learning.
All in all we found peace, words, images, friendship. And Mister Stenham joined us for supper. Which was wonderful.
Thanks all the staff at The Druidstone for looking after us with such care and kindness. You are the best.
Oh, and tell Seren and Osian to take care of those dragons.