A gourmet retreat

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This is a gourmet retreat, no doubt about it. Today's food: porridge with cream, fruit and nuts soaked in whiskey (thank you Emily!); parsnip and apple soup with red cabbage & noodle slaw followed by lime and ginger cake with frosting (thank you Maria); vegetable curry (thank you Emily) and apple crumble (thank you Mum) with custard (thank you Catharine).

In a reading sense it's gourmet too. All six of the Costa short-listed stories, one a day, slowly - with coffee, round the table. To be discussed after supper. Except for today, because Rosa and Thirkell got us so curiously conflicted we had to consult the author (thank you Mark Newman for your warm, generous and funny response to our email!).

And this afternoon an amazing workshop and reading from the gorgeous and talented Em Strang. We read, we listened, we chanted, we wrote - we were moved, challenged, nurtured and inspired (thank you Em.)

Next year's plans are coming along very nicely. NB Emily is deeply offended by cupcakes and all things saccharine and pastel pink. But is intrigued by Indian Head Massage. This bodes enormously well!

Anna x