13th July 2012

A Tweet-up in Winchester

This blog very nearly didn’t happen. I’ve only missed one since I started writing it just under a year ago.  This week was nearly the second.  It is late Thursday eve. I edited this morning, did a workshop this afternoon, have walked the hound (and our ‘on loan’ hound) have cleaned the cooker, swept the floors, ironed, cleaned my son’s post-camp-caked-in-mud boots, tidied the garden, cleaned the bird bath, cleaned the unused-for-weeks sun lounger, not to mention fed everyone, including moi!  Now breathe…

Last Friday, I wended my way to Winchester to visit the lovely Jane Howard (@JaneHoward on twitter)  Now, normally, when I do one of these tweet-up kind of things, we DO something… write or sketch usually.  Well, ever so sorry to disappoint, but we didn’t!  We were far too busy jabbering, eating, and making merry in the local public hostelries.  We kind of forgot!  However, we did watch some synchronised shopping trolley dancing in the rain by some youthful and rather well-proportioned men, the purpose of this being that last weekend was the Hat Festival, held in Winchester every year, where street performers deck the streets of The Winch to do stuff.  Well, not this time… because there was The Rain!  However, some folk, like the synchronised shopping trolley feast for the eyes dancers, bravely turned out despite the weather, as did a very nice silver man who bore a striking resemblance to Norman Wisdom… well, in my rain drizzled eyes he did anyway.

We also had a couple of lovely walks with Archie (the border terrorist – if you haven’t seen Jane’s blog post about him you really should) including a visit to the Hospital of St Cross, which was rather beautiful.  Archie behaved remarkably well for a border terrorist, bar a minor moment of madness and hatred directed towards a boy with a MOBILE PHONE – how very dare he! And there was the hoo-har with the man with THE WELLIES – (gasp!)  But apart from that, he was a complete darrrrrrhhhhhling.

There were some lovely moments… the whole three days were fab actually, including my train journeys where I met some wonderful folk and got a quite bit of writing done.  Trains and platforms are my fave places to write.  But I think the highlight has to be The Black Boy pub, which was so bizarre and so completely inspiring, that when Jane popped to the loo I got out my notepad and wrote a page or too.  I think the pics, though, probably say more than words ever can.  So here are a few to give you a taste of the place.

Baboon, donkey and fire buckets… told you it was bizarre!

One of many interesting signs!

Yes, I drank whisky while gazing into the eyes of a stuffed giraffe – never thought I’d have cause to say those words all together in one sentence!

Above the loo… Mwahahahaha!

Ever had that feeling you’re being watched? On the ceiling of the loos!

There will, I’m sure, be a scene set here… not in the toilets, you understand… in my current novel.  The scribblings I did whilst there are written in the main protagonist’s voice – something I have got quite used to doing while out and about.  The Black Boy is up there with some of the other bizarre settings and places I’ve visited over the last few months or so and which have woven their way into the novel.  Some ideas just can’t be found at home!

Thanks, Jane, for a fab weekend 😉

What bizarre places have inspired your writing?

About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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16 Responses to 13th July 2012

  1. Jo Carroll says:

    Glad you had such a fab time in Winchester – it’s a great town.

    As for bizarre places that inspired writing – where do I start? And bizarre people … I’d have to begin with the landlord of a B & B in Rotorua who had a collage of a beach scene in Scotland made from women’s underwear (he was particularly proud of the sea, made from petticoat!). The note in my diary read: I’ve been away from home for a month, and am staying with a man who delights in pictures made from women’s knickers!

  2. Ha ha ha! Love it, Jo! Where would we be without people like this. Wonderful story, thank you 😉

  3. Martin Day says:

    Thanks for the postcard, Abi. ;o)
    Coming more from the song-writing end of things I haven’t really needed interesting places as locations, and the short stories I have written are mostly set in the typical environment of the animal featured. I guess the closest I’ve come to a strange setting was in one of my very early lyrics, designed to be a tongue-in-cheek clichéd blues song called The Igneous Rock. I was taken with the true story of the Mt. Pelee volcano eruption of 1902 which covered the town of St. Pierre in Martinique. The only survivor of the catastrophe was a man locked in the bottom of the town jail. Now that would have been quite a scene.
    Here’s the song … http://www.shallowdeep.com/song_the_igneous_rock.htm

    • That’s great Martin. I think people and places inspire us in different ways creatively don’t they? Lovely to use these ideas in your songwriting. Thanks Martin 🙂

  4. Jenny Alexander says:

    I love these tweet-up tales! Thank you for another weird and wonderful glimpse of somewhere new with someone lovely 🙂

  5. Jane Howard says:

    You are welcome. You’re a great house guest…you eat anything….even hairy tomatoes 🙂 Drink anything (LOL) and made your own tea. You can come again :-)) We did sort of do some writing. You read and critiqued my work and I read your wonderful book (After you left) and will review it next week. :-)) xx

  6. Emma Pass says:

    What, no sketching? Tsk. Anyone would think you were RELAXING or something. 😉 Sounds like you had a great weekend – that pub sounds ace!

    As for places inspiring my writing… well, as you know, I’m obsessed with abandoned/derelict buildings at the moment, so anywhere like that. And Meadowhall shopping centre – that’s pretty bizarre, right?! 😀

  7. Ha ha! Which is precisely why we call it Meadow Hell! Yes, I know, what slackers we are eh? The pub was brill – you’d have loved it! 🙂

  8. Is that a false leg propped up behind the giraffe? Wow, that does look like an interesting pub. Bet it’s a nightmare to dust, though!

  9. Ha ha! We were wondering what it was. We… err… had another theory *coughs* 😉 What a very domesticated thought to have Mr Dan! Feather duster?

  10. Nadine says:

    Oh, I love the other pics, especially the Chamber of Secrets sign. I’m a Rowling fan, see. 😀 Don’t know about all those eyes, though. :-/ That would’ve creeped me out! My absolute fave is the one with all those fine men. Yummy! 😉 I love whenever you have a tweet-up. 🙂

    Border terrorist? LOLOLOLOLOLOL! He sounds like he needs to be in a novel.

  11. Hee hee! Those fine men were very fine indeed, Nadine 😀 Yes, I loved the sign above the loo too – not often you find yourself giggling in a pub loo 😀 Yes, Jane refers to Archie as the Border Terrorist – it does, somehow, fit! Glad you liked it – I love my tweet-ups too. Maybe we will have one one day!

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