Earlier this year I decided that I needed a couple of days away just to concentrate on my novel. Usually when I go on writing holidays it’s because I want to write but also want to have other people to socialise with. I like the balance between being productive and being sociable that writers retreats usually give. However, on this occasion I booked with Annie knowing that it would be a solo experience. I was struggling with the plot for Deadly Dreams and needed to just get away and have space to think.
I took the train to Lydney and Annie met me there. For no extra charge, she drove me from and to the train station. Annie was really friendly and she made me feel so welcome. On the first evening I was invited to eat with Annie and her husband and they were delightful company. Every other meal after that was taken in my room. All of the food is vegetarian and I enjoyed every single meal that Annie made. There was always plenty of it and it was so healthy.
As the only guest at this retreat, you can choose what time you start your day. Annie would always ask me the night before what time I wanted breakfast and I was able to choose what I wanted to eat (for breakfast, other meals are set). Annie’s retreat is the perfect place to get away on your own. You get your own room with an ensuite shower room and balcony. It has it’s own entrance which I thought was great because it meant I could come and go as I pleased. The room is spacious and comfortable. It has a nice double bed, a desk, a wood burner, and a little library of books.
Unlike other retreats that I have been on, you literally just have your room, which suited my needs perfectly. I think I would probably struggle for longer periods because it really is a solitary experience (perfect for a couple of days, but even an introvert like me needs company after a while) and there is nowhere else in the house to go. There are, apparently, beautiful walks in the area but my fibromyalgia was flaring up pretty badly at the time so I didn’t make it far. There is also a pub close by if that is your thing. Annie was lovely enough to pick me up some things from the local shop so I had plenty of snacks, lovely meals three times a day, a beautiful view and wifi. For me this meant there was no need to go out! I had everything I needed and was very content to alternate between my room and the balcony.
My time at the retreat was very productive. There are no distractions except for the beautiful views. You don’t have to worry about food because it’s all provided. The room is comfortable. It’s peaceful. There’s a little fridge in the room to store cold drinks and tea and coffee is provided, along with fruit and cereal bars for snacking. It certainly gave me the time and space that I needed.
I would recommend this retreat to anyone who needs some time on their own, regardless of if you are a writer. Annie was lovely and a wonderful host. It was a beautiful place to visit and the views were inspiring. I think the photos speak for themselves!
Cost: £140 for two nights.