Sigh. The retreat is over as Nicole says. It was an excellent way to unwind after running Conflux 9. It may seem like a weekend for the attendees but it was nearly two years in the making and a lot of planning. I’d been in the Conflux zone for a couple of week leading up to the con.
I didn’t think I’d get much done during a week long retreat. We normally have two weeks and before Conflux began my RSI had kicked in. So I wound back my expectations a lot. Also, I had two weeks in which to prepare my final assignments for the Masters in Creative Writing.
So I revised 10,000 words and I think I aced it. I’ll know when the grades are done, but I think I’ll know more if if sells. I think it’s an exciting YA/steampunk piece. The other chore was writing up my research report on whether being published by a digital first/digital only imprint changes reading preferences. I had already sent out my questionnaire, it was a matter of analysing and pulling all the bits together and doing some reading. I made a pretty good start on it at the retreat.
I also revised a couple of short stories and wrote a new ending to another one. I was planning on writing a new steampunk romance short story for an upcoming anthology but all of a sudden I started continuing on with my uni novel. I wrote 15,000 more words and scoped out the rest of the plot. Now I have something to put in the synopsis I also have to submit. I had to stop myself writing because of the RSI. I really can’t afford to have a full blown RSI episode. I have a report to write for the next few months and I go back to work tomorrow.
The house we used for the retreat was nice and interesting. It was a rambling thing with rooms off rooms. For example, we snaffled the end bedroom, mostly because Matt sleeps late and we didn’t want people feeling bothered by walking through. To get to our room we had to pass through Cat’s. The girls (Kim and Shauna) shared adjoining rooms, but to access their bathroom, Shauna had to enter Kim’s room. Nicole snaffled the loft bedroom but had to share a bathroom with the boys. The boys’ room was in a room that connected to the girls.
All passed of well. As usual food, but nearly as much as normal. There was more bitching than usually, lots of writerly talk and heaps of silly talk. Chatham House rules and all that.
Rob Porteous cooked (as Nicole said) an amazing chicken cacciatore, which we devoured in one go. Ian cooked us vegetarian pasta and a salad and left overs. I made two lots of crumble. One apricot and one apple and berry with both gluten and gluten free versions. I have no idea why I put on weight. It must have been the chips, chocolate, biscuits, nuts etc. We did get the munchies a number of times a day.
As there was no internet inside the house (or mobile coverage) we did take a few trips into town as well as out into the paddock. A power outage for over three hours on the Thursday was a bit hard to take, particularly after we went into Boorowa and our fav cafe didn’t let us plug in to charge phones and ipads. Matt managed to get my phone charge before they unplugged him. Curiously, Matt was also productive. I’m not sure if that was because I didn’t nag him. He was very good to me (besides shooting me with a nerf gun) and massaged my very sore feet every day.
I caught one walk with Nicole and Cat and we went for a group walk one evening around Rye Park.
Now to share with you the obligatory photos. The house, showing the loft area.
A more framed shot of the house.
The first thing I did was… you guessed it. Pose on the chaise lounge.
The Telstra exchange that provided no mobile or internet coverage, even if you stood outside it.I guess it’s just for normal phone lines.
We were going to post in front of it with our phones in various postures of seeking the bars of access. We left too quickly.
We talked alot. These are shots of the girls who were talking. No men in the room at the time.
Shauna (looking very thoughtful. I think she may have had an idea).
Cat looking like she was going to pounce on me for taking a shot. We’re all in daggy trackie dacks.
Okay. She was talking and not taking notice of me sneaking photos. I can feel the smack on my bottom already.
Then there’s me. A selfie.
(Gawd. I’m such a poser! but I was trying to capture the leisurely moment as we chatted about important things…just can’t remember what they were.
On our walk, we took some photos. First a church that someone had converted to a house. Cat said the town would be a great setting for a post-apocalyptic movie. Except for this house, I think.
Another shot of the church, being all inspiration like.
Further down the road was an old butcher, called Palmer’s butcher. I had family of that name here in the 1800′s.
Further on is an example of why this is a sad place.
A collapsing water tank and many dilapidated houses. The land lady said that Sydney people are buying into the area and that the town is reviving. You have to drive 30 kms to get a pint of milk as there is no shop any more. Why it’s the place the Internet forgot! (Actually teasing aside it was a lovely shallow valley).
Here is a shot of sunrise. Don’t get too excited because the hills delayed the sunrise so it was like 6.30am or something when I took the shot. I was waiting for Cat and Nicole to go for a walk and they went without me. I saw them down the road and ran (I said ran) to catch them. Knackered me for the next two days. I haven’t run for nearly 5 years due to knee surgery.
As I said we had no internet, so we had to go outside. After a while we put out chairs. This is the famous internet chair.
One evening we went for a walk. The light was fantastic, all golden. Here is a tree shot.
This might be Nicole’s tree and her shot is better. Same walk.
Next to our house on the way back, we realised we had a cemetery next door. Colonial or pioneer graves. Not easy to read the inscription.
And today Nicole and I walked around the lake. As much as we loved the retreat and the surrounds at Rye Park, we love being home.
And I want to say how much we missed Russell Kirkpatrick and Kylie Seluka and how much we enjoyed having Kimberley Gaal, Shauna O’Meara and Rob Porteous join us on this retreat.