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Arvon calling (Writers week 20)


Everyone arrived last night and off we went to the local pub in Sheep Wash, a sleepy village with a lovely sleepy pub. Easter Sunday. The first night is always interesting as people get to know one another, and some of the old hands on deck helped oil the wheels of friendship. Haroula had flown in from America as had Damien, they were tired, Geoff drove from Glasgow everyone came from all over the place. Arvon is a 800 year old thatched cottage resting in a green valley, no phone signal, slow internet. 20 years of songwriting workshops and im back in Devon where it all began at Huntsham Court which is not too far away. My room has a slendid view across open fields and the house is embrassed by neat and loving gardens. Its heaven. The first day begins with me grouping people together and after breakfast they start the process of putting together a song, the house is alive with music, chords being strummed, voices, laughter, pianos being played and happiness. Its wonderful for me to sit in the garden and soak it all up. I spend the day working on new words for Squeeze and prodding around the house for inspiration. Way too much food, way too much coffee. Lunch was simple and diner was staggeringly good from local chef Chris who is a magician in the kitchen. As are Ollie and Claire who look after the Arvon centre. After diner we all drift back into groups and complete our songs and then in the barn we take turns performing our days catch. Beer and wine begins to flow, more laughter and more hope and happiness. I forgot how much i love being ivolved in this although its my baby as it were it seems to just run itself, my role is to look on and absorb the coming together. Ego’s are left at the cattle grid up the hill, this is a place of celebration harmony and the odd chorus or two. The world outside constantly wrestles for my attention but my head and my heart, for once, are in the right place. The songs are born, they are complete like the day. Blue sky, freshly mown grass, cows and a gentle breeze. Geoff Martyn and Haroula Rose amazing, Alister Kate and Jessica sublime, Chris Sheehan and co wonderful, all of the songs tonight are of a very high standard for a first night. Cheese decaf and some i chat for me. Lots to tell you but all in good time. Back in my room and the heater is on, it clicks into life and its electric waves rise and fall across the room. Outside the voices of people chatting in the garden. My chins hit the pillow and its lights out.