DAY ONE SATURDAY 9TH AUGUST
The day did not begin well.
I’d recently started seeing a man and we’d had a bit of a wobble, so while I was packing the last of my bits and pieces, most of my head was somewhere else, wondering if I’d ever see him again. The good news is that we managed to sort things out, the bad news, of course, was that I was going away for a week and wouldn’t really know that we were OK until I got back home.
I need to make a point here. I am NOT going to be talking about my relationships in this blog. Firstly, it wouldn’t be fair on the people involved, and secondly, I want my love life to remain private. All I will say is this, getting involved with someone for the first time in YEARS has done wonders for my self-esteem and confidence and the fact that he is 21 years younger than me, six feet five, and the most gorgeous man on earth is a bonus. I’m not thinking about how long it might last. It’s working now and that’s all that matters.
Back to Swanwick.
I had arranged a lift with Marg, another member of Leeds Writers Circle. We set off at 2.30 p.m, arriving some time after 4. It was a hot drive with the remnants of the heat wave still lingering.
I was given my usual room, 17, in the Alan Booth Centre and after quickly unpacking, went in search of friends old and new until it was time for the Chairman’s Welcome in the Main Conference Hall. I have to say this was a bit dull as Diana had to cover the basics plus announce winners of various prizes which probably meant very little to new people but which needed to be covered. After that, the white badgers (a name given to first timers at Swanwick and signified by the wearing of – you guessed it – a WHITE badge as opposed to everyone else’s yellow one) were given a special reception to allow them to meet each other and share some wine.
Then it was the usual round of dinner followed by a speaker (Christopher Lee, the writer, not the actor), then a choice of other activities – what are you writing now? Where people talk briefly about what they’ve been up to Swanwick 2013, and an icebreaker session called Alternative Fairy Tales. I’d planned to try the Fairy Tales as it sounded intriguing. In the end, I didn’t go to anything. I spent time with friends instead. That’s one of the great things about Swanwick, you can join in or not. It’s entirely up to you.
I finally went to bed around midnight. The first day was over.