You may have noticed that I didn't write a blog post last week (or maybe you didn't). Usually I try to blog once a week but I knew I was going to be away for a few days and decided to take the opportunity to go internet-free. This also meant I couldn't read or comment on other people's blogs - so I apologise for that.
Every year we save up our Tesco tokens and put them towards a holiday. In the past we've used them to pay for the bulk of canal boat holidays (which makes you wonder how much food we buy!) but now that the step-boy has grown up and does his own thing, we decided to go for something that didn't require the use of his muscle power (have you ever tried opening a stiff lock gate on your own?)
When we looked at our tokens, we realised that several of the ones we'd accumulated were about to expire. We needed to turn them into something nice or they'd be wasted. £30 worth of tokens bought us £100 worth of cottage vouchers - and what better than a mini-break in a beautiful Dorset village?
On the Monday we exchanged our tokens for holiday vouchers and on the following Friday we were driving through the iron gates of Cerne Abbey, in the village of Cerne Abbas, where we would be spending the next three nights.
The cottage we stayed in was attached to the owners' manor house, a grade 1 listed building built on the site of the original gatehouse and incorporating some of it. In the gardens, which our cottage shared with the manor house, was the elaborate ruins of the vaulted porch of the 15th century abbot's hall which you can see in the first photograph. It was just crying out to be written about in a gothic novel
the picture above is our little cottage and the one below is the view from our bedroom window.
The weather was damp and grey but somehow that only added to the atmosphere of the place. I'm not a historical novelist but I'm sure the place will eventually find its way into one of my magazine stories.
We had many wintery walks in the beautiful Dorset countryside and a visit to a sculpture garden at Pallington Lakes. What do you make of this fellow?
Now I'm home and the synopsis for my new novel has just been okayed by my agent so it should be all systems go... but this guy keeps calling to me. Maybe I could give him a cameo role.