Climate of the Poem workshop with Sean O’Brien, in France

Last week at Chateau Ventenac sped by. Having made note of the interesting (to travellers) fact that it takes about 2 hours door-to-door to reach Stansted from Turnham Green, I have little else of comfort or interest to report about that journey.

There was that traveller’s moment when I learned, at Victoria Station, that there was no underground service on the Victoria line the day I travelled, and so I had to make one of those Londoner rolling-gear changes, where you must always expect the unexpected whenever making a journey, and I got there in the end.

Can I just say what an appalling place Stansted is for anyone who cares about food, comfort, manners or convenience? And to mention that you can pay stupid amounts for just about anything there… speaking as one who forgot to pick up that essential item (for the borderline flu-sufferer, namely Twinings Ginger & Lemon tea) at my local groceteria and was forced to hand over the extortionate price of forgetfulness.

Seeking literary consolation, I visited the book concession and – in a vain quest to find any section called “Poetry” – stumbled upon a promising new tome by Felicity Lawrence (Eat Your Heart Out) to keep me company on my journey. I have already learned more than I wanted to know about the evils of cereal and some scary things about milk, meat and vegetables. Happy landings…

Here was our view from the chateau:

and another, of the many surrounding windmills at sunset:

Here’s a view of our first evening’s supper, first and last course: some grilled goat’s cheese on bread on salad:

and a bit of apricot tart with ice cream:

Each day’s lunch included a decorative platter of sliced beets garnished with creme fraiche, as well as a good selection of salads, sausages and and cheese.

Happy tutor packs his pencils at the end of the week:

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