Friday, 19 June 2015

Too debauched for Byron

Wednesday. So, the suitcase has been unpacked, the clothes washed, and then put back in the suitcase for yet another episode of my crazy life.  I arrived home on Sunday night and have just had time to clear the dining table of mail, neatly arranged by my kind neighbour, admire the weeds growing thigh-high in the garden (good for the wildlife!) had breakfast at 4am, fell asleep on the computer keyboard at 2pm (jet-lag), and somehow coped with all the other inconveniences of time travel.  The peace and calm of Haida Gwaii has been exchanged for the stress of 21st century, first world life and I'm definitely feeling the difference.

Thursday morning 7am and I'm on a train to London.  Since 2007 I've been fortunate enough to be a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and it is their support that has enabled me to go to Haida Gwaii.  Without the Fellowship, I wouldn't have been able to afford to go. Today I have to do a short presentation, for a group of new Fellows being 'inducted' into the job, and then attend the annual party. The RLF has been saving writers from the workhouse for over 200 years and the annual get-together - although once too debauched for Lord Byron (who refused the invitation)  - has become increasingly respectable since then.  Ladies were a late inclusion.  Apparently Charlotte Bronte liked to watch discreetly from the gallery as the invited male authors drank copious quantities of wine and port, while the ladies hidden above sipped their lemonade.
David Williams founded the RLF in 1790
Friday morning - Thankfully times have changed and last night writers of both sexes were able to quaff respectable vintages and tuck into a buffet that Lord Byron would have regretted missing. The company was lively but no debauchery was observed. The party continued in the hotel bar over the road afterwards.  I'm a little hungover but am meeting friends in London for lunch, so an industrial strength coffee is on the agenda.  Then, alas,  I have another flight to catch ...... 

2 comments:

  1. I so thoroughly enjoy your writing, and savor your wonderful experiences.
    I had never heard of Haida Gwaii, until I read your blog. Also, the Royal Literary Fund sounds fascinating and it goes back to 1790! I also love the pictures you present with your writing. Thanks so much.

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