Sixteen people one house two tutors seven days. Who goes you decide.

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An example of a harvest moon.

On Tuesday night at The Dorchester in London I am missing a special dinner with amongst others Naomi Campbell and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Instead I am here in the heart of the Shropshire countryside. I spent the week  eating  sleeping waking and tutoring  in The country home of Late  English playwright  John Osborne.  .  There are  two houses  in thirty acres of manicured land with a picture book “lake”. 

 

With a cotutor and sixteen adults there is nothing magical about how to make a coursework for the students go away inspired and invigorated.   However when a course does work well  it is magical. Preparation and communication between tutorsis the key. Previous to the course we met and discussed the format of  the week. In addition we met throughout the  actual week to check the format was online. 

The day begins with sunlight finger tipping its way across rolling hills to the house.The sizzeling sound of Shropshire bacon spills from the farmhouse kitchen through to the dining room with its still standing  spent tired candles of the previous evening. Soon enough the benches outside the house are full with waking people, steaming tea,  ready for the morning meeting. What happens inside the students,  with a really good course which this was, is  a heightened  state due to intense concentration on art. This  sends internal fissures,  like those in iced lakes  racing with lightening speed  through the centre of personality. Honest.

Mid Week there’s the  guest reading. The lounge upstairs  is prepared and lit  by candlewicks  on bookshelves and windowsills. At one side of the room two clear lamps stand each side of a writers chair surrounded by bookshelves.  Gwyneth Lewis takes her seat, delivers her magical reading from both novels and books of poetry and casts a spell over us all. 

Each day I wake at 6am and sleep at midnight.  The Friday night reading by the students who range from seventeen to eighty three  years old began in the lounge of the house. But then the the entire group upped and walked down the stairs out of the house, through the woods by candle light and to The Foyles Studio, a converted barn. Mid walk someone pointed at the sky and the moon, almost yellow  slotted into clotted crème  clouds. She was holding up a three pronged candle stick “A harvest moon” she said, transfixed.It was as if this moon had fallen from a childs painted story book to enchannchant us all.

Later my bedroom looked out on the tree canopy that surrounded the house from where peels of laughter curled into the night.

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