Sunday, 30 June 2019

A visit to Gregynog

This weekend, I went to Gregynog in rural Powys to an afternoon tea and a musical concert of a Bach programme of arias for tenor, flute, cello and harpsichord, performed by the Flemish tenor and French Baroque ensemble A Nocte Temporis. The concert was wonderful and very special as it was this group's first ever appearance in the UK. In the lovely setting of the Music Room, and the peaceful surroundings of the gardens, it was an evening to remember.



For those who don't know Gregynog, here's a quick bit of history. For hundreds of years, it was one of Montgomeryshire’s leading landed estates but in 1913 a huge estate sale saw Gregynog’s farms, cottages and woodlands sold off, many to their tenants. Gregynog Hall might have been demolished had not the wealthy Davies sisters acquired it in 1920 to become the headquarters of their enterprise to bring art, music and creative skills to the people of Wales in the aftermath of the First World War.

For twenty years the house was full of music, fine furniture and ceramics, hand-printed books from the Gregynog Press and, most extraordinary of all, the sisters’ collection of paintings by artists such as Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh.  At the end of the 1950s, after wartime use as a Red Cross convalescent home, Gregynog was bequeathed to the University of Wales as a conference centre.  But the old Gregynog lives on – the music, the art, the printing press and the gardens.(http://www.gregynog.org)



From 1932 to 1938, an Annual Festival of Music and Poetry was held here, conducted by such musical luminaries as Sir Henry Walford Davies and Sir Adrian Boult. The music festival lives on too, as each year in June, Gregynog plays host to an annual music festival, featuring performances by some of the world’s leading classical musicians (.https://gwylgregynogfestival.org/gregynog-festival-2019)



On the writing front, I'm back at the computer after the upheaval of a house move and juggling two day jobs. I entered the Harlequin Presents Blitz  earlier this month and received very encouraging feedback. As usual I've given myself a deadline - crucial for any writer committed to publication - for early September. I'm also going to the RNA's  annual conference in July, at Lancaster University this year, where I've got a couple of industry appointments with agents and publishers, but best of all, I'll be catching up with some very dear writing friends.

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