CHASE Creative Writing Residency 2019: Day 7

Sunday, the last full day of the residency. I slept a full ten hours, uncharacteristically, as if my body was already anticipating the early mornings and structured time to which it would soon be returning. It promised to be a fine day, so I set off on long stroll through the Cheshire countryside. But the weather doesn’t keep its promises for long around here and I was soon striding through a thunderstorm in thin trousers and an optimistic shirt. Still, there comes a point when you’re so wet you no longer have to worry about getting any wetter and I greeted the dog-walkers I passed, all of whom were dressed like mountaineers, with lunatic good-cheer.

I was late back so missed the first of the goodbyes. There were many more, full of warmth and well-wishing. Late in the evening, as the conversations became more elliptical, Taymoor asked each of us what we thought the best aspect of the retreat. His own answer, ‘the people,’ felt unimprovable. Sometimes you just get lucky, and a diverse group of near-strangers cohere in a very special way. This last week felt blessed with such luck.

Iain Gonoude

Images taken by Elspeth Latimer