So, the long-awaited – and much anticipated – move to Switzerland finally kicks into touch tomorrow when the packers arrive and – shock horror – my UK Internet connection is severed! I am approaching this with relative calm, probably because I have been so distracted by other things over the last few months leading up to the move, but no doubt the panic will set in at some point! 😉
But what about that timing? Well, moving to Switzerland has been on and off the table several times over the last 10 years, and how I longed for it because it would give me the opportunity to focus full time on trying my hand at writing. Each time, however, it fell through – until this year. So, on the one hand, I am very excited by the move and all that it may offer in terms of time: freed up for me to have the flexibility to write, the chance to explore and get to know such a beautiful country and the ease (and speed) with which we can use our leisure time to visit other neighbouring European delights such as Germany, Italy, France etc.
On the other hand? This year has already started by offering all sorts of literary delights, all of which take place AFTER we have left the country!
This begins with the Bath Literature Festival in March, an annual event that attracts some well-known names every year and covers a vast array of topics covering all genres and eras of literature. Typically, this year the extensive programme has several events that I would have loved to attend connected to three interests: Jane Austen, Downton Abbey – the earlier series, that is! 😉 and writing. These include (click on the titles to follow the links):
A Georgian Pub Crawl with two pub historians (anyone who knows me well will understand just how much I will regret missing this event!)
A Literary Lunch with Mr Darcy – centred around Penn Vogler’s Dinner with Mr Darcy, a wonderful book (I received my copy for Christmas) that takes extracts about meals from Jane Austen’s books and lists authentic recipes from the day along with a modern day interpretation to allow you to make the dishes
Austentatious – hilarious improvisation from a talented troupe of actors. I had the pleasure of seeing them on the closing night of the 2013 Jane Austen Festival in Bath – extremely clever and very entertaining!
Downton Connection – the Countess of Carnarvon talking about a particularly dramatic story in Highclere (Downton Abbey)’s history
Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey – a talk by Jessica Fellowes, niece of the programme’s creator and screenwriter, Julian Fellowes
The Festival also includes all sorts of workshops and presentations to help budding writers, including a Writers’ Surgery, a Beginners’ Guide to Self-Publishing, a Self-Publishing Q&A and the RED Network Event on how to get published.
Then, to add insult to injury in The Case of Appalling Timing, last week it came closer to home – to Harrogate, in fact, the town where I have lived for the last few years.
Harrogate hosts an annual literary festival too – namely, the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. And who should be announced lately as attending for the first time ever, and her only Festival attendance all year? I suppose the heading may have given it away – if it didn’t, you may need to polish up on your detection skills 😉 – yes, JK Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith, is to attend and will be In Conversation with Val McDermid in July 2014.
So, there you have it: the ‘case’ revealed. Hmmmm, talking of cases, I really should be doing some packing, but before I do – and before the Internet and I part company for 10 days – I think I’ll just take a look at flights from Zurich to England… watch this space!!! 😀