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Return to Dillington by Elizabeth Hawksley

August 21, 2012

I’ve just spent an interesting week teaching Creative Writing for Pleasure at the wonderful Dillington House in Somerset.

 Not only is the house itself beautiful, so are the extensive grounds and, on our last two days when the sun finally came out, I took my class outside. We found a bench under a tree in a secluded corner of the garden, borrowed some chairs (with permission) from the conservatory and settled down to work.

 There was the faint scent of new mown grass and bees buzzed quietly in the nearby border. In another corner of the garden, I could see someone from the art class quietly sketching flowers. A gardener trimmed the edges of a flower bed nearby.

It both calmed the soul and inspired the spirit. Looking across at the house, its Ham stone golden in the afternoon sun and the turrets and tall barley twist chimneys silhouetted against the blue sky, I thought: I could get used to this! And at half-past four when the class ended, there would be a choice of delicious cakes for tea.

I’ve only ever seen Dillington in August but, next February, I shall be back to teach The Infinite Variety of English. This will be a look at the huge variety of writing in English, from diaries and love letters to novels and poems. It will range from the inspiring to the abysmal – a touch of really bad writing can also be illuminating! It should be fun.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Dillington in winter, perhaps under a blanket of snow with the skeletons of its magnificent trees glistening with frost. It’s sure to look wonderful.

Photo:  our view of Dillington House

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