Happy New Year!
I’ve just got back from a week in Bavaria, which was a great place to start 2012. Our very good friends Rufus and Anna had flown over there for Christmas as Anna’s family live in Burghausen, and Richard and I joined them on the 28th.
We started in Mittenwald, where we went sledging down silent Alpine slopes, past pines heavy with snow. Then there was the Gabriele-Munter-Haus in Murnau, centre of The Blue Rider movement, with furniture painted by Kandinsky. For New Year we stayed with Anna’s lovely friends Julia and Stefan in their country home near a lake. It was a wonderful party: the stove blazing in the corner, lots of beers, schweinefleisch and sauerkraut, Anna playing the spoons and an introduction to this weird show called ‘Dinner for One’. For those of you who don’t know it, it’s this British music hall sketch that is massive in Germany and required viewing on New Year’s Eve – everyone was shocked the British visitors hadn’t heard of it, and thought it was hilarious to repeat the show’s catchphrase to us (‘Same procedure as usual’) wherever we went.
(Best viewed with a weissbier)
After this, we went to Munich to meet other friends, James and Nina, where we swam in Art Nouveau baths and went to a beer hall frequented by Brecht. Then finally Anna’s home in Burghausen, where there is a stunning castle and Anna’s parents filled us up with an enormous cheeseboard, delicious cake and homemade jams .
It’s such a beautiful, welcoming country. Lots to take in…
Back to work now, which for me means teaching, with term starting next week.
If your new year’s resolution is to write more, there are still a couple of places available on my intermediate ‘Form and Content’ course at the Poetry School in London on Wednesday evenings. This term we’ll be looking at voice – the poetic ‘I’, confessionalism, dramatic monologues, and forms that use direct address such as elegies, ghazals and lullabies.
And for those of you (like me) who always need a holiday to look forward to, I’m also teaching a couple of residential courses this year. A ‘Starting to Write’ Arvon at Totleigh Barton in Devon in July, and an intermediate course about finding your own voice in Loutro, Crete in September (am very excited about this, we stay on a remote beach you can only reach by boat)