Monday, 3 March 2014

London Interlude

We just came back from a lovely three day visit to London last night. I was shortlisted in the recent Holland Park Press poetry competition and invited to read my poem at their results evening. So we decided to turn it into a short break since we don't head that far south very often. Since husband was coming with me, we stayed at a more up-market hotel than I originally imagined near to Kensington Gardens, which I wanted to explore. But the Royal Garden was worth every penny, especially since we got a good deal, and it added to our enjoyment.

Kensington Palace
It was a pleasant experience on the Friday evening, reading my poem out to the appreciative  audience and listening to all the shortlisted poems. One of the judges explained they had received 456 entries from all over the world and there were eleven of us shortlisted for the poem in English prize and six for the Dutch prize. I was very honoured to be included in the shortlist and wasn't at all surprised not to win, especially after hearing the other poems! An American girl was the deserved winner.

One of the great things about such events is the chance to meet other writers and hear the standard of writing around. As with reading short stories if writing them, it's very valuable to hear poems read aloud. It was lovely to meet the publisher and judges too and I was told to choose one of their poetry books as a gift. So I am now the proud owner of a sturdy paperback collection of poems, To Sing Away the Darkest Days, by the main judge, Norbert Hirschhorn, who was away on a poetry reading tour.
Peter Pan
On the Saturday, we exhausted ourselves by walking through the whole of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, right up to Oxford Street. I adore the London parks and we didn't want to miss the chance to walk in the unexpected sunshine. My main goal in the Gardens was to see the statue of Peter Pan and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I thought it stunning as I particularly like sculpture and didn't realised it had such wonderful detail. Hyde Park was another revelation as it was packed full of wildlife along the Serpentine.

We kept walking on up to Oxford Street so I could visit Selfridges as I've been enjoying the TV programme, although I had to use my imagination a lot! I don't do any shopping at all (and didn't want to), but we had a lovely lunch there. We couldn't wait to get back to the peaceful parks again, away from the noise and busyness of town. so we walked all the way back, via the Royal Albert Hall and a few of the museums. We reckoned we deserved the delicious dinner in the fabulous French restaurant we discovered that evening quite near the hotel.

As the train home wasn't until yesterday afternoon, we spent a leisurely morning walking (again!) to the Victoria and Albert Museum where we added stairs to the exercise. Thank goodness for a wonderful, relaxing train journey all the way up to Glasgow! As I've said before, it's great to get out and about and visit new places, as it certainly stimulates this writer's imagination and always inspires me with ideas for some kind of new writing. Now it's back to reality and finishing those adjudications before my next gallivanting weekend at the annual Scottish writers conference.



Wendy's Writing said...

What a fabulous time you had, Rosemary. I'm so impressed with anyone who can write poetry. I was in London on Saturday myself -we could have met up!

Talli Roland said...

Glad you enjoyed my 'hood! :) Even if you did stay in my nemesis, where I have been banned from the spa. Long story...

Joanna said...

What a fabulous break, Rosemary, and huge congratulations for the success of your poem. That was a brilliant achievement, especially when there was a very large entry. I love poetry - the way it can inspire so many thoughts and ideas for longer fiction. One of my favourite stories of those I've written came from a short poem I stumbled across while procrastinating one day. x

Carolb said...

Sounds like you had an exciting few days, Rosemary.

Well done on the poetry short-listing.

I was always taken to Selfridges, at Christmas, when I was little, to see the wonderful Christmas window displays.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thank you, Wendy - imagine we might have passed each other!

Hi Talli - now you've got my imagination working overtime!

Thanks, Joanna - I too find poetry inspiring, along with music and art.

Thanks, Carol - it was all good fun and a lovely break. That must have been wonderful seeing those displays.

Julia said...

Now I have to go to London to see the parks again! Lovely post - and great to see the word 'busyness'!

Vikki said...

Well done again on being shortlisted in the comp! Love the photos, particularly the Peter Pan sculpture. There's so much to explore in London!