The suitcases are unpacked; the blisters turned to callus and my body is back on Central Daylight time, but Wales is not forgotten. I told you about hiking the hills with my friend Liz and the time we spent in Pembrokeshire with the Langham leadership team, but I skipped one very important afternoon.
When we stepped through the gate into the courtyard, I KNEW I had been there before. This was not déjà vu; it was a house I had visited with my husband when we lived in Berkshire in the 1990s. In fact, it was the house that has been in my mind as I write The Empty Cup—a house that I thought was outside of Canterbury in the south east of England and therefore had worried that it might not be appropriate to the Welsh setting. The exterior I had in mind IS outside Canterbury. (At least, I think it is.) But the layout of rooms was definitely Tretower Court in south Wales and therefore perfectly appropriate to my story. I have had no trouble shifting my mental picture of the outside of the house to fit what is there. Now I just have to go back through the manuscript and be sure I haven’t said anything that doesn’t work.
A major restoration project is going on right now so I felt like I had stumbled on the movie set of my book. I was relieved to have the docent confirm the possible use of rooms as I have assigned them. The window seat in Colin’s mother’s room is perfect. There is even evidence of former buildings that may well have been stables—exactly where I put the stables.
I’m beginning to get feedback from the colleagues I asked to read the manuscript and there is definitely work still to be done. But what fun it was to see my setting brought to life by English Heritage!