Thursday, 27 August 2009

Hmmm - 9 to 5 or freelance writing? You decide.

Do you know what I enjoy about this freelance writing lark? The fact that you never know what opportunities may suddenly 'pop' into your inbox when you least expect it.

Take last night as an example. I was just about to switch off my computer when the editor of Country & Border Life (who I do the monthly walking features for) emailed.

The luxury hotel, Llangoed Hall, nestling on the banks of the River Wye in Wales is establishing a series of activity breaks, one of which is walking. The magazine has been offered a free place on one of these walking breaks, so the editor was asking if I'd be interested in going. Hmmm, now let me think about this....

Let's look at the facts:

1 - Each room is individually decorated with antique furniture, fabrics from Elanbach, Sir Bernard's textile printing company based in the grounds, and work by artists such as Whistler, Sickert and Augustus John.

2 - Guest designers such as Tom Parr, have also added their own individual style to the bedrooms. Similarly, seventeenth century antique mirrors, Roberts radios and cast iron baths are just some of the features that make each room both welcoming and luxurious.

3 - Winner of no less than three rosettes, Head Chef, Sean Ballington, is a firm believer in fresh, local produce. From Welsh lamb and local Salmon to Black Beef, his signature dishes are often described as classic with a twist.

4 - Most guests tend to relax at Llangoed Hall. Reading the papers by the fire, playing snooker in the library or, weather permitting, enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace.

However, for those who want to explore more than our wine list, we can offer everything from fishing, rock climbing and clay pigeon shooting to 4x4 driving, orienteering and white water rafting. Team building events can easily be arranged with qualified experts. All we ask is that you make any requests in advance.

Of course, my biggest challenge will be the best way to arrive at the venue.

Based in the heart of Wales and resting on the site of the former Welsh Parliament, Llangoed Hall commands spectacular, uninterrupted views of the Black Mountains.
Surrounded by meadowland and woods, it is an idyll of peace and quiet, with only your fellow guests and the local sheep for company. Just one hour from Newport by car or 45 minutes from London by helicopter, any form of transport can be arranged on request, from taxis and limousines to helicopter or private jet.

Picture the scene .... guests arriving from London in their private jets and helicopters and then there'll be me turning up in my little Vauxhall Astra!

I just hope the weather works out because there's over 10 miles of walking to do across the Brecon Beacons whilst I'm there (hence the need for a full Welsh Breakfast every morning!)

So, which you think sounds better? Working from 9 till 5 for a local council, or this freelance writing lark?


  1. Envy! Does your editor at the magazine want the woman's perspective? I would be happy to oblige....

  2. It's alright for some innit!


  3. PS Vernearea - no comment on what it's definition may be but you might want to go down to the 'special clinic' if you suffer with it!

    julie ;0)

  4. Hmm Julie - well as you're the one who is a qualified nurse, I'll let you write the 'Vernearea' article!

  5. With your luck I think you ought to buy a lottery ticket this week! Enjoy - it is many years since I walked (or worked) in Wales.

  6. I am completely jealous. There is one thing about 9-5 though you get regular pay whereas when you first start writing it takes time to earn the money you were in full time employment. I love writing though and with encouragement will go far.

  7. You brought back a memory, Simon. When staying there some time ago,I saw a silver water jug, and being into antiques in a minor way, upturned it to see the mark only to discover that it was a quarter full of water - water all over the lovely carpet. The waiter called Jesus, married to a local girl called Mary by the way, said, 'We have a saying in my country: All the bad is gone.'

  8. A waiter called Jesus, married to Mary! Carole - there's a reader's letter in that!

  9. I wish I had time to write it, I couldn't believe it either, but he stood there, beaming at me and telling me about his Welsh wife!

  10. Now I'm sure I heard a friend of mine say she stayed there and there were bedbugs in the beds, she got food poisoning and the showers only had freezing cold water. Have a lovely time. Jealous? Bitter? Willing to deceive just out of envy? Who? Me?

  11. chris way caerleon groupie27 August 2009 at 22:51

    some boys have all the luck!
    shame it always rains in wales though dont forget your wet suit.

  12. OK I'm green with envy, but you do deserve it.
    Have a great time.

  13. Seeing as you're all so interested, I'll ensure i blog about when I get back from my visit towards the end of September, where I will reveal all the pain and suffering that I had to endure for that job. :-)

  14. Can you not take your students with you? For educational purposes of course. (and one of Simon Maginn's students too 'cough')

  15. i like the decoration of antique furniture in each room

  16. I dare you to slide down that bannister. And get someone to take a picture to prove you did it.

  17. You won't regret it, Simon, Swain's wisdom can be applied both to short stories and novels.
    Though the one book that helped me along the road when struggling to write the latter was
    'The Art of Dramatic Writing' by
    Lajos Egri.
    Ok, it's written for playwrights,it analyses play construction, but the knowledge can be applied to novel writing.
    I can't recommend it too highly, it is the best thing on the subject that's ever been written, and if you don't believe me, come and look at my library, I've practically tried them all! :-)
    If you only ever bought two books, these are the two! Kind regards, Carole.

    30 August 2009 16:38