Retreat/Advance… Do’s and Don’t…


Back from a 6 day Tuscan Writer’s Retreat at Settimo Cielo B&B near Aulla.
My Top Tips for you… one and all…

1. Don’t break your toe just before you go on what was to be partly a walking holiday.

2. Don’t take overpriced pretentious body cream in opaque bottles in your hand luggage. It’s for wankers (hello!) and they’ll confiscate it thereby forcing you to decant some of it into a Superdrug placky bottle and the rest into your papery skin as you refuse to waste any.

3. Don’t just smile and agree when you arrive on board the plane (somewhat slippery and sweating from too much posh cream and hot flushes) only to find your pre-paid-for window seat has been taken by a chunkily bejewelled, cool, dry, meedja type who fixes you with half an eye whilst reading her book and intones (quotes precisely) “I’m in your seat, but you don’t mind as it’s only a seat. Hmm?”

4. If you do smile and agree, don’t spend the rest of the flight seething and quietly repeating “I’m the bigger person here”, whilst wanting to kill her. It’s no big deal right? It’s ONLY A FUCKING SEAT. MY SEAT. THAT I PAID EXTRA FOR. Leave it. Breathe….. (bitch).


5. When you arrive at the retreat don’t scan the other guests and say “Yay, I’m the youngest”. No one likes you much after that.

6. Only say what you need to say (and you need to be the judge of that)…

7. Listen, and really hear.

8. Hold the food provided by your sweet, kind, attentive host in your mouth just a bit longer than your wolfed down british carbs. It’s tasty, SO tasty, simple, fresh and NOT MADE BY YOU.

IMG_03679. Stop thinking about the plane seat.

10. Stop going on about the plane seat.


11. Your toe’s clearly a lot better now. Stop going on about it to try and make up for the fact you shouted about being the youngest.

12. You’re there to share ideas. So you can do that… So go on then.

13. Stop worrying about your host doing so much. That’s what you paid for.

14. Stop worrying about not writing much. That’s not what you paid for.


15. Stop drinking so much free flowing wine, even though the host’s beautiful daughter is pouring it like it’s going out of fashion. (Yes she’s younger than me but that doesnt’ count).


16. Stop thinking about the plane seat.

17. Feel a bit humbled by all the people that made this retreat possible (and you know who you are)…


18. Pay for priority booking on the flight home so that NO MUTHA is getting in your seat and you can pretend to be important in the Priorite queue, even though everyone knows you’re a mug and paid for it.

19. Miss some very important people (you know who you are).

20. Go home to some very important people (you know who you are).

Thank you for listening.

Retreat advice there.


You’re welcome.



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