I had a pretty amazing start to 2006. I stayed at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at New Bliss between Christmas and New Year and had the most incredible few days of inspiration at this magical place. Creative work in the house, walks through the woods, suppers in the cottage, midnight cigarettes and port by the lake. The memories of that time continue to nourish me, even now, years later.
When the time came to leave, I so desperately wanted to stay and as if I needed a further excuse not to go, the elements also conspired against me. There was a fearsome gale, the like of which I have never witnessed before or since. Trees fell and cut power lines, leaving us in a blackout and stuck behind an electric gate that couldn’t open. But there was a rental car to be returned and a flight to be caught. To my mounting disappointment, each obstacle was overcome. Eventually, I struggled through the dark on desolate roads, through rain that was so heavy I could barely see through the windscreen, carefully marking the crazy, dancing, bendy trees and watching to make sure their tops were waving back up again and not about to come crashing down on me.
It is the most frightened and vulnerable I have ever felt. We have a certain amount of control over our lives and situations most of the time. That night, I felt as if my life was in the lap of the Gods from one moment to the next and when it ended, I was completely spent. But I wasn’t completely alone. For the greater part of the journey there were two people who I knew in a car ahead of me, driving slowly and making sure I was alright. They have my eternal gratitude. Were it not for them, I actually don’t think I would have made it back. “Across the Lake” is now theirs.