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The Hut Experience

2017-05-03 05:22PM

One advantage of doing writers-in-residence placements is that you get to see some amazing out-of-the-way places. Places normally hidden from view and lost to the world. The Artist’s Cabin at Bucks Mills, Woolsery, situated

on the wild North Devon coast was no exemption. It stands clinging tentatively to the edge of the cliff face, an untouched time capsule from the 1970’s. 

The artists, Judith Ackland and her partner Mary Stella Edwards, used the cabin as a summer painting retreat until Judith was taken ill. They both assumed they would return and left the hut in readiness for their next painting retreat. Unfortunately, Judith died in 1971 and Mary never returned to the cabin. Therefore, the cabin was left an untouched living space complete with coat hangers, cups, and a cabinet full of art supplies. A collection of pebbles and seashells lined the tiny window ledge as a physical manifestation of a lost memory. By the tiny cream coloured double bed, sat a candle in a candle holder, another lingering memory of a past life.


Completely, isolated from modern living, with no electricity buzzing and humming in the background, it was the ideal writing conditions for working through my pile of unfinished work in progress. The only sounds in the hut were the echoes of the sea, its waves crashing against the empty shore. However, emptiness seldom lasts long before it is filled and the crunch of booted feet on the pebbles heralded the arrival of the devotees. They had braved the May Day cold to pay homage to the Artist’s Cabin, with me acting as the occasional, possibly quite terrible, tour guide. I had had one tour of the hut by the custodian of said hut and being rather preoccupied with seashells and candles, the actual substance of the tour was lost. I did, however, manage to recall the pointing of the teacup handles, the gaslight, and the abandoned chairs which had been left hanging, nailed to the staircase.

I don’t know if it was the tour they expected but they seemed happy enough when they left.  Except one who seemed rather too excited yelling to everyone squashed into the bursting hut that I was indeed a horror writer.  I thought she looked most disappointed by my lack of black clothes, insanity, and sundry horror inducing equipment. From this I learned, if you write a sprinkling of horror – a bulging black doctors bag which you can stare at knowingly, positioned carefully by your laptop is a necessary if not fundamental requirement to dark writing.

If you are a connoisseur of horror, you are most welcome to visit my website – Deliciously Wicked Writing and enjoy the wicked.

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