We got up early for a slog up the steep steps to the Porte d’Aude of the medieval city of Carcassonne. But I made it. At The Hotel de la Cite, we prepared for our day’s conference. It went so fast. We had so much to say and ask of each other, and items had to be scrapped from the agenda to keep to time.
Seventeen of us getting to know each other, learning interesting titbits about the publishing trade, discussing case studies. Then some serious stuff, bringing us up to date on the fast-moving writing world, and analysing how the best-selling CATS did it. A quick run-through of social media tips and techniques, and then it was lunch time.
An epicurean meal, delicious, meticulously catering to individual tastes and needs. Beautifully presented by smiling waiters, always ready to pose for photos, and take a few against the spectacular backdrop of the castle battlements.
The two hours flew by before we trooped back to the conference room to discuss developing and working together as writers.
There was no time for tea, but we went out to the terrace for a final photo at 5pm, against the striking artwork of the battlements.
We trooped down the hill in the dark to our various hotels and abodes, me trusting in Carrie-Ann and her mobile to pick our way through the darkened streets to the Casa del Teisseire.
A quick shower and a change, then off to the Bistro d’Augustin near the station to meet up again for supper with a diminished number of CATS. I made an unfortunate menu choice – ordering fisherman’s soup, stupidly thinking it would be bouillabaisse. A large bowl of deep brown liquid was put before me. I was hungry and mopped up several mouthfuls with French bread. But the taste wasn’t particularly pleasant and I wondered what fish, or parts of fish were included in the mess. I didn’t finish it. But made up for my mistake by tucking into a giant portion of rum baba dessert.