Hamish Wilson was born in Cheltenham in 1959. Having won a scholarship to Rendcomb College, he went on to take a degree in French Literature at Sussex University before training to be a teacher in London. His formal education finished with an MA in Arts Education at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Hamish’s teaching career took him to a variety of schools, teaching a variety of subjects: French, German, English and Drama. A constant, however, throughout all this, was an interest in and love of words.
He began writing when looking for a suitable play to produce at his first school, St Peter’s, a comprehensive, in Huntingdon. Resources and facilities were fairly basic in those days so he wrote a play which was tailor made for the school and its pupils. Something Rotten in the State of Denmark, a parody of Hamlet, marked his writing debut.
However, he became much more interested in the art and craft of writing when he took a group of pupils from Hitchin Boys’ School to a creative writing centre in Wales. He was inspired by the poet, Gerard Benson, who gave him the encouragement and confidence to develop his writing.
There then followed three plays: A Tale Told by an Idiot, Alice and Eros (part of Twisted Willow’s: Seven Words for Love) and a series of sonnet cycles describing: a journey through France – A Baguette in my Sac; an autobiographical account of the Isle of Wight – Ticket to Ryde; travels in India –Tales from Rajasthan and the Maldives – Night Fishing. His latest sequence: Parallel Lives explores the lives of Dylan Thomas and John Lennon.
Having taught for thirty-one years, he became disillusioned with the increasingly narrow curriculum imposed on pupils and teachers by central government and decided to leave the profession to become a full time writer. His first published work, ‘Away from the Welsh Speaking Sea,’ is a homage to Dylan Thomas’ set in his Swansea birthplace.
The Garsdale Retreat represents the realisation of a dream: a return to the countryside and a haven for writing. It’s a dream he hopes many will able to share with him.
Rebecca Nouchette was born and educated in Oxford. She studied the cello at Trinity College of Music, London.
She was a founding member of two string quartets, giving interactive workshops in schools around London and performing at weddings, parties and corporate events.
Having moved out of London in 2000, she taught the cello at King’s College School, Cambridge and St Christopher School, Hertfordshire where she later became the performing arts administrator, organising whole school events such as arts weeks, concerts and drama productions.
Rebecca is a keen and enthusiastic cook. Her interest began in 1986 when she was the catering manager at the Ragdale Health Club in Belsize Park where she developed a range of nutritious food. This experience, along with cooking for her family of three, proved invaluable when she had to cook for school groups, camping in the Swiss mountains. Her culinary ingenuity more than met the extreme challenge of working with three gas burners and no fridge and eighty mouths to feed.
Rebecca is looking forward to preparing excellent, locally sourced meals at The Garsdale Retreat. She is well known to the stall holders of the markets in Hawes and Sedbergh where she buys fresh produce, including fish from Fleetwood on the day it is caught.
She is inspired by the landscape of the Dales and hopes to re-engage with her interests in pottery and sculpture. She would like to add to her totem pole in the main house hallway with some wooden creations in the garden.