Last week I spent a sunny afternoon with fellow Writers Abroad member, Sally Robinson. I met Sally in the spring of 2011 at a workshop at the English Bookshop in Amsterdam. The workshop was arranged by Wordsinhere, Amsterdam’s literary writing organisation, and was about how to navigate the often bewildering world of writing competitions. As we were looking for new members for our face-to-face writers’ group at the time, I invited Sally along to the next meeting and since then she’s been a regular member. Shortly afterwards she decided to join the online WA group as well.
Fairytale Location, Stone’s Throw from Amsterdam
Sally lives in Monnickendam, a picturesque town in North Holland that lies on the coast of the Ijsselmeer, about half an hour’s drive away from Amsterdam. Sally lives in a traditional house alongside a canal, dating from 1854. The house is a listed building with a charming courtyard garden. Originally from England, Sally spent many happy years as a trailing spouse, living in such far flung locations as Indonesia, Kenya and The Congo. Her ex-husband is Dutch and worked as an economist in 3rd world development, which of course involved a lot of relocation. Their base in Holland from the mid-seventies was Monnickendam where, interspersed with periods abroad, Sally raised her three children. The children all now live in Amsterdam and her growing number of grandchildren are very happy that she lives so nearby!
Sally followed an OU creative writing module, and an OCA course in short fiction. She has also followed an Arvon writing course in Shropshire. Using her experiences of living abroad as a source of inspiration for her fiction, Sally also has a dry wit and great sense of humour which come across strongly in her writing. Sometimes though procrastination is a problem, but she finds being a member of two writing groups a fantastic stimulus to pick up the pen and just get writing.
Getting to Monnickendam from Amsterdam
Take Bus 311 from Central Station. The bus departs from the back of the station. Walk through the shopping area and up the escalator to the bus stop. M’dam comes after Broek-in-Waterland and stop called ‘dorp’ (!) Get off at bus stop ‘Nieuwepoortslaan’ just after you swing over the bridge into M’dam.
A few photos of the lovely afternoon we spent together.