The huge building, with its treasure-trove rooms filled with antiques, reproductions and accessories from vintage style to sleek and modern, was perfect for ambling around while we gossiped and put the world to rights. As friends who have known each other years we've developed that perfect shorthand to get the most out of a sopping experience whilst still fitting in the prerequisite amount of chatting. We know how to do the whole breaking off mid-sentence to exlaim, 'Hey, that's nice' before returning to what we were talking about and we both know how to do the pointing to something ghastly with horrified expressions on our faces without even pausing our conversation.
As a result, there was much laughter, much eye-rolling and much 'do you remember when...' moments. We both had a fab time and Muse liked it too.
I could tell she did because halfway through room two I stopped looking at price tags and started wondering about the lives of the people who had owned the items...and I started wondering about the people buying the items. I started thinking about staging and settings. Characters started forming. Scenes for books flitted in and out of my imagination.
In fact my imagination was so sparked I came up with all sorts of exciting definitions for what the term 'forbidden stitch' (written on the label of a framed Chinese silk embroidered panel) might mean. Now, having researched the answer, I have to say I prefer my imaginative forays into 'coded' stitches! But there you go - you learn something new every day and I'll probably forever be able to identify forbidden stitch or 'blind stitch' as it's sometimes called. Handy!
I may never use any of the things I was thinking about as we shopped but as I felt my shoulders start climbing down from where they're usually camped out around the tips of my ears I realised Muse was incredibly happy to get a break and an outing to fill up her senses. In fact - Muse was in her element, showing me all the possiblity.
And somehow all that possiblity helps me relax and recharge like nothing else can.
What about you? What helps reinvigorate your muse and your writing?