Saturday, December 25, 2010

Here's a toast. A Happy Christmas to all of us.

... happy Christmas, to all of you at home!

and a Happy New Year to all guests at the cottage, past, present and future!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snow! Ah, real snow. Proper snow at last!...part two

As promised, here are some photos of Romney Marsh in the snow. This is the kind of snow that we all like - enough to make the place look pretty but not enough to impede the ability to go and have a look at it!

Much like the snow in the Doctor Who Christmas specials - not too deep, crisp and even!

Perhaps in future, once we have the Weather Control Machine as featured in "The Moonbase", and again in "The Seeds of Death", we can get it just perfect for Christmas!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow! Ah, real snow. Proper snow at last!...part one

Despite the weather we managed to get down to Lydd at the are some photos of the Tardis in the snow!

Tomorrow, I'll post some photos of Romney Marsh in snow.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"What's this pub called?" - The Star Inn, St. Mary in the Marsh

What more appropriate pub for Christmas than The Star Inn at St. Mary in the Marsh?

Built in 1476, this is a cozy pub serving local Shepherd Neame ales.

At one time Noel Coward lived in the converted stable next door and wrote his first great critically successful play, "The Vortex", there.

A drawing on the wall tells the legend of the Pot-Bellied Pig of St. Mary In The Marsh, which appears only on Christmas Eve and only to certain people (rather like Pink Elephants one assumes).

Across from the pub is the church. The spire is 15th century but the oldest parts of the present church date from 1133 and was built by the Normans on top of an old wooden Saxon church.  

Like many Marsh churches it is built on a mound to to avoid flooding but the mound was originally a Celtic burial ground, a  Ciric or Circa, raised above ground level, to keep the dead dry.

The original name of the area was Siwold's Circa - meaning the burial ground on the wooded(Wold) island(Ie) but the later christians changed the name to remove its pagan history.

Inside the church  is a plaque commemorating Edith Nesbit, author of "The Railway Children", who lived at St. Mary's Bay and is buried in the churchyard. Her grave is marked by a wooden rail mounted on two posts.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In your dreams, I'll still be there

Had a strange dream last night, I was directing an episode of Doctor Who starring the third and fifth Doctor!

It was set on Burgh Island and had a similar plot to "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie which was set on an fictional version of Burgh Island.

The story did of course feature the Sea Devils!

Jon and Peter were charming.

Quite peculiar, really, given that Jon Pertwee died in 1996, unless there was some very clever CGI, this two doctor story would be quite impossible to make!

But then in our dreams people never die - mine often feature my late brother and parents.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This one here, for instance...plays soothing music.

I have put an extra little item of interest, for visitors, in the Apple Barn bedroom.

This typewriter has been in the family for over 60 years - my father brought it back from Germany with him after doing his national service there.

By coincidence it is almost exactly the same model used on the eleventh doctor's tardis console!

Guests are advised not to touch any of the keys - in case it makes the Apple Barn dematerialise!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Can't you sound more like a Dalek?

More Dalek fun for Christmas!

Perhaps one of the first parodies from Doctor Who was a song released the first Christmas after The Daleks was initially broadcast. The British Go-Go's best-selling Christmas novelty single makes them sound more like K9, and was originally released as one of the many products fueling Dalekmania.

and here is another fine example of Dalek mayhem at Christmas - rudolf's last stand:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I find this place delightful

Whilst visiting Dungeness make sure you look out for Derek Jarman's famous garden at Prospect Cottage. A brilliant and greatly loved artist and film maker who, against all odds, made a breathtakingly beautiful garden in the most inhospitable of places – the flat, bleak, often desolate expanse of shingle overlooked by the nuclear power station.

Derek Jarman is probably most well known for his work on pop videos and the films Jubilee and Caravaggio but he was also a stage designer, diarist and artist.

The house is built in tarred timber. The garden was created in the latter years of his life, in the shadow of Dungeness nuclear power station. It has a complex geometrical plan, magical stone circles and beautiful and bizarre sculptures. It was made using local materials and has been the subject of several books. At this time, Jarman also began painting again.

Raised wooden text on the side of the cottage is the first stanza and the last five lines of the last stanza of John Donne's poem, The Sun Rising.

BUSY old fool, unruly Sun,
        Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run ?
        Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
        Late school-boys and sour prentices,
    Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
    Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus ;
    Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
    To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.

There is a moving article on The Guardian website by Howard Sooley about Derek and the garden. He also contributed photographs to Derek Jarman's last book about the creation of the garden.

Friday, December 10, 2010

what's a tree like you doing in a place like this?

We have gone for a minimalist Christmas tree for the cottage - but it does look pretty with all the lights going through different colours!

At the base of the tree, of course, is the Fourth Doctor and K9 coming out of the tardis to have a look!

Here, is a little video I found on YouTube of a dalek attacking a Christmas tree!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without one of my plum puddings

If you fancy getting in the mood for Christmas with a Doctor Who related audio or book, here are a couple of suggestions:

Chimes at Midnight written by Rob Shearman

Shearman wrote the television episode 'Dalek' for the first series of the new version of Doctor Who in 2005. Before that, however, he wrote several audio plays for Big Finish , The Holy Terror, The Chimes of Midnight and Jubilee all winning best audio drama in the Doctor Who Magazine polls of their respective years.

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring...

But something must be stirring. Something hidden in the shadows. Something which kills the servants of an old Edwardian mansion in the most brutal and macabre manner possible. Exactly on the chiming of the hour, every hour, as the grandfather clock ticks on towards midnight.

Trapped and afraid, the Doctor and Charley are forced to play detective to murders with no motive, where even the victims don't stay dead. Time is running out.

And time itself might well be the killer...

This is a very atmospheric piece that starts, seemingly, as a 'whodunnit' but soon develops into a rather ghostly and creepy tale which leads the Doctor and his companion into questioning their own sanity. A perfect Christmas winter tale for the fireside!
You can purchase it here:

The Big Finish Short Trips were a collection of short story anthologies published by Big Finish beginning with the collection Short Trips: Zodiac in December 2002 and ending with the loss of their license in 2009.

During this time they published four books each December with a Christmas theme. These were:
Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury
Short Trips: The History of Christmas
Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas
Short Trips: Christmas Around the World 

 All a splendid read with a glass of mulled wine!

Sadly, because they are no longer in print they can be ridiculously expensive on Amazon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What if there’s nothing, just the motorway with the cars going round and round and round and round, never stopping, forever.

I was intending to pop down to the cottage for a meeting with the chimney sweep - best to get it sorted out before the winter really starts, I thought!

I set off on Tuesday thinking that, although snow was predicted, it did not seem as if it would amount too much.

Eight hours later, when I finally got back home, I bitterly regretted my naivety.

It was the dramatic change in the traffic situation that really caught me out. Until I hit the M25 the journey was taking no longer than usual and the snow seemed no more than a flurry.

As soon as I got onto the M25, however, it was clear that the motorway was at a standstill and that there was no way I was going to get to Lydd. If I could have turned around then all would have been fine - however, jack-knifed lorries and the sheer volume of traffic at every junction made this virtually impossible. I spent the next 6 hours crawling along the M25 until I finally managed to slip and slide my way off and on again to the M25 going back to London!

Perhaps if I had got self-replicating fuel, muscle stimulants for exercise, a chemical toilet out the back, and been able to recycle all waste products as food I could have survived indefinitely!

The morale of this, I suppose, is not to take Britain's normally mild climate for granted and also the importance of holiday insurance - if the cottage had been booked this week I doubt if visitors would have made it - even with four wheel drive!