Archive for daphne du maurier

A Collection of Time Travel experiences and ‘atmospheres’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2010 by echostains

The Vikings make their presence known

I have always had a yearning to travel back in time.  I’ve had four of these experiences – well not actually going back in time, but pretty near.  The first one was years ago at the Jorvic Viking centre in York, where you travel in a car backwards in time and come out into a recreated Viking village, complete with all the sounds, sights and even the smells (including urine).  This has now changed and there is a different way to travel now, which I find disappointing – they should have left the experience alone in my opinion.

The house in the Rock

The second one was also in Yorkshire.  It was in a place called ‘House in the Rock’ in Knaresborough.  The owner Miss Nancy Buckle’s ancestor carved this house into rock in 1770 and generation after generation have lived in it.  Now that was like stepping back in time!  At the time we were shown around, the National Trust were doing their utmost to get their hands on the house  clean it up a bit and probably take the character away from what was/is  a family home. The place had a charm all of its own and I still can’t seem to find out if the Trust managed to get it.

House on the Strand

The third time I went back in time was when I read Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘House on the Strand’.  This is a strange book even for Du Maurier.  In brief: a man rents a remote house in Cornwall (of course) and agrees to be the guinea pig for a drug his biochemist friend has invented.  With its aid he goes back in time to the 14th Century where he has lots of adventures.  But each time he comes back reality blurs between the two worlds….  the book has intrigue and a very strange ending.

18 Folgate Street

The fourth time that I climbed into that time machine was last week when we visited Dennis Severs house, Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London.  I have always wanted to go to this house for years and have never quite got around to it – until last week.  We made an appointment and just went.  Dennis Severs, an American artist (b. 1948 -1999).  Severs moved to London and bought the run down house in 1979.   Folgate Street is very close to the Spitalfields market and at the time of purchase the area was more run down than it is now but attracting Bohemians and artists.

Dennis Severs House, one of the period bedrooms

Severs renovated and decorated each of the 10 rooms  in a different historical style, mostly from the 18th and 19th century creating ‘atmospheres’ and vignettes.  He did this on a budget of

£500!  I first encountered this man, years ago in a Period Living magazine and was flabbergasted at how clever, innovative and resourceful he was and longed to see his house.  Though he lived there himself, Severs invented an imaginary family to people his house,  and he based this family upon the Huguenot silk weavers who would  have lived in the area at that time.  He called them the Jarvis family – and they are still alive in the house.  Whenever you enter a room you feel they have been there before you and just left, leaving clues like a half eaten piece of buttered toast and an upset teacup behind them.  the rooms are like living paintings.  in fact one room is actually based on a Hogarth painting!

more period drama

The house is crammed full of Sever’s collections of memorabilia, plus china, vintage clothing, ephemera.  But these are not dry museum type collections, these ‘props’ are scattered everywhere, as if it’s been casually left that way, nothing is ‘posed’.  Clay pipes lay broken in a fireplace, valentines are wedged into the frames of mirrors, cobwebs hang from the torn and damp velvet four-poster hangings in the poorest room in the house – the attic, where no fire burns.  To get a better idea of the experience (though I urge you to go if you possibly can)  Here is a short video starring the house – and the late Dennis Severs himself:-

Jorvik Viking centre image  here

Read all about Thomas Hill, a linen weaver who built the House in the Rock  by his great great grand-daughter Nancy Buckle here.  We have quite a few pics of this house somewhere which I shall have to find.  This pic came from  here though

Dennis Severs House website recommended and read what people who have visited say here  Severs video from here

Unfortunately we were not allowed photographs in the house, so these images come from herehere and here

My 231st Post, Not to be the Last one…


I can’t believe it’s my 231st post already!  Where does the time go?  So far, I have managed to blog approximately 226 days out of the 231, so I’m very happy with that!  The next update I will do is when I reach my 250th.

So what have I actually written about? (in the last 11 posts) and did I actually get round to doing any more in my altered book (answer: NO).  I commemorated Modigliani and Degas’s birthdays.


Modigliani, see his birthday

Modigliani, see his birthday


Included more Weird and Whacky designs.  Looked at how Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth project was coming along, and  I dipped into my archives (YES I have got archives lol!)

angel_of_the_north,one of many he did earlier

I reviewed ‘Daphne’ by Justine Picardie – a book I recently enjoyed.

daphne by justine picardie

daphne by justine picardie

Oh and I enjoyed a night out at the tiny Circus Tavern in Manchester City centre!

the circus portland street manchester

the circus portland street manchester

Things to do include working on my altered art book (and I know I KEEP on saying it…), writing some more in my Art I LOVE section, including some more teapots…and well, just loads and loads!

UPDATE:  I have now completed over 300 posts!  See HERE

‘Daphne’ by Justine Picardie: The Infernal World of the Lost Boy

Posted in BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, BRONTE BITES, WATCHED with tags , , , , on July 14, 2009 by echostains

I have finished reading this book at last.  It isn’t a particularly lengthy book, neither was it tedious.  The reason it has taken me so long to read is that I was savouring every page!   That’s quite unusual for me, I like to gallop through a book when I’m really enjoying it – and I did enjoy this!

daphne by justine picardie, a jolly good read

daphne by justine picardie, a jolly good read

Picardie’s extensive research really pays off.  There is an air of authenticity about the book, the sense of the author being in the ‘know’.  I like the way that the story is told from three very different perspectives, and two different points in time.  I have read Du Maurier’s ‘rival’s book by Winfred Gerin, and never realised that they were in direct competition with each other.  I think I shall have to read ‘The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte‘ and ‘Branwell Bronte  again to compare them.  I have them both but  it’s a long time ago since I read either of them.

Last night I dreamed I went to Mandelay or was it Menabilly?

Last night I dreamed I went to Mandelay or was it Menabilly?

I could almost smell the mildew on Emily’s notebook and the obsession and desperation of the disgraced Symington.  The marriage between the girl  (now I come to think of it, her name isn’t mentioned either by Paul her husband who calls her ‘sweet girl’ or his ex wife Rachel, who refers to her as ‘my assistant’) and Paul seems a little bit surreal and gets off to a bad start by the ex wife’s Rachel’s only too  real presence.   This could be likened to Max De Winter’s dead wife interference with his new young wife….(and I can’t recall her name either).  But there the similarities end,  as the outcome of each marriage differ: one overcoming obstacles and even death (battling with a ghost whose presence is kept alive by Danvers), whilst the other ends with both partners outgrowing each other (thanks to the presence of another ‘ghost’, this one very much alive: ex wife Rachel!)

branwell bronte, the lost boy

branwell bronte, the lost boy

I wasn’t too sure about the J M Barrie connection and the Lost boys though.  I mean there IS a real connection with Du Maurier’s family but I don’t think the extra twist was really needed.  In my opinion, Branwell is the real Lost Boy and seems destined to be eternally irretrievable.  Loved this book though and shall be reading more by this author!

Warning: this book is a page turner!  try to slow down and savour the experience.

More Bronte Bites from me HERE;

York Break: Haworth still wuthering after all these years

Will the REAL Charlotte Bronte PLEASE Stand Up!

Back in the Picture

Watched: ‘Most Haunted’ The Black Bull Haworth: Tales of the Much Expected

Dear Reader I READ it ‘The Bronte’s Haworth’ by S R Whitehead