The Mowgli Stories

This year Illyria are back with The Mowgli Stories (adapted from The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling).

They are touring the area again, but will be at the Castle on Friday 21 August 2009.  I have added the poster below, please click for details.

Wonder if I’ll get to go this year?  Apparently, last years’ The Hound of the Baskervilles was great.

The Mowgli Stories

A Steamy Weekend

Well, that will get me either the very wrong, or very right readers!

Most of you will have guessed I’m actually talking about the Steam and Vintage Fair at the Castle at the weekend.

WOW.  What a turnout (thank you!), what weather, what beautiful engines/cars/motorbikes etc etc.  I loved the tractors and the organ, the silver classic fire engine!  I was even able to get out for a short while to look at all the stalls and see some of the engines take part in competitions.

I didn’t get a ride on the steam waggon (boo) or the wee red bus (double boo) which I wanted to take home in my handbag, but maybe next year!  I think this was the best turnout ever, and I’m so happy for the Steam Club, and of course for the Castle.

If you weren’t there, where the hell were you?!  You missed a great one….

The Lineup


Castle Crowd

My Wee Bus

What a Way to End a Week

Had to share this with you.

After a frantically busy and very tiring few weeks at the day job, just as I was about to go home on Friday I received this:


The most beautiful bouquet of flowers.  Made me smile for the rest of the day, and got a few envious glances on the way home!

On a different note, don’t forget to vote for which historic house I should visit next in the post below if you haven’t already.  Poll open until the end of June.

Classic Historic Film and TV

I’ve been making this list for a while, and it is neither exaustive nor finished at the moment.  I feel that it is ready to begin to share and gather comments.  I should also point out that I have included ones that have a slight fantasy element to them also, if they mainly appear historical.

How about adding your favourite historic films and tv dramas to the list?


  • The Company of Wolves (1984) Fantasic Neil Jordan film, fantasy and fairytale.  Based on the short story from the collection ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter which should also be read, it’s brilliant.
  • Ladyhawke (1985) Great film, though the soundtrack has dated somewhat!  Matthew Broderick as the loveable thief and Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer as the starcrossed lovers.
  • Lady Jane (1986) I love this film, based on the short period of Lady Jane Grey’s life leading up to her coronation and ultimate execution.  Beautifully made and acted, starring Helena Bonham Carter.
  • Shadowlands (1993) Covering the period of time when C.S Lewis met and fell in love with Joy Gresham.  Beautiful and moving.
  • Sense and Sensibility (1995) It’s an engaging version of the story, and I’m always pleased to see Margaret Dashwood included.  I do not, and will never approve of Emma Thompson playing Elinor however.
  • Twelfth Night (1996) I love Shakespeare, and this is one of my favourites.  Has great moments of comedy and tragedy.  Plus I love Toby Stephens.
  • Elizabeth (1998) Oh, what a stunning and epic film!  Cate Blanchett blows everyone else out of the water as Elizabeth I.  The follow up isn’t bad either.
  • Gladiator (2000) If you haven’t seen this, are you dead?  Russell Crowe as Roman General turned gladiator, ’nuff said.
  • Moulin Rouge (2001) People have said to me, you either love it or hate it.  I love it, Nicole Kidman as the courtesan and Ewan Macgregor the writer, musical-tastic!
  • Possession (2002) A beautiful Victorian love story, with some unexpected twists.  Parallels with modern day London.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Ehle.  You should also read the fabulous book by A.S. Byatt.
  • The Abduction Club (2002) A funny and engaging romp set in 18th Century Ireland.  Great cast, feelgood story.
  • King Arthur (2004) I love this film, but many didn’t give it a chance.  A new take on the legend, bloody, sexy and enjoyable starring Clive Owen.

TV Dramas:

  • Sherlock Holmes Memoirs/Return (1984-1988) Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The House of Eliott (1991-1994) Two sisters, fashion and the roaring twenties.
  • Cadfael (1994-1998) Ellis Peters
  • The Glass Virgin (1995) An adaptation of a Catherine Cookson novel.  My fave one.
  • Pride and Prejudice (1995) Jane Austen
  • The Bucaneers (1995) Edith Wharton
  • Persuasion (1995) and (2007) Jane Austen
  • The Aristocrats (1999) From a biography by Stella Tillyard, read it, it’s fantastic.
  • Wives and Daughters (1999) Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Murder Rooms – The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (2000) Inspired by the life of Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Lorna Doone (2000) R.D. Blackmore
  • Foyle’s War (2002-2008) A detective, in 1940s war-torn England.
  • North and South (2004) Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Bleak House (2005) Charles Dickens
  • Jane Eyre (2006) Charlotte Bronte
  • Northanger Abbey (2007) Jane Austen
  • Cranford (2007) Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Lark Rise to Candleford (2007-) Flora Thompson
  • Little Dorrit (2008) Charles Dickens

More to follow when I have time!

Sad Willi Has Arrived!

Buy into our general insanity, and give Claire some moral support while she finishes off her course work…check out Willi in his new home.

You might also want to read up on the back stories on her blog if you’re a bit bamboozled by the joke :mrgreen:

Decisions, Decisions

June is a very busy time of the year for me in the day job, so when I can I’m already planning some things to do during July and early August and to take some time off to do them.

First plan is to visit some more furnished castles/houses this year.  Visited a lot of ruins last year, and although I love them, I love furnished historic properties best.  So what you may ask?  Well, here’s how you get to vote for your favourite, and the top ones you think I should go to this Summer if possible.

You will see the choices in the poll box below, but here are the links to the properties or in some cases pictures if no official website is available:

Cairness House, Balmoral Castle, Glamis Castle, Craigston Castle, Lickleyhead Castle and Delgatie Castle.  Note that I went to Glamis many years ago, and I visited Delgatie last year.  I just think they would merit further visits/updates.

New Moon

Well, I caved.  After watching the film version of Twilight (from the novel by Stephenie Meyer), I was talked into reading the next book in the series, New Moon.

For those of you that have been asleep or dead (or undead) the past couple of years the series is about the love story of Bella, a human, and Edward, a vampire.

The books in order are:

  • Twilight
  • New Moon
  • Eclipse
  • Breaking Dawn

I quite enjoyed it, I like the detail of the books, and I then went on to read Eclipse, which I think is my favourite and finished the series with Breaking Dawn, which at the moment is still in hardback.  I’m glad I read it, I’d recommend it, especially if you like supernatural stories, which I do.  I’ve even finally got around to reading Twilight, though I read that last, heh!

Well, to the next film.  The first teaser trailer of New Moon was shown at the MTV Movie Awards yesterday, and here it is (woo!):

YouTube Preview Image

A Quick Castle Update

Hmm, so what’s been happening now we’ve been open for 2 months?

Our Shop and Cafe are both open at 11am, 1 hour before the Castle opens.  This seems to be popular, and I’ve met many visitors using these facilities on my way in.  Lots of lovely people using the gardens, and picnicking in the hot weather we’ve had for the last few days.

There’s more happening with the Cafe soon, so watch this space.  We also have the Steam and Vintage Fair coming up on the 20/21 June, which I’m looking forward to.  Always a brilliant event.

Lots of research and work behind the scenes happening as usual.  I’ve recently been in touch with 2 Art Museums in the USA which hold paintings either connected to, or which originally belonged to the Castle.  We’re also currently in the process of re-displaying the artifacts in Major Smiley’s Room, which is the room at the top of the Round Tower.  I can’t wait to see all the new stuff.  That and we’ve generously been given a new flag to use on our flag pole too.

The Teddy Bear Orphanage has had unprecedented interest, so much so, that I’m regularly appealing for more ‘orphans’!  I’m hoping to do a children’s quiz/raffle type thing very soon with a particularly nice donation.  We’re creating new things for children to do as we speak, in addition to our regular monthly Castle Quiz.

Good news for any of you that have been looking for our second hand books too, as they’re now back in the shop – available for the princely sum of 50p each.   Don’t forget to drop your old novels off to us when you’ve finished with them.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now, I’m sure I’ll be seeing at least one of you soon, what with weddings, events and Summer visitors!  Don’t forget that until the 1st July we’re open Thursday-Sunday 12-5.  Come and say hello!