Brideshead visited and restored

Yes I know it should be revisited, but as it’s my first visit I can hardly revisit can I? Though I will admit when we booked our trip to Yorkshire last year Castle Howard was high on my ‘to visit’ list, which may just have been swayed by the TV series which aired in the early 80s. MOH though, was of course, completely unaware of this.

In fact the walled garden was fantastic and by far exceeded my expectations of a walled garden, I’d like to a post, but it seems I’ve not shared them yet. Clearly I’ve been keeping them for myself (and the other hundreds of thousands of people who visit each year!)

But once we were in the house, I was on Brideshead watch. So I was pleased with the Brideshead Restored exhibition.

mirrored panelling and an ornate fireplace

The rooms from this exhibition were completely destroyed by fire in 1940, five years before Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited novel. While the original series was filmed at Castle Howard, it also hosted the cinema version released in 2008. The burnt out shells of the rooms still remained when Miramax were looking for locations, and the producers quickly realised there was an opportunity to turn these rooms into film sets.

Just the pattina and pure gorgeousness at Castle Howard

In 2007 the area was cleared for carpenters, set builders and painters to transform it into a dramatic painted interior. The murals have been “convincingly distressed” to look as if they have been part of the fictional Brideshead Castle for many years.

A bit of a picture on the wall

This room was used for two scenes in the film - dinner on the first evening when Charles Ryder stays with the Marchmain family, and Lord Marchmain’s deathbed scene if you must know. I don’t think I’m breaking any secrets by saying in both cases some licence was taken by the film makers.

ruched fabric on the ceiling at Castle Howard

The view from the windows also featured strongly in the film, and when it’s this good, why wouldn’t it?

Views through the arched windows and the uncharacteristically blue skies and scorching heat

And I couldn’t end this post without a glimpse at the Brideshead cast reunion. Sigh.

a peak at the cast from Brideshead Revisited together again

I’ve a feeling I’ll be dipping into the book for a top up of some teenage memories. Let’s just call it the Downton effect…

The Craft Channel launches 14 September


Yes. A whole channel dedicated to crafts is happening. It launches on Monday 14 September at 8am on SKY 261 & 660, Freest 402 & 815 and Freeview 254. Now that I've worked out I've got a non-cable TV in my bedroom I know I'll be watching, will you?

It's a new channel which has been created by an experienced and knowledgeable team of experts who are passionate and enthusiastic about creativity. They also think it's time for a fresh, different approach to craft TV in the UK.

The Craft Channel is designed with us, the viewers in mind. There'll be a strong focus on education, inspiration and demonstration and will broadcast shows that feature exciting brands and products, tips, ideas and technique information too.

And smaller, independent brands will also get the opportunity to showcase their ranges, so you can be sure of seeing some new faces. As well as some more well known faces like the Crafty Beggars, who are filming a new series called Crafty Beggars in the Home at the studio I visited in Acton last week.

The set is looking pretty good too:

I got to go on set while they were filming, and had my photo taken with Debbie Greenwood - who's lovely and is one of the presenters. As well as Debbie and the Crafty Beggars, Dawn Bibby who was introduced as the Queen of Craft is also part of this venture.

There will be some selly-telly, you know the sort but that's restricted and well, a tv channel's got to make it's money right? There'll also be some magazine-type craft programmes, which is the bit I'm looking forward to.

As well as going on set I also got to go into the command centre, where the filming is controlled. That was definitely an experience and my hat goes off to everyone who works in this industry who makes it look so easy, from my short visit I know it isn't.

So I'll be watching from the comfort of my bed - well our non-Cable TV is in our bedroom, will you be watching? And what are you hoping to see?  I think I'll also be lobbying Virgin Media so I can watch it from the sofa - and record what I can't actually watch.

Find out more:

Thank you to the Craft Channel for inviting me to their pre-launch party.

Amazing Animal Odd Couples

I wasn't planning on posting tonight but just can't help myself. I've spent the past hour watching the BBC's Animal Odd Couples. It's one of the most endearing programmes I've seen for a while...

There were so many examples of animal couplings - demonstrating maternal instincts, brotherhood and love - that you could ever expect to see. 

If you get a chance watch episode 1 or at least watch the clips (here's the link:

Cat and ducklings:

Great Dane and Black Tailed Deer:

Lion, Tiger and Bear:

A. Maze. Ing.