||[Mar. 28th, 2005|08:28 pm]
Bodiam is the Victorian romantic ideal of a castle- a compact clump of white towers surrounded by a wide moat. The insides were demolished centuries ago, but the shell is uncracked. Production companies love it. And any number of films and TV shows have featured it. Remember Robin’s ancestral home in Prince of Thieves? That’s Bodiam. |
Last time I visited I had two small boys in tow and they climbed all over the bits that are open to the public and some that aren’t. This time it was just me and Ailz and my mother so we made like old folks and perambulated the moat. I’m sure there used to be water-lilies. There aren’t now. Pity. But there are still lots of fish. Big, fat carp- brown and copper and white. And the ducks race them for the bread the tourists throw into the water, skimming over them, kicking their heads.
Even further back, when I was a small boy myself, I stood on the gatehouse and tried very hard to imagine what it would be like to be a grizzled man-at-arms watching out for French invaders. I couldn’t do it. Bodiam has been visited and photographed and goo-gooed over to the point where its atmosphere is no longer medieval grim but smiling smug.
My mother took us into the gift shop to look for fishing hats. She bought one there last year, then lost it. I fancied the medieval helmet in steel-effect plastic myself, but they didn’t have it in my size.
It sounds delightful, and the way you describe it, very real.
But there are still lots of fish. Big, fat carp- brown and copper and white. And the ducks race them for the bread the tourists throw into the water, skimming over them, kicking their heads.
I especially like this. I think it would be much more interesting if the ducks were swans, since no one would ever expect anything but decorum from a swan...
What IS your hat size, anyway?
My hat-size? I haven't a clue. The only hat I ever wear is an adjustable base-ball ap.
Didja read "Bridges" on your trip?
A highgate photograph for you!
I like it how the trees are closing in.
Bodiam Castle was (I think) the stand-in, improbably enough, for Northanger Abbey in the 1986 TV version with Peter Firth. I hadn't realized it was Kevin Costner and Brian Blessed's ancestral home as well.
Northanger Abbey- well, I'm not surprised.
It must be the best preserved medieval castle within easy reach of London- hence it's appeal to film and TV companies.
It must be the best preserved medieval castle within easy reach of London
Isn't is also the only one still surrounded with a highly photogenic moat? I'm trying to think what other castles are in that kind of state of external preservation. Warwick, maybe, although I believe it's heavily reconstructed -- but it's so full of tourism that it would probably be hard to close it for a shoot. All the other castles I can think of at the moment are, ummm, showing their age externally.
I like the thread of this--you as a boy, then with your sons, then with your wife, and always the castle shell the same.
And the fish.
I found my Highgate Cemetery photograph book yesterday and thought of you.
I believe carp can live to a grand old age.
Perhaps these really are the same fish I saw 15, 25, 40 years ago.