Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


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.

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