Monday, 23 April 2012

Festival fun

Brympton House, location of the festival - gorgeous building
I spent Sunday at the Brympton Festival near Yeovil. It was an interesting experience. This was the first attempt at this festival and inevitably the organizers were on a bit of a learning curve. It was a lovely venue and a very warm and friendly experience (the festival is still running until Thursday with some excellent speakers to come, so do get along if you can). And, unusually for such events, there was brilliant food. But the organisation was a bit mixed - part of the problem being, I think that the programme was too complicated and also because day ticket holders don't seem to have had to pre-book events, meaning the organisers had no idea who would turn up at any particular talk.

Numbers were quite low overall, and I did wonder just how many literary festivals the UK can support - I would say this one deserves to keep going more than a fair number of festivals that I have attended, but there has to be a point where festival fatigue sets in.

Because the venue was so unique (it's worth going just to see the house) I do want to just reflect on the remarkable opportunity to experience life as it was in a great house 100 years ago. The speakers' hideaway room was a remarkable drawing room. It must have been about 20 feet high and at least 30 feet square. As far as I could detect, the only heat came from the roaring fire in the sizable fireplace.
The speaker's drawing room

This led to the bit that was fascinating - the realization that in a big house in Victorian times it was COLD. Sitting on the sofa on the left of the photo (that's my book), fairly near the fire, I was just about okay. But I still felt the need to occasionally come close to the fire and warm various bits - in fact I recreated that traditional Victorian image of standing in front of the fire warming up. They really did have to do it.

For me, it was worth going for this experience alone. (Not to mention a toilet that Queen Victoria would have recognized.) Lovely.





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