Thursday, 22 April 2010

downton abbey









































justthoughtsnstuff.com is the blog of novelist Frank Egerton. www.frankegerton.com

Returned to Bampton this afternoon because I don't start working with Stanford students until next Thursday. Beautiful day to be at home. Before tackling library and Writers in Oxford things (the latter being the forthcoming joint WiO and Oxford branch of the Society of Authors party), I nipped round to the church square to check out the filming that I'd been alerted to by someone on the bus.

ITV are making part of a new Julian Fellowes series called Downton Abbey, which is set in Edwardian England and stars Dame Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville. The press release reads, 'The sun is rising behind Downton Abbey, a great and splendid house in a great and splendid park. So secure does it appear, that it seems as if the way of life it represents will last for another thousand years. It won’t.'

Well, be that as it may, I didn't actually get to see Dame Maggie or the estimable Hugh but was intrigued by the extra pubs and shops that had been created out of homes that used to be--well, pubs and shops, as it happens. There were also numerous horse-drawn vehicles and ancient cars and lorries parked up. It was a kid's dream.

Then there were the extras and masses of people, some in fluorescent coats, wielding mobiles or walkie-talkies. Nothing seemed very urgent, though, and it made me realise just how much standing about there is on a film set.

This evening, after I'd spent a couple of hours contributing to the online course, we drove over to Kelmscott for a pint at the Plough, which opened last autumn after having been closed for two years. It was badly affected by the disastrous floods of summer 2007 (200 homes in Bampton flooded). I have to say, the pub is fantastic (see below)--even better than it was before. A nice drop of Brakspear's too.

A fine place, in the light of yesterday's post, to contemplate the legacy of the great William Morris whose manor is a few hundred yards up the road.




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