Cheltenham, Mumbai and Jeremy Irons at Burnt Norton
Since my last post I have spoken at the Cheltenham Literature Festival with Sofka Zinovieff, another writer inspired by her “Inspirational House”. This was to a packed audience with loads of books sold. The buzz of Cheltenham is amazing. There is a huge tent for authors and you are given a wristband allowing you entry into any of the talks. I have to say it was wonderful being amongst some of the most creative writers in the world.
In December I was flown to India to speak at the Times Mumbai Literature Festival. My talk here was under the title ‘House as Hero’ and it was to a large and I think interested audience of Indians who, like so much of the world, adore Downton Abbey. Esther Freud, the actress, writer, and daughter of Lucian Freud read the poem by TS Eliot ‘Burnt Norton’ so it was a two-woman act! India is an extraordinary, vibrant and intriguing country. I will certainly be going there again.
With several festivals, and talks in between, one of the highlights of my year was to have been Jeremy Irons at Burnt Norton. First I gave a talk about the history of Burnt Norton. I hate to sound like a lovestruck teenager but Jeremy Irons actually asked me questions. Then in his exquisite, melodic voice – looking and sounding just like his character Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited – he read the Four Quartets.
I have done several episodes of ‘Flog It’ talking about the history of Sandon Hall, my husbands Staffordshire home, and last month I was interviewed for an American Travel programme, both of which will be aired this autumn.
Nearly up to date but last weekend I spoke at the Curious Arts Festival. It was a combination of music and literature, with so many amazing artists. My favorite had to be Lynn Barber, a journalist who started her working life as a journalist for Penthouse. She was quite happy to divulge her own quite steamy secrets, and considering she is in her seventies it was quite a reveal. Brilliant.
So a more detailed blog will follow but this is just to keep you up to date.