Posts Tagged ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’

A Walk with Alice in Looking-Glass Land

July 5, 2013
Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee

I was not sure what to expect. The posters and flyers gave no indication. I asked at the Tourist Information, they were not sure, but thought it was some sort of promenade.

I thus arrived at the Castle Grounds about half an hour before the start none too sure of what to expect. I asked.

It started with a cat explaining we were about to see something, and led us through a mirror, then back to our seats.

Then along came Alice, and beckoned us to follow her. She led us to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

And that was how the evening would progress, we were led here and there through the Castle Grounds.

There was about a dozen of us, maybe a third children. I think from the looks we got from people in the Castle Grounds as this strange motley crew wandered around, thought us all completely mad.

What came across was the brilliance of Lewis Carroll. The performers became almost an irrelevance.

Alice played her part to perfection. My only criticism of Alice, she should have been played by someone much younger, teens or early twenties.

The performance was by The Herald Players, drawing upon Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

The performance finished at 8-30. The Castle Grounds closed at 8-30. When I tried to leave, I find we were locked in. I did though find a way out. But why lock first, the gates nearest the performance?

Friday through to Saturday (not Sunday) in the Castle Grounds. Part of the Guildford Summer Festival.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

April 23, 2013
Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Today, St George’s Day, search for Alice.

First the farmers market, then I got waylaid at Milk & Honey, a lovely little deli cum café on the left hand side of the main entrance into the Castle Grounds in Guildford, then on to find Alice.

I will not say where Alice is located as she is well hidden, but she is there.

The statue of Alice passing through the looking glass was made by Jean Argent in 1990. The statue stands in a very secluded spot, what once was the garden of Castle Gate, the house beyond. If you know where to look, can also be seen Chestnuts, the home of Lewis Carroll and his sisters. In 1871, Lewis Carroll completed Alice Through the Looking Glass whilst at Chestnuts.

Lewis Carroll used to take long walks in the local area. It was whilst on one such long walk came the inspirtaion for The Hunting of the Snark.

Earlier in the day, I had hoped to visit St Mary’s, the church associated with Lewis Carroll, where as an ordained minister he would occasionally preach. It is rarely open, farmers market is one of those rare days when it is open, but they must have forgot today was a special market for St George’s Day, as it was closed.

For my lovely friend Annie.


March 30, 2011


I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!

If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.

If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.

You are old, Father William, your hair has become very white. And yet you incessantly stand on your head – do you think, at your age, it is right?

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

The adventures first… explanations take such a dreadful time.

We are all mad here ( The Cat)

Alice was posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog as his Character of the Week.

Alice is one of my favourite characters in literature, Lewis Carroll a favourite author.

Last summer I took my lovely friend Sian on a Alice day out in Guildford. We went to a dramatisation of the courtroom scene where Alice appears before the Queen of Hearts to determine who stole the tarts, we sat by the river and I read to Sian from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we had afternoon tea and cakes, and as a memento of the day I gave her a beautifully illustrated copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in order that she would always have fond memories of our lovely day out.

Yesterday in Guildford, I had an interesting Alice cum art cum Paulo Coelho cum Orhan Pamuk day out. [see A picture at an exhibition]

Alice and the Red Queen
Alice in Court
And what is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?
Life of Lewis Carroll in Guildford
Legacy of Lewis Carroll

Alice and the Red Queen

February 1, 2011
Alice and the queen

Alice and the queen

In Lewis Carroll’s famous masterpiece “Alice through the Looking Glass,” there is a dialogue between the main character and the Queen, who has just told something quite extraordinary.

– I can’t believe it – says Alice.

– Can’t believe it? – the Queen repeats with a sad look on her face. – Try again: take a deep breath, close your eyes, and believe.

Alice laughs:

– It’s no good trying. Only fools believe that impossible things can happen.

– I think what you need is a little training – answers the Queen. – When I was your age I would practice at least half an hour a day, right after breakfast, I tried very hard to imagine five or six unbelievable things that could cross my path, and today I see that most of the things I imagined have turned real, I even became a Queen because of that.

Life constantly asks us: “believe!” Believing that a miracle can happen at any moment is necessary not only for our happiness but also for our protection, or to justify our existence. In today’s world, many people think it is impossible to put an end to misery, to build a fair society, and to alleviate the religious tension that seems to grow worse every day.

Most people avoid the struggle for a whole variety of reasons: conformism, maturity, the sense of the ridiculous, the feeling of impotence. We see injustice being done to our neighbor and remain silent. “I’m not getting involved in fights for nothing” is the explanation.

This is a cowardly attitude. Whoever travels down a spiritual path carries an honor code to be fulfilled; the voice that is raised against what is wrong is always heard by God.

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Lewis Carroll is one of my favourite writers. He lived in Guildford with his sisters. A cross provided by his sisters can be found in St Mary’s Church in Guildford, a church in which the Rev Charles Dodgson occasionally preached.

Last summer I treated my lovely friend Sian to a special Alice day out in Guildford.

We had a wonderful day out.

We went to an enactment of the courtroom scene, we visited spots associated with Lewis Carroll including his house, we visited a special exhibition on Lewis Carroll and Alice and his links with Guildford, we had lovely afternoon tea at the back of Guildford House, we sat by the river where I read to Sian passages from Alice, much as Alice’s sister had read to Alice and I gave Sian a beautiful illustrated copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Synchronicity: As I sat down to write, I found I had received a request asking me was the house Lewis Carroll shared with his sister open to the public. Sadly not, it is a private house, though I believe they occasionally acceded to special requests.

For my lovely friend Sian.

Note: Alice met two Queens on her travels. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland she meets the Queen of Hearts infamous for ‘Off with her head!’ In Alice Through the Looking Glass she meets the Red Queen with who she has this conversation. The first Queen is a playing card, the second a chess piece. The illustration is of the Queen of Hearts. In the conversation Alice is talking to the Red Queen. The two are often confused, or worse, merged into one.

Tai Chi in the Jabberwocky Maze

July 8, 2010
Tai Chi in the Jabberwocky Maze

Tai Chi in the Jabberwocky Maze

“Few would dispute that Jabberwocky is the greatest of all nonsense poems in English.” — Martin Gardner

“Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas – only I don’t exactly know what they are.” — Alice

“Poor, poor, little Alice! She has not only been caught and made to do lessons; she has been forced to inflict lessons on others.” — G K Chesterton

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

— Lewis Carroll

The Jabberwocky was written by Lewis Carroll to mock pedants. The irony is that this nonsense verse has become much studied by pedants. It was originally featured as a part of his novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1872). Lewis Carroll lived in Guildford with his sisters and travelled to Oxford on the train.

The Jabberwocky Maze is located in Allen House Gardens in Guildford. These tranquil gardens are a hidden gem in Guildford.

I was there early evening passing time before I went to a talk on the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Whilst I was there a church youth group was participating in a surreal game of Find the Leader. A lady painting, only she wasn’t. A man gardening, only he wasn’t. A young lad gardening, only he wasn’t. Tai Chi in the Jabberwocky Maze, only it wasn’t, when actually it was. Somewhat appropriate I thought in the surreal world of Alice.

I stumbled upon Allen House Gardens whilst looking for Eden People who meet in the Allen House Pavilion located in the gardens. I have yet to find them in situ. I did though find the Allen House Pavilion left unlocked. I locked it and left as my calling card a copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. My good deed done for the day!

Within Allen House Gardens is the entrance to a ‘secret’ WWII underground bunker built to protect the select few during WWII.

Synchronicity: Earlier in the day I had travelled to Guildford by train with a friend. On arrival we walked along the River Wey where I showed him on the river bank Alice reading with her sister and a rabbit disappearing down a rabbit hole. We then walked up the High Street to the farmers market (first Tuesday of the month) and went our separate ways. Alice and the rabbit were alongside where I was going that evening for a talk on The History of the Pilgrimage to Compostela. From where I was sitting I could see Alice and the rabbit.

Of course as we are all well aware, Alice novels are not fiction at all but encoded reports detailing the existence of another plane of reality! Hints of which we glimpse through examples of synchronicity!

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