Posts Tagged ‘Lewis Carroll’

Alice In Wonderland

December 4, 2013

Alice In Wonderland performed by Proteus Theatre Company.

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.

Spring Solstice 2012

March 24, 2012
recently dug vegetable patch

recently dug vegetable patch

bluebells coming into flower

bluebells coming into flower

my garden

my garden

Alice and her sister reading by the riverside

Alice and her sister reading by the riverside

I awoke to a lovely spring day, warm and sunny.

I mowed the grass, finished off digging one of my vegetable patches which I started a couple of weeks ago. Sowed broad beans var Bunyard’s Exhibition (scattered some compost over the row from old compost heap).

Daffodils which were in flower two weeks ago, were still in flower. Bluebells were just starting to come into flower.

Strictly speaking not Spring Solstice, as it was 22 March 2012, but near enough.

The next day it was hot. I went to Guildford and took a photo of Alice and her sister reading by the side of a river as a rabbit ran by and leapt down a hole. The picture was for my lovely Japanese friend Mio who loves Alice in Wonderland.

Lewis Carroll used to live in Guildford with his sisters. He sometimes read the lesson at St Mary’s Church.

Today it looks like another hot day. I think it will be a lazy day in my garden, once the washing is out to dry.

As I write it already 22 C in Wales and expected to hit 23 C!

A picture at an exhibition

March 30, 2011
Rosemary for Remembrance - Ann Sinclair

Rosemary for Remembrance - Ann Sinclair

artists on closing day of U3A art exhibition at Guildford Institute

artists on closing day of U3A art exhibition at Guildford Institute

With apologies to Mussorgsky.

Sometimes a particular picture catches our eye, and so it was for me, one picture out of maybe a hundred caught my eye. It was a strange picture. It clearly had an Alice theme, but with dark Gothic overtones, hints of Edgar Allan Poe. I was intrigued and baffled. Why the cross and open grave as the centre piece of the picture? It was unfortunate the artist had decide to put glass over her painting as the refections made it nigh impossible to see the work. The title of the work, Rosemary for Remembrance, gave not a hint, far from it, as it seemed in no way connected to the painting.

I was in Guildford for the day, or at least lunch and the rest of the day. It was whilst having lunch at the Guildford Institute surrounded by paintings that I spotted this strange painting. It was part of an exhibition by Guildford U3A.

It was an altogether strange Alice cum art cum Paulo Coelho cum Orhan Pamuk day out.

My day started seeing an American lady looking rather lost outside St Mary’s. I stated the obvious that it was locked, and added that sadly it was rarely open. For her it was a pity as she was in Guildford for the day for its Lewis Carroll connections. There must be many disappointed visitors like her. More must be done to keep St Mary’s open. I like to sit in St Mary’s in quiet reflection, when I find it open that is.

I explained a little of the history of St Mary’s, told her Lewis Carroll had a house nearby and gave the occasional sermon in St Mary’s. And I gave her a couple of websites where more information could be found on Lewis Carroll and Guildford. —> Lewis Carroll —> Lewis Carroll —> Guildford

I then had lunch at the Guildford Institute where I spotted the strange painting. It was part of an exhibition by Guildford U3A.

I always pop into the library, a lovely little private library. Chatting to a lady I suggested she read Paulo Coelho. I pulled off the shelves one of his books and gave her websites where she could find more information on the author. —> Paulo Coelho —> Paulo Coelho

Leaving the Guildford Institute I chatted with a lovely young Spanish woman who was a keen fan of Paulo Coelho. I gave her websites where she could find more information. —> Paulo Coelho —> Paulo Coelho

I was then in a bank, more Paulo Coelho fans.

Then a secondhand bookshop where I met a charming Indian who I had never seen before. Any books by Paulo Coelho? Yes. Please show me I said, knowing there were none. Oh, she said, there are none. I then explained I had bought all eight the previous Friday! It turned out she too was a Paulo Coelho fan and she told me that he was a very popular writer in India. She also liked Orhan Pamuk. I was impressed! I gave her websites for more information. —> Paulo Coelho —> Paulo Coelho —> Orhan Pamuk

Fancying a cup of tea I thought I would pop in the little tea shop in Guildford House. It has been closed for weeks if not months. Apart from the Tourist Information that has now relocated to Guildford House it all looked closed, so I inquired, to be told, yes it was open. The tea shop was devoid of customers. Apparently few people had bothered to do as I had and inquired, they had walked past assuming it was closed. I asked had they been compensated for the loss of trade whilst Guildford House was closed. No, was the response, and they had still been charged rent!

Walking down the High Street I chatted with a lady who was just finishing a drawing of the Old Town Hall. She said she would be turning it into a water colour. She had come all the way down from Malvern for the day for this one painting. She showed me a photo of a painting she had done in Oxford the previous day. As she had lost her train times, I gave her my timetable, which I said would give her the times of trains from Guildford to Reading. I gave her a website for information on Guildford. —> Guildford

All in all, a very interesting day.


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.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (illustrated by Robert Ingpen)

July 29, 2010
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I saw this illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Guildford Museum. Unlike the original edition by Lewis Carroll, it did not have the John Tenniel illustrations, instead the illustrations are by Robert Ingpen.

It was an absolute must have.

I was looking at the Lewis Carroll exhibition in Guildford Museum, part of the Curiouser and Curiouser season. I could have picked it up there and then, but I did not wish to carry it around with me all day. A decision I regretted once home.

A week and a half later I was in Guildford for a performances of Alice in Court in the Guildhall, and picked up a copy.

What makes this an absolute must have is the fantastic illustrations by Robert Ingpen. He bases them upon the original John Tenniel illustrations. The only major difference is that Alice is not as we recognize her from John Tenniel, she is more like Alice Liddell as portrayed in the photos taken by Lewis Carroll.

As an added bonus there are a couple of facsimile pages from Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, the handwritten manuscript Lewis Carroll gave to Alice Liddell ‘A Christmas gift to a dear child in memory of a summer day’. The illustrations were by Lewis Carroll himself.

I was though disappointed to find that some of my favorites are missing. Alice hunched up and the White Rabbit scurrying away, drawing to one side a curtain and seeing a small door behind the curtain, to name but two.

A neat touch is Lewis Carroll reading to Alice Liddell, which prefaces the book.

If you have one copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland beside that with the original John Tenniel illustrations, then this is the one to get.

I cannot wait for Through the Looking-Glass.

Also see

And what is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Alice in Court

July 26, 2010
Off with her head!

Off with her head!

At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, called out `Silence!’ and read out from his book, `Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.’ Everybody looked at Alice. `I’m not a mile high,’ said Alice. `You are,’ said the King. `Nearly two miles high,’ added the Queen. `Well, I sha’n’t go, at any rate,’ said Alice: `besides, that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now.’ `It’s the oldest rule in the book,’ said the King. `Then it ought to be Number One,’ said Alice.

The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. `Consider your verdict,’ he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice …

— Lewis Carroll

One of the most famous nay infamous trials in English legal history is when Alice is brought before the Court to determine who stole the tarts.

With three blasts on the trumpet, the White Rabbit unfurled his scroll and read out the accusation:

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!

Courtroom Chaos performed by Powerhouse Theatre Company in the Guildhall in Guildford.

A brilliant performance in the Guildhall of Alice in Court, written and directed by Geoff Lawson, adapted from the courtroom scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It was unfortunate that the performance did not follow the Lewis Carroll text, a pity it only lasted 15 minutes, but nevertheless brilliant. The characterisation of the characters was spot on. The setting, in the Guildhall, could not have been better.

Seeing it performed rather than read, I was very much reminded of classic Morecombe and Wise. I did wonder, what influence was there?

We too easily forget that Lewis Carroll was writing for children. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written for one particular child, Alice Liddell. We have dry academic studies, leaned journals, societies for the studies of Lewis Carroll. Did not Lewis Carroll satirise pedagogues in his writing, and was that not part of the appeal to children?

I was therefore pleased to see that although the audience for Alice in Court comprised mainly adults, there was a few young folk present. Strange that all the girls looked like Alice. I would have liked to have heard their opinion. If reading what has been written, they are more than welcome to leave their comments.

Curiouser and Curiouser (10 July to 9 October 2010), a series of events – talks, walks, exhibitions and performances – to celebrate the lifetime and legacy of Lewis Carroll. Part of the Guildford Summer Festival (18 June to 1 August 2010).

Lewis Carroll lived in Guildford with his sisters and travelled to Oxford on the train.

Powerhouse Theatre Company is a small, Guildford-based theatre company, founded by Geoff Lawson. The actors who performed Alice in Court were from Acting Craft, a ten-week week course run three times a year by Geoff Lawson at the Electric Theatre in Guildford.

Also see

Life of Lewis Carroll in Guildford

Legacy of Lewis Carroll

Tai Chi in the Jabberwocky Maze

I need somebody to love – White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane

July 23, 2010

Two Jefferson Airplane classics at Woodstock (1969)

At a recent meeting of the Lewis Carroll Society, White Rabbit was set to a montage that illustrated the lyrics. [see Legacy of Lewis Carroll]

%d bloggers like this: