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January 14, 2017

Quirky Travel Poem: The Owl and the Pussy Cat

Quirky Travel Poem: The Owl and the Pussy Cat
The owl and the pussycat Ian beck

Oh, to go to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat … The classic children’s poem, The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, has been a family favourite for many years; I used to read it to my son, Alex, at bedtime. It weaves its quirky magic in every line, taking us on an extraordinary journey to an imaginary land, ‘where the Bong Tree grows’. It’s got everything we could wish for in life: adventure, food and drink, money, music, dance and romance. It’s also stars two of our favourite creatures, an owl and a pussycat, plus a pig and a turkey.

A Book of Nonsense (c. 1875 James Miller edition) by Edward Lear

A Book of Nonsense (c. 1875 James Miller edition) by Edward Lear

In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks. In 1871 he published Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets, which included his most famous nonsense song, The Owl and the Pussycat. It was either written for his patron, the Earl of Derby’s daughter OR three-year-old Janet Symonds, daughter of Lear’s friend, poet John Addington Symonds. The term runcible, used for the phrase “runcible spoon”, was invented for the poem.’ (The Owl and the PussycatWikipedia)

The Owl and the Pussycat -Edward Lear illustration

The Owl and the Pussycat – Edward Lear illustration

Many artists have illustrated the poem since it was published in 1871, including Lear himself. He was a talented artist and became an ‘ornithological draughtsman‘ getting work with the Zoological Society and then from 1832 to 1836 with the Earl of Derby, who kept a private menagerie at his estate. We have a beautifully illustrated version by Ian Beck (see above). His brightly coloured paintings bring this charming nonsense poem alive in a delightful way. (We also have anohter Ian Beck illustrated Lear poem – see The Jumblies). Read the poem and remind yourself of Lear’s literary quirkiness!

The Owl and the Pussycat - illustration by Toadbriar

The Owl and the Pussycat – illustration by Toadbriar

The Owl and the Pussycat


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Edward Lear 1812 – 1888
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear - illustrator LoneAnimator

The Owl and the Pussycat – illustrator LoneAnimator

July 13, 2016

‘Oh, the places you’ll go!’ Life’s adventure with Dr Seuss

‘Oh, the places you’ll go!’ Life’s adventure with Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss Oh the places you'll go

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

The opening words of ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’, a delightful little book by Dr Seuss, are positive and life-affirming. They also epitomize the philosophy of many of us who choose to set off to Great Places as often as we possibly can. These places may be real; a holiday on a sun-kissed island like Menorca, a trek through the Australian Bush, a train journey through the Swiss Alps, a boat trip to watch bears in Canada or a meander beside an English lake. But they could equally be places we go metaphorically. The word ‘journey’ is hugely overused these days, but life really is a journey, with all the attendant ups and downs that any literal journey brings …

‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ is advice to a young boy who leaves home to explore the world. He’s told that he’s in charge of his own life and can make his own decisions on what direction to his journey will take.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

The book, written as a poem, takes the lad through highs and lows, assuring him that, ‘You’ll be on your way up, You’ll be seeing great sights, You’ll join the high fliers who soar to the heights.’  But then there are the lows and attendant problems.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

We’re all familiar with the ‘Waiting Place’ where people are just,

Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting …

Escaping from this dreary place, the boy is told he’ll escape to find the, bright places where Boom Bands are playing’ and he’ll ride high. And so he will go on, becoming successful and seeming to have everything in life until one day, whether he likes it or not, ‘Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.’ It’s very unusual for a children’s book, for that is what ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ was written as, to address loneliness. Yet that is something most of us will experience at some time in our lives, and some people are lonely a lot of the time.

All Alone from Oh the places you'll go by Dr Seuss

However, in the realistic but upbeat tone of the book, Dr Seuss says he will overcome the things that scare him right out of his pants, in spite of getting mixed up with ‘strange birds’ and the ‘frightening creek’. Through it all he’s counselled to, ‘Step with great care and great tact’, and to remember that ‘Life’s a Great Balancing Act’. The story ends with these positive words,


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So … get on your way!

Dr Seuss Oh the places you'll go - book

So, what are you waiting for? Today is YOUR day, your mountain is waiting … now get on your way 🙂

May 2, 2016

On seeing ‘Nocturnal Rainbows in the English Lakes’

On seeing ‘Nocturnal Rainbows in the English Lakes’
Seven Nocturnal Rainbows - Lakes Ignite - zoedawes

Nocturnal Rainbow on Coniston

“If a picture paints a thousand words
Then why can’t I paint you?”

David Gates, BREAD

Those were the words that came into my head as I tried to photo over 200 coloured LED lanterns slowly drifting across Coniston Water in the springtime dusk. Looming over the lake, the Old Man of Coniston, snow-freckled and shadowy, provided an impressive backdrop to this impossible-to-capture picture. I realised it was futile, put down my camera and sat back on the rocky lakeshore, to enjoy this unusual spectacle. (The blurry photos are just to give you a very vague idea of what it was like.)

Created by Charles Monkhouse, Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakesis one of three special artworks commissioned by Lakes Culture for the Cumbria Arts Festival called Lakes Ignite 2016. Charles took his inspiration from the poets and artists of the Lake District, in particular  ‘A Shower’ by JMW Turner, showing an arcing rainbow over darkling Buttermere. I was fortunate to be invited to the launch on April 30th.

Ready for Nocturnal Rainbows over Coniston - Lakes Ignite - zoedawes

Ready for Nocturnal Rainbows over Coniston

At about 8pm we wandered down Brantwood Meadow to the edge of Coniston as the sun set and the Lakeland fells came into sharp relief. Birds choralled their evensong and a dog barked excitedly but was quickly shushed by its owner. In the distance a small boat puttered about and the first of the lights gradually appeared. Chairs were unfolded, rugs laid across laps, children hoisted onto shoulders and an air of quiet anticipation flowed through the crowd.

Watching Nocturnal Rainbows Coniston Lakes Ignite - zoedawes

Watching Nocturnal Rainbows

Red lights were slowly joined by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, a vivid illumination of that childhood rainbow mnemonic, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.’  People talked in undertones; somehow no-one wanted to disturb the mesmerising spectacle unfolding in front of us. A bat swooped across the water and a boy crouched down to peer into the pebbled shallows. Serious photographers checked lenses and adjusted tripods, hoping  to capture the nocturnal rainbows before they faded again.

Lakes Ignite Seven Nocturnal Rainbows - zoedawes

Capturing Nocturnal Rainbows

As the night turned electric blue, the gently bobbing line stretched out across the lake, sending streams of colour into its depths. Perchance the spirit of Donald Campbell was enjoying the show as much as those on the shore. Coniston village opposite twinkled; some may have seen the rainbow and wondered if water sprites were having a party …

Seven Noctural Rainbows Coniston - zoedawes

Noctural Rainbows Coniston

After half an hour or so the lights started to disappear, the violet ones going first. People slowly came back to reality, expressing pleasure at such a sensory treat. My amateurish photographs could not capture the beauty of this experience, but that is fine, for it was its gradual unfolding, transient nature that made it so special. Unlike a painting or sculpture that lasts, this is a truly unique artwork, ever-changing, dependant on its setting, the weather and the eye of the beholder. Charles Monhouse’s Nocturnal Rainbows are appearing on Coniston, Ullswater and Grasmere until May 6th. If you get the chance, take an hour or so to visit the English Lakes and enjoy them. Hopefully, Turner would greatly approve of this tribute to his art …

Lakes Ignite 2016

Lakes Ignite 2016

Lakes Ignite 2016

From April 30 to May 22nd Cumbria and the Lake District host numerous cultural events and exhibitions for Lakes Ignite 2016. Two more specially commissioned pieces are Museum of Water by Amy Shorrocks and 21st Century Landscape Art Class by digital artist Joseph Connor. Others include Rembrandt’s ‘Self Portrait at 63’ (get up close) at Abbot Hall, Kendal, Romance and Realism – Beatrix Potter; a life inspired by Nature (charming original illustrations) at the NT Hawkshead Gallery, Laura Ford ‘Seen and Unseen sculptures at Blackwell Arts and Crafts House (spookily unnerving), the Go Herdwick Art Trail (family fun finding these sheep dotted around south lakes), the Freerange Comedy Festival (still some tickets left) at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, From Fjords to Fells at Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere (very good art shop too) and Design for Life (quirkily contemporary) at Brantwood. Find out more about Lakes Culture here.

June 28, 2015

Paloma Faith wows at the ASUS Eden Sessions

Paloma Faith wows at the ASUS Eden Sessions
Paloma Faith at Eden Project - photo The Eden Sessions Twitter

Paloma Faith at Eden Project – photo @TheEdenSessions


“We’re here at the Eden Project and we’re ready to go! I’m completely blown away by this place. Met Tim Smit today – what a guy. This place is the future …”  There was no doubting the enthusiasm of quirky songstress Paloma Faith for her ASUS Eden Sessions concert in the unique setting of the Eden Project. Nor was there any doubt about the welcome she was given by the 6000 of us who enjoyed her music so much on a clear June night in Cornwall.

Paloma Faith and band ASUS Eden Sessions Eden Project

Paloma Faith and band – ASUS Eden Sessions

Paloma belted out many of her hits from the past six years, accompanied by two fab backing singers dressed in 1950s frocks, and a splendid band. She wore a gorgeous Nicolas Jebran mini-dress which seemed to be made from thousands of sequins and flourescent orange bands that glittered and shone as she danced around the stage.

Paloma Faith - Eden Sessions Concert

Paloma Faith – photo Eden Sessions

Before the evening kicked off I went into the Arena for a pre-concert interview about the new ASUS Transformer Book Chi, the Eden Project and Paloma Faith. ASUS, a computer hardware and electronics company, is sponsoring the Eden Sessions and had invited four of us ‘lifestyle’ bloggers to the concert.

We had to move from the Arena when the Eden Sessions’ first act, Liam Bailey, started his sound checks and it got a bit noisy. My video interview took place in the quietest corner we could find in the Eden Project! I talked about the versatility and elegance of the ASUS Chi. I’ve got the 10″ version so it’s easy to carry about, has a really strong aluminium body, is extremely thin and looks very stylish.

ASUS Transformer Book Chi Zoe Dawes

ASUS Transformer Book Chi

However, its best feature is that the screen splits from the keyboard so it can be used EITHER as a laptop OR a tablet. For a blogger this a real advantage; tablets are all very well but it’s not easy write at length on them. I’m getting into making short videos so the camera is a big plus as is the large memory (64GB), perfect for storing lots of photos and videos.

ASUS Eden Sessions interviews with Zoe Dawes

Video interviews before and after ASUS Eden Sessions

Once the interview was over, we had a delicious dinner in the Med Terrace Restaurant and then out into the arena for the concert. As you can imagine, the front area was heaving so a few of us pushed our way towards the back where the raised bank meant we got a great view. I’m not a huge fan of big crowds, but everyone was really friendly, all ages and just out for a good  time.

Eden Sessions audience Paloma Faith concert

Eden Sessions audience

Singer-songwriter Paloma Faith, from East London, was named Best Female Solo Artist at the BRIT Awards this year. Her 3rd album, A Perfect Contradiction, got to number two in the UK charts and went double-platinum. Her distinctive voice had been compared with classic soul singers such as Etta James and Billie Holiday, as well as more contemporary artists like Adele and Amy Winehouse.

Paloma Faith singing Eden Sessions

Paloma Faith – photo Eden Sessions

Her most successful song, ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’ took on a huge resonance as thousands sand along and she threw her powerful voice into the sky and brought us all to a resounding climax … (If you haven’t seen her wonderfully steamy video, have a look here.)

I loved her joie de vivre, (belied by the rather poignant lyrics of some of her songs) and she connected to the audience with her humour and obvious delight at performing in this unique concert venue. Singing ‘Can’t Rely On You’ she changed the lyrics to, ‘We’re at the Eden Project, we can rely on you’  and as evening got darker, the huge Biomes behind the stage lit up and changed colour in time to the music. Magical …

Eden Sessions Biomes and Paloma Faith

Eden Project Biomes lit up at night

She finished off the night with a wonderful version of ‘Take Me’ and the resounding applause at the end showed we’d all taken her to our hearts. A fantastic evening of superb musicianship in an exceptional setting – to paraphrase Paloma, that’s The Truth AND Something Beautiful …

Paloma Faith in concert at Eden Sessions

Paloma Faith in concert at Eden Sessions


Here’s the video we recorded that evening – hope you enjoy it 🙂

I stayed onsite at the YHA Eden Project in one of their ‘Snoozeboxes’, which are containers converted into comfortable en-suite bedrooms, about 15 minutes’ walk from the main entrance.

YHA Eden Project Cornwall - Zoe Dawes

YHA Eden Project Cornwall

It’s excellent value and ideal for a night or two so you can enjoy the concert and have plenty of time to explore the Eden Project at your leisure.

June 16, 2015

Plan your trip to France the easy way

Plan your trip to France the easy way

My very first trip to France was with school to Paris many years ago, where the boys went off and got drunk in a bar that was perfectly happy to serve 15 and 16 year olds. The girls kept wandering off to look in shops and giggle at the handsome French guys. The teachers struggled to herd pupils round sights they weren’t that bothered about seeing and at night went to each other’s rooms to drink cheap plonk and try to unwind … I know that because I was one of those teachers and I vowed one day to return to Paris and see the sights properly, without playing the role of reluctant sheep dog.


Eiffel Tower – photo

It was 20 years before I got back to Paris and this time we did all the sights without student distraction. The Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre, the Tuilleries Gardens, Notre Dame and even out to the glorious Palace of Versailles – all magical and beautiful even with lots of other tourists around. Another time we took the car over and explored charming Northern France, with its lush pasturelands and historic towns. More recently I went to see World War One sites in the footsteps of WW1 poet Wilfred Owen.

wilfred owen house maison forestiere france

Wilfred Owen Maison Forestiere

If you plan a trip to France, you may be wondering how on earth to organise what to see, when to go and where to stay in such a diverse and big country. There are lots of guidebooks and websites, blogs and articles for you to trawl through, but ideally what you want is a one-stop solution, where everything you need to know is all in one place. Well, I came across recently and it’s perfect for planning every aspect of a trip to France, whether it’s French chateaux, ancient cathedrals or to follow the Tour de France.

Chateau la Rochefoucauld - photo

Chateau la Rochefoucauld – photo

As well as lots of information on all the regions of France, it’s a goldmine of practical and cultural tips to help make the best use of time on holiday. Other plus points include:

  • Complete, detailed content for tourists covering the whole country;
  • Daily updates in cooperation with official organisations;
  • Multiple illustrations and virtual tours;
  • Easy planning with creation of tailor-made itineraries and mini-guidebooks;
  • Ease of access via an intuitive, user-friendly interface that works on all devices, from smartphones to desktop computers;
  • Geolocated, personalised mobile interface;
  • Multilingual information giving easy access to foreign tourists;
  • Completely free for holidaymakers.
Cannes beach, cote d'azur, france

Cannes beach – photo

My favourite trip to France was staying with my boyfriend on a yacht in Cannes; we spent three weeks exploring the south of France. Antibes, St Tropez, Villefranche, Monaco – evocative names on the French Riviera. The smell of lavender takes me back immediately to that lovely holiday. I’m hoping to return for a long weekend on the Côte d’Azur in the autumn  so decided to use the site to plan a long weekend in the Alpes Maritime. As a foodie I love the tips on regional food as well as recommendations for places to eat and drink. There are helpful suggestions for coastal and inland walks and so much info on each village and town that I think we’re going to need a lot more than a weekend to see it all.

villefranche-sur-mer cote d'azur france

Villefranche sur mer – photo

This article was written in collaboration with

March 23, 2015

A luxurious Shepherd’s Hut in the heart of Northumberland

A luxurious Shepherd’s Hut in the heart of Northumberland

There are some places that are hard to find. There are some places that are hard to find and when you do, you wish you hadn’t bothered. And there are some places that are hard to find and when you do, you wish you’d never leave. That was how I felt when I stayed in a quirky little shepherd’s hut in the heart of Northumberland.

Posh Hut - Falstone

PoSHHut – Falstone

The luxurious comforts of PoSHHuts make for a very relaxing stay. Inside each of these charming shepherd’s huts there’s a compact kitchen, well-kitted out with cooking equipment, next to a shower room with stylish fittings. In the corner stands the smallest, brightest wood burning stove you ever did see.  To the left a wooden table and chairs and above, a sparkling chandelier. Taking up the rest of the space is a comfy king-size bed looking out across the Northumberland countryside and a sparkling river.

Bed in Posh Hust Falstone - image Zoe Dawes

Bed with a view

Posh Huts shoes and boots

Posh Huts shoes and boots

According to PoSHHuts, ‘Traditionally, the shepherd’s hut was used in the 19th and early 20th century as a moveable home to allow the shepherd to keep an eye on his flock during lambing and summer grazing. Often these huts were cobbled together from sheets of spare corrugated tin and timber sat upon a set of cast iron wheels. Inside, the huts were Spartan but practical with a stove for heating and cooking and a bed to retire too after a hard day in the fields.’

They’ve taken the basic principles of the traditional shepherd’s hut – and ramped up the glamour to a whole new level! Every inch a traditional shepherd’s hut from the outside and every inch a luxury retreat in the inside.

Posh Huts is in the tiny hamlet of Falstone in Northumberland National Park. Falstone has a pub, church and local shop to stock up on essentials. This wonderful hide-away is the ultimate in glamping, perfect for a romantic break or a bit of self-indulgence. The Shepherd’s Huts are next to luxurious Falstone Barn self-catering apartments, popular for groups on weekend escapes and weddings.

Posh Huts and Falstone Barn

Posh Huts and Falstone Barn

There’s plenty to see and do in the area including  water sports on Kielder Water. It’s geat walking country and Kielder Castle (actually a hunting lodge) has displays of local interest. See if you can go on a nightime visit to Kielder Observatory . This area has been given Gold Tier Dark Sky Park status by the International Dark Skies Association.

Kielder Observatory Dark Skies Northumberland

Kielder Observatory Dark Skies

A little further afield you’ll find the big city lights of Newcastle and Gateshead and the stunning Northumberland coast if you fancy a day out on the beach.

Bamburgh Castle and Beach

Bamburgh Castle and Beach

I stayed at PoSHHuts when researching for Laterooms 52 Sleeps where you can lots of other unique places to stay around the UK for 52 weeks of the year. And hopefully one day you too can experience the quirkilicious pleasure of staying in a shepherd’s hut far from that madding crowd …

PoSH Huts Falstone Northumberland


June 3, 2014

Postman Pat returns home to Kendal

Postman Pat returns home to Kendal

OK, I’d better fess up straight away. I was at the Gala Premiere of  ‘Postman Pat: The Movie’ at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, in the midst of a horde of tiny tots straining their little necks to get a glimpse of an enormous figure in a (glitzy?) blue uniform holding tight to a black and white cat, whilst chatting to an elderly man who today was mostly wearing ‘shabby-chic’.  BUT I wasn’t really here to see them …

Postman Pat meets John Cunliffe at Kendal Brewery Arts Centre

Postman Pat meets John Cunliffe

Postman Pat had returned to Kendal, in Cumbria, NW England and was meeting his creator, John Cunliffe, who wrote the whimsical tales when he was a teacher at Castle Park Primary School.  Set in fictional ‘Greendale Valley’ the area is actually based on Longsleddale, near Kendal, right on the edge of the beautiful Lake District.  However, dear reader, if you look very carefully at the guy with his back to us, half-hidden between these two figures, you will discover the REAL reason I was here.  You see, the cartoon film is voiced by some very well-known names, including David Tennant, Jim Broadbent, Rupert Grint  and Ronan Keating, but the main attraction for me, and many others at this launch, was gorgeous, quirky, floppy-haired Stephen Mangan, who IS Postman Pat.

Stephen Mangan at launch of Postman Pat: The Movie, Kendal Brewery Arts Centre. Photo by Zoe Dawes

Stephen Mangan at launch of Postman Pat: The Movie

Yes, this charming, funny, slightly geeky in a sexy way, Hollywood movie star actor had come all the way to the ‘Auld Grey Toon’ to share in the fun that was this very English film premiere.   I got right up close to him – and he’s a lovely in the flesh as he is on screen!  He spent absolutely ages with the audience, many of whom I suspect shared my own ‘interest’ in him, though of course there were loads of kiddies who had no idea who he was, and were most definitely there to see PP and Jess.  He happily signed autographs, posed for photos and chatted with all and sundry.

Stephen Mangan signs autographs at launch of Postman Pat: Th emovie, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

Stephen Mangan signing autographs

One teenage boy nearly fainted with delight when the actor signed his shirt.  “Oh my God. Stephen Mangan’s signed my shirt. I can die happy!”

Stephen Mangan signing fan's shirt at Postman Pat: The Movie premiere Kendal - photo Zoe Dawes

Stephen Mangan signing fan’s shirt

I always enjoy going to the Brewery Arts Centre. It’s a  magnet for the creative arts and has a really varied programme throughout the year.  The Freerange Comedy Festival, Kendal Beer Festival, the Mountain Fest and a wide range of live performances, from their very popular Youth Arts group, dance, adult education classes,  comedy, music plus a great cafe, bar and restaurant ensure its popularity with all ages.

Brewery Arts Centre Kendal

Brewery Arts Centre Kendal

Author John Cunliffe was being interviewed by the press, national as well as local, including the BBC.  He seemed delighted to be here and pointed up to the Brewery Bar saying,, “That’s where I used to write my stories.  It’s bringing back lots of memories.”  When asked what he thought about a movie being made of his most popular characters, he replied, “It’s great.  I hope a new generation of children get to love him all over again.”   John Cunliffe also wrote delightful ‘Rosie and Jim’.  The stories were made into a a very popular TV series, set on a real canal boat and he appeared in the series too.

John Cunliffe author of Postman Pat at the movie premiere Kendal Brewery Arts Centre. Photo Zoe Dawes

John Cunliffe

I managed to grab a quick word with Kendal’s Mayor, Sylvia Emmott, who was introducing the film. “I’m so proud of the Brewery for hosting this film premiere. It’s lovely to see John Cunliffe returning with Postman Pat and so many people coming along on this sunny day.  When we get a star like Stephen Mangan to visit it’s a real treat and  we can showcase what a great place Kendal is.”

Kendal Mayor at Postman Pat movie premiere - photo Zoe Dawes

Kendal Mayor at Postman Pat movie premiere

It was being shown in the Brewery Cinema and we were all given a goodie bag which I was delighted to see had a big bag of toffee popcorn – my favourite cinema treat.  After the Mayor had a few words she introduced Stephen Mangan to the audience who said how delighted he was to be in Kendal and to meet John Cunliffe, who was in the audience.  Then Postman Pat came on, to great applause, whoops and cheers from the audience.

Postman Pat and Stephen Mangan at fiolm premiere Kendal - photo Zoe Dawes

Two superstars – Postman Pat and Stephen Mangan

The film was a bit disappointing for me, but then I am ever so slightly over the target audience age.  But I am not sure it knows quite what its audience age is …  My son used to love the books and TV series with the cast of loveable characters.  Many of them, including Mrs Goggins the postmistress, PC Selby, Major Forbes, the farmer and others appear but so does a wicked new boss, an obnoxious TV Talent Show host called Simon Cowbell, a host of scary Patbot 3000′ robots and terrifying metallic cat called ‘Jess’.  Imagine iRobot crossed with Wallace and Gromit’s ‘The Wrong Trousers’ crossed with X-Factor and you get the idea.

Postman Pat Robot 'Patbot 3000' from the movie

‘Patbot 3000’

The majority of the very young members of the audience seemed rather scared and the parents vaguely distressed that this charming tale has been hijacked by script writers who felt the need to take a simple tale of country folk and give it a 21st century spin.  However, I expect children,  above toddler age will think it’s great …

As I left the Cinema the image that stayed with me was of John Cunliffe waving goodbye to his most famous creation.  Whatever he made of the film, I am sure he enjoyed the premiere and the affection that was shown to him by everyone there.

John Cunliffe waves goodbye to Postman Pat

Oh, and if you are a fan of Stephen Mangan, you can him in Episodes on BBC at the moment 🙂

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