Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Proper Family Christmas

When we were children, a film company used our house as a location for 'Seance on a Wet Afternoon', starring Richard Attenborough and Kim Stanley. By pure coincidence my mother used to know Kim but had lost touch, so they were delighted to find each other again. Pinewood Studios had rented a place for her beside the River Thames at Bray, and we went and stayed there one weekend. It was a modern house, built in the grounds of an amazing, almost derelict mansion, which we came upon when we went for a little explore. Apparently it was lived in by one old man, and was so spooky it had been used for horror films. Years later, when I wrote 'A Proper Family Christmas', this was the house I had in mind. And - good old internet - I was able to find out what the house looks like now. Converted into a posh hotel, not surprisingly. Perhaps I'll wait till I'm a bit more famous as a writer before going in there and telling them the story - and trying to bum a free meal.
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  1. How clear a picture did you have of it after all those years? Was it just a vague memory which gave you the general outline of the location for the book, or was it more precise than that?

  2. It was more the existence of the house, and the excitement of coming across it when we were exploring. I was very amused to find the 'real thing'. In fact it's much too grand to be William's in my book, which is rather more like our house in Wimbledon.


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