My life is being completely dominated by Olympic fever at the moment so it is difficult to write about anything else (especially after such a wonderful weekend of medal after medal for Team GB!). However, I am going to try! After a trip to the Olympic Park to see Hockey on Saturday (still sporting my patriotic nails and shoes!), we went to a rare opening of Gad’s Hill on Sunday. Gad’s Hill Place was Charles Dickens’ beloved house in the country and the place he died.
Earlier this year, I read Claire Tomalin’s excellent biography of Dickens as I knew relatively little about him. I’d really recommend it as a very readable introduction to Dickens’ life. A picture of a complicated character emerged – not always terribly likeable, but certainly interesting. That book was very useful background for this visit as it helped me appreciate my visit to Gad’s Hill properly I think, knowing how important it was to him. A plaque on the wall outside his study was particularly poignant I thought.
Dickens was proud of the house’s Shakespeare connections – Gad’s Hill is the site of Sir John Falstaff’s historic robbery and this leads me nicely onto my Shakespeare challenge for the remainder of the year… I mentioned in a previous post (here) that I was going to read one new (to me) Shakespeare play per month as there were significant gaps in my knowledge I feel I need to rectify. I am going to start with the history plays and so stay tuned for some more Falstaff in September!