My very first! 

(And I met an actor who was in The Lord of the Rings films, so with that literary connection, I figured it’s good enough to blog about.) 😁

Okay! So at the weekend I went to Bournemouth Film and Comic Con. (I got the ticket as part of my Christmas present, so have been waiting for EVER to go) and the weeks leading up to it were spent going on the website to check out the guest list. Which was addictive, and mostly consisted of me going ‘who?’ ‘Who’s that?’ ‘Never heard of him.’ A bit disappointing, but saved me spending a fortune on signatures. 

I think they’ve only had two cons there in the past, so not sure what the turnout was like before…but I’ve seen pics (probably from the first), where the lobby was bustling with people. Now I’m not a huge fan of crowds, but I like a decent amount of people to invoke a bit of atmosphere. Maybe it’s because I had an early bird ticket…but I walked in an it was close to deserted. The impressive Crowd Shot I had planned didn’t happen, because they simply weren’t there!

It wasn’t deserted though, and all the extra space let us check out every stall for as long as we liked. (Until eleven, when they’d let the next wave in.) And I wasnt nieve enough to wait before buying something, and come back for it later, especially if there was only one of something, and it was five to eleven! Which is how I came to buy Squirrel Girl – my absolute favourite purchase of the day. 

What do you think? Cute, right?

Early entry meant not hanging around in long queues where the guests were seated (throughout the whole day I think the longest queue I saw consisted of less than ten people). My first stop was – Dave Prowse! But he wasn’t there yet, so…John Rhys-Davies! Who is such a nice guy. Really friendly and chatty, you end up an even bigger fan after meeting him in person. Those were the only two I knew. A good way to stop me spending more money lol.

Check it out! Darth Vader and Gimli. What a pair.

I also went to John’s talk, which was great. He mentioned his own struggle and failure to read TLOTR. (You have to admire the irony), and I was happy not being the only one who couldn’t get into them!

Despite having paid fifty five pounds on autographs, I wanted to “buy all the things” (direct quote), but perhaps it should have been ‘spend all the money,’ because that’s exactly what I did. Hopefully next time I won’t get so carried away. 🙈 #NoShame 

But it was such a good day, with a fun atmosphere, and I think we were there for…five hours? Maybe a bit more? Considering it’s only two rooms that’s quite good going, and the time went fast. Now I’m looking forward to going to another one, and at some point the one on London. Been wanting to go there for years!


Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum



Over a (mostly) sunny bank holiday weekend, I spent a day in Portsmouth to pay a visit to the Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum. I do love a good museum trip, especially one of a prominent literary figure! Similar to Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, it was all small rooms and creaky floorboards. Actually, smaller rooms with nothing but creaky floorboards! The house is furnished in the Regency style his parents would have furnished the house in, with a few Dickens-owned articles including his snuff box (made from a deer foot, would you believe) and the couch where he died. 😦




The house may be more of a time capsule for the early 19th century, as it was his parents’ house (they moved elsewhere a year after Charles was born), there are enough things from Charles’s later years to make it worth a look around. Access to the museum is through the kitchen (now the gift shop), still with the original Victorian range cooker and shelving unit that can’t be removed, as it’s built into the wall. Upstairs leads to the other rooms, which include a decorated parlour, dining room and bedroom that offer an atmosphere of the time period. The exhibition room (with the couch), is dedicated to displays and information relating to Dickens’ work and illustrators (with crazy rap star nicknames like ‘Kyd’ and ‘Phiz’ (to match Dickens’ pen-name ‘Boz,’ apparently.)


The Parlour


‘Reading to his Daughters’
1. Rent book   2. Lorgnette  3. Ring  4. Snuff Box  5. Waistcoat Buttons  6. Cheque  7. Lock of his hair  8. Carte de Visite photographs

Despite its size though, we managed to spend a good hour there, possibly more considering the time we took in the gift shop (and I do love a good gift shop!) As it stands, I’ve only read one Dickens novel. Great Expectations – from either secondary school or college, with the standard knowledge of Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol that film and TV provide. As it was Dickens’ first published novel, I wanted to get a copy of The Pickwick Papers from the gift shop (alright, it was mostly because of the cool sounding title) but where books are concerned, I refuse to buy those with real-life people depicted the cover. I just find them kind of tacky. So, a little disappointed, I scoured the shelves for something else (I was NOT leaving without having purchased a book), and decided on The Old Curiosity Shop. As far as wanting to read more classics go, it definitely goes some way to filling the quota.

Check out that bookmark…made of silk, don’t you know.

I believe there are other parts of Portsmouth with links to Dickens, but within the town itself, we ventured as far as Guildhall for a quick pic of the first large-scale public statue of the man himself, which was unveiled in 2014 for his 202nd birthday. Intriguing to know what else the city has to offer regarding his life and works (especially as it’s right on the doorstep), his birthplace museum is definitely the place to start for anyone wanting to get a feel for the time period of his life and writing, or who is thinking of exploring the work of one of England’s best-loved writers.

Check out the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum Here




Chawton Vintage Fair

WP_20160417_13_23_36_ProSo yesterday called for a little trip to Chawton, for their Vintage, Antique, Collector’s and Craft fair! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the dog made it all the way there without throwing up…perfect!


We didn’t stop in at Austen’s place this time (still haven’t finished my hardcopy of Sense and Sensibility from the last visit!) but definitely plan to return for a copy of Pride and Prejudice, because I love the hardcover classic designs. 

I hadn’t been to one of their vintage fairs before (to be honest, I didn’t even know it was a thing!), and despite being the home of Jane Austen, what I left with was a gothic-style picture of the bard himself. Can’t wait to get this up in my bedroom somewhere, once I’ve finished with the whole decorating/putting-up-shelves-I-don’t-own-yet stage that is. Which will probably take forever, because if there’s one thing that distracts me, it’s EVERYTHING ELSE. I’d hoped there’d be more stallholders there, but it is a small village hall, and these things are always nice to trawl the table tops for a hidden treasure. And who knows, might go again next month. 


WP_20160417_17_21_01_Pro (1)What a stud


Unfortunately we suffered another near miss when it came to Cassandra’s Cup (we’ll get in there one of these days!) but I did get a lovely bit of sponge cake at the village hall because let’s be honest, that’s what you have to do at these things. Drink tea, and eat cake. That’s basically my life’s motto. That, and ‘Leave me alone, I’m reading.’

On the way home we made a quick stop off somewhere I’d been meaning to get to for a while now – the grave site of my great great great grandfather. He was something of a minor celeb back in the day (not for the best reasons, unfortunately). The village is mostly notable as the home of Gilbert White who, I don’t know…drew pictures of birds or something? (Riveting, I know) but with an ‘award winning tea parlour,’ and huge garden for the dog to roam, we’ll probably end up going back to see the house and explore the grounds. This time, we only went as far as the gift shop (mostly to ask if dogs were allowed in the garden. They are) and after a quick look around, found a book detailing great etc granddad’s exploits, with a rendition of his five minutes of fame on the front cover.

WP_20160417_14_32_16_Pro (1)My great great great grandfather The Trumpeter of Selbourne, doing his thing.

Had to take a picture for my great uncle who researches the family tree, BUT, that little gift shop was where I bought these.


WP_20160417_17_18_38_Pro (1)Pretty right?


I’ve never in my life used a bookplate before, or written my name in a book (sacrilege!) but I couldn’t resist. To be honest, I was mostly taken with the box, but I’m sure I’ll whack a few labels in some books with a vintage, feminine style. Starting with my copy of Sense  and Sensibility.

For more details on the Chawton fair, click on the link