Category Archives: Video Blogs

My afternoon walk in the Forest

I went for a walk this afternoon – such a relief to get out after all the rain of the past few days. I encountered ravens again, this time they were having a bit of an argument with a buzzard. I saw them on the same branch about a foot away from each other, the raven croaking and the buzzard patiently ignoring him.
I’ve been setting up me new character website http://www.penniandbenni.com and their @penniandbenni instagram account. I’ll tell you more about that on my Friday video, meantime come along from an autumn walk with me!

Penni and Benni

A trip to the seaside at Brighton

Mrs Rayner and I went to Brighton this week. The idea was to go to the Lewes Bonfire – an extraordinary pagan fire festival – but, even with all my research, we were unable to get there and back as the train station was closed to keep hoards of visitors out of the town. If you want to know more about the Lewes Bonfire night see this video:

In the end we did some Christmas shopping and ate too much and watched the amazing murmurations of starlings that fly in overnight and swoop around the old, broken pier as they come in to roost for the night. We stopped at Wisley Gardens on the way home

Visit to Rudyard Kipling’s House – Batemans

On wednesday, followinging on from yesterday’s blog, I visited Batemans, a National Trust property in Kent that was once the home of the Nobel Prize-winning writer, Rudyard Kipling – who wrote the Jungle book.

He also wrote the Just So Stories. I loved those stories so much as a child, that I ended up re-writing them to make them easier for children of today to understand.

It was a wonderful job. I could feel Kipling breathing down my neck, checking that I was doing the right thing by his masterpiece.

I removed a lot of high Victorian language and whimsy, revealing fresh, modern writing underneath. I also had to rewrite some bits which have become politically incorrect over the years, since the British Empire waned.

Kipling is often criticised these days for the attitudes expressed in some of his writing, but I honestly don’t think Kipling was racist, especially for the time he lived in. He always wrote warmly of India and it’s peoples, but there are one or two words and attitudes, that were acceptable at the time, that I had to “smooth out” for today’s sensibilities.

The Just So Stories are written for and addressed to “My Best-Beloved”. This was Kipling’s daughter, Josephine. She died of pneumonia when she was six. Kipling had pneumonia at the same time. They didn’t tell him for six weeks, until he was strong enough to hear the awful news.

That story has always affected me. Finding myself in front of things that belonged to Josephine caught me quite by surprise – a very emotional moment.

find out more about Batemans here: 

More about Oast Houses used for drying hops which give flavour to beer – and are grown all over Kent.