Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Roald Dahl's House

Ellis' post about writers houses had me in reveries about a magical day our family spent in England several years ago. We made the pilgrimage by train from London to Roald Dahl's hometown, Great Missenden, a picture-perfect English town where we picnicked on baguettes. Dahl's house has become a museum and his "writing hut" and famous desk meticulously preserved. He wrote in a chair with a board across the arm rests and surrounded himself with strange nicknacks. It was amazing to see the world that inspired that crazy imagination.

This is how, Quentin Blake, Dahl's illustrator and collaborator, described the space:

"As he didn't want to move from his chair everything was within reach. He wrote on yellow legal paper with his favourite kind of pencils; he started off with a handful of them ready sharpened. He used to smoke and there is an ashtray with cigarette butts preserved to this day.
The table near to his right hand had all kinds of strange memorabilia on it, one of which was part of his own hip bone that had been removed; another was a ball of silver paper that he'd collected from bars of chocolate since he was a young man and it had gradually increased in size. There were various other things that had been sent to him by fans or schoolchildren."
-(found on The Guardian, read the full text here).


  1. Wow. This is so cool. It's making me think about other great literary pilgrimages. I guess I fall on the other end of the spectrum of the Skeptic's Guide to Writer's Houses. I think nothing could be better than vacationing and learning a little more about a beloved author a la Roald Dahl.

  2. I always feel sorry for people are age who say they haven't read any Roald Dahl. I always right away picture them living in Matilda's house, you know?

  3. I don't think roald dahl could have written that description of his desk....but did they even have steam punk back then? and did they say "natch" as there "techie stuff" back then? how odd. sounds like someone on boing boing wrote that. ha. but srsly.

  4. I edited that part out. thanks.