Sunday 3 January 2010

New Years day and Keats house

So after all of the excitement of the night before (not to mention the quite large quantities of alcohol) I had something cultural and restful planned for New Years Day. I was staying the night with my friends Zoe & Steve who live in Ealing. We all got up about 11 had a nice big fry up and then set off to Hampstead Heath (Steve decided he would rather kill zombies on his computer than come with us so it was just the girls. Our destination was the picture perfect Keats house (above). I stumbled across the website for this by accident while I was reading a costume blog, (it was mentioned because the costumes from the film Bright Star are currently being exhibited here). Anyway being quite a big Keats fan I made a mental note to see it at some point and then noticed that it was open New Year's day which was the perfect excuse. Zoe and I got a bit lost round the backstreets of Hampstead Health (this wasn't that bad however as it was only a minor detour and we ended up running (almost literally) into Noel Gallagher). House located we did the tour. There seems to be very little of the original house as Keats would have seen it left. When it was sold it was bought by an actress who ripped out the divides (it was originally two residences) and attached a ballroom, plus Keats didn't own any furniture so they can only guess how the house would have been furnished. My favourite room without a doubt was to be Keats study (they know it was his as there is a painting of him writing inside it). Upstairs we stumbled across the costumes from Bright Star (if you haven't seen it I would def recommend) as well as this dealth mask of the man himself (interesting but macabre was the joint verdict on this one). Once we had looked round the house and perused the gift shop (who must be congratulated on their scope, the John Keats colouring book anyone?) we ventured out into the gardens. Here's Zoe outside Keats study window and another one of her wistfully gazing out the window. As usual 'culture' gave us a heck of a thirst and the urgent need for cake. We managed to squeeze in a few of the heaths fine second had bookshops (suprisingly there aren't that many now left in Oxford, possibly a good thing) and then found a cafe and procured what was needed. A lovely excursion and proof that certain bits of London are lovely, you just need to know where to look.

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