Making your way through the rather wet, yet nonetheless beautiful Devon lanes,
you breathe in the fresh air and give a huge sigh of relief. It’s as if you are
entering a place where all stresses and strains of life are suddenly lifted from you.
You know that you are treading on top of the many footsteps of people who
have come before you: artists, creators, entertainers. They’ve
been fortunate to have been part of the history of Dartington;
each playing their part in making Dartington very unique indeed.
As you walk through the archway into the beautiful
courtyard, you can sense that this is one very special place. It oozes enthusiasm
for the arts and what’s more, the surroundings can only inspire.
(You have Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst to thank for this. They laid out these
gorgeous gardens, back in the 1930s.)
The trees watch over you ; the luscious lawns invite you to stroll awhile;
the Great Hall beckons as if to say, ‘Come in, I've been expecting you!
You won’t be disappointed.’
You obey, but not until you’ve queued for a bit! Is it hardly any wonder?
There’s a treat in store and although you’ve been to Ways With Words
many times before, you just know that this will beat the lot!
Taking your place in the Great Hall, you sit and look around you.
The hall is becoming jam packed. Along the benches at the side of the hall,
people are squashing in like sardines and you’re glad that you queued early.
Time to get the camera ready and negotiate your way
between the many heads in front of you.
A huge applause begins the proceedings; a few quick camera flashes and then...
he’s off !
He’s comedian, traveller, writer and entertainer extraordinaire!
You’ve waited a long time for this!
He starts with his novel . It’s his second novel. It’s called ‘ the truth - a novel’.
You get a little taster of the characters and the plot; just enough to whet your
appetite so that you are surely going to rush and buy the book afterwards
and then take it to him to sign, aren't you?!
After this, you listen to some anecdotes of his travels.
This is fascinating stuff!
His humour intertwines and you are so pleased to see that
he hasn’t lost that! Naturally, he talks about ‘Python’ and how the name came
about! At this point, you really want to jump up and thank him for that ONE DAY in the whole
of your life where you arrived at school one morning and everyone in your sixth
form was doing ‘silly walks!!’ But of course, you don’t! You just sit and listen,
feeling privileged to be here.
The hour flies by. Nooooo! You want it to last longer!
Your head is buzzing as you grab your bag and coat and make
your way to the book signing area. Giving him your book, you are almost lost for
words but manage to utter something like, ‘You’ve made our day!’
And he smiles and happily signs your new book, which you will treasure.
Ah! Delightful Dartington!
It reminds you of those lines from Shakespeare :
‘’All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and entrances’’
Way’s With Words is just that…people coming and going, the scene
forever changing... not just daily but yearly too!
After all, this superb literary festival is in its 21st year!
As the brochure rightly says, it has come of age and who better than to help celebrate
and kick off Ways With Words 2012 !
You feel completely uplifted as you drive home, singing
‘Always look on the bright side of life’ and you chuckle to yourself as you
practise a very silly walk in the hallway (whilst no one is looking, naturally!)
Thank you , Michael Palin!
You truly did make my day!