Books · Daytripping · Film · My favourite things · Out and about

Favourite Things: Harry Potter, audiobooks and the Hardy Tree

This week’s favourite things include Harry Potter (obviously), audiobooks and The Hardy Tree.

1. Harry Potter BuzzFeed articles

Perhaps the best articles on Buzzfeed (or at least tied with any about Taylor Swift), make sure you catch up on Daniel Dalton‘s posts as he watched the Harry Potter film series for the first time.

They’ve made me laugh out loud on far too many occasions. If you have any interest in Potter – move them to the top of your ‘to read’ list.

2. Audiobooks

Not content with shelves of books and a kindle, I have recently added to my ‘to read’ list by getting into audiobooks. I have always struggled to read whilst on the move or at the gym which has always hindered my available reading time. In order to combat this I tried out audiobooks and I’m really enjoying listening to them at night or on the bus on the way home. The only problem I find is that sometimes I space out and when I realise, I have to go back 15 minutes to work out what’ I’ve missed!

So far I’ve listened to:

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman (narrated by the author)
  • The House of Silk – a Sherlock Holmes novel by Anthony Horowitz  (narrated by Derek Jacobi)
  • Jeeves and the Wedding Bells – P.G. Wodehouse homage by Sebastian Faulks (narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt)
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells has been my absolute favourite audiobook experience so far. Not only was the story itself really entertaining but Julian Rhind-Tutt’s narration was absolutely perfect. It was an absolute joy to listen to.

I’ve been downloading some audiobooks from Audible. I find their memberships to be quite expensive but often they run additional offers which make some audiobooks quite reasonable. Also, if you’ve never been a member I think they offer trials to get your first audiobook free.

Make sure you check your local library though. Not only can you borrow audiobook CDs physically but some libraries (including my local library service of Nottinghamshire Libraries) also offer the chance to download audiobooks online for free.

3. The Hardy Tree

When we were in London in January for the Dickensian Photography Workshop and Walk, we went for a walk past St Pancras International train station to the Old St Pancras Church to see the Hardy Tree.

In the 1860’s, the young Thomas Hardy (not yet a famous author) was tasked by the architect Arthur Blomfield (who he was studying under) to oversee the move of gravestones in the churchyard to make way for the Midland railway line. Hardy placed many of the headstones around an ash tree and in the years since, the tree has grown around them.

This makes for quite a solemn yet fascinating sight.

The Hardy Tree
The Hardy Tree

To see the Hardy Tree (coming from St Pancras International/King’s Cross):

  1. Walk past St Pancras International station and the St Pancras Renaissance hotel and turn right down Midland Road, continuing on to Pancras Road
  2. Keep going down this road past the Crick Institute until you reach the Old St Pancras Church on your right.
  3. Enter the Churchyard and walk towards the train line to find the Hardy Tree

Whilst you’re also in the churchyard, make sure you visit the Grade I listed tomb of the famous architect, Sir John Soane. Designed by the man himself, the mausoleum was the eventual inspiration for the red telephone box.

Soane Mausoleum
Soane Mausoleum – David Edgar

I also highly recommend visiting Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The museum is fascinating, free and is his home preserved pretty much as it was at the time of his death with the art works and architectural artifacts he collected during his lifetime on display. The original paintings of Hogarth’s A Rakes Progress can be seen here too. Amazing.

4. Gif of the Week

I’ve recently rediscovered what I think might be the pinnacle of the gif. This scene from Hot Fuzz:

Hot Fuzz gif
Rafe Spall and Paddy Considine as ‘The Andy’s’ in Hot Fuzz

One thought on “Favourite Things: Harry Potter, audiobooks and the Hardy Tree

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