Friday, 2 October 2009

A Walk to the Mausoleum (and back!)

It's Thursday, October 1st 2009 and the weather is fine. Beautiful in fact. So I'm off for a stroll to another part of Mellerstain. Neglected by many, mainly because it is unknown to most visitors, and quite a few others.

Part of Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto plays gently in the background. This music, like so many other pieces, always relaxes me. As you know, it was used in that old romantic film "Brief Encounter".

I count this film as a classic now. I must have seen it at least ten times and never tire of it. Why is this? Yes, I heard you ask that question; a very good question. Well, Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson are just superb in this old 1945 black and white movie. And I just love old railway stations! Especially this old-fashioned railway buffet, complete with a haughty-ish barmaid and cafeteria assistant; Stanley Holloway as the protective railway porter. It's all so nostalgic for me and many others.

In 1945 David Lean filmed this romantic classic at Carnforth railway station. Filming took place at night between 10pm and 6am to avoid interfering with daytime trains. Carnforth was later reduced to a branch station and gradually crumbled into disrepair.

A project started in 2000, jointly with Railtrack, and about three years later the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room and Visitor Centre opened in late 2003. One fine day I shall make it to this place. Have a cup of tea, or maybe a beer (if they're licensed) and just imagine Trevor and Celia being at a nearby table.

Trevor Howard was not too pleased however. He made many other films of course but he was reputed to be annoyed that Brief Encounter was the film he is always associated with. He's one of my top ten actors, along with James Mason (whose voice is immediately recognised), Richard Burton - especially his rendition of Dylan Thomas's excrutiatingly wonderful "Under Milk Wood".

However, 'Brief Encounter' will grow in stature, imo, as the years go by and movies become ever more car-chase, car-crash, special effects and all the other modern methods of movie making with acting slipping into the background in so many films today.


A human kind of human said...

Compliments to Flip Videos, they do an excellent job. Thanks, once again I enjoyed this walk with you and the old cemetry (can I call it that?) is fascinating.

the walking man said...

Mellerstien certainly seems a rather expansive place with opportunity for many a rambling stroll. Another journey well taken sir. Ask and maybe you will get your flight.

Argent said...

Tha's interesting: I'm only 21 as well (and a few months). Mellerstain looked absolutely glorious in the autumn sunshine there and the mausoleum of the Baillie-Hamiltons was a lovely peaceful place in when to take one's final rest. i really enjoyed that.

Land of shimp said...

That was absolutely beautiful. I particularly liked seeing the gravestone of the second son, of the 11th Earl of Haddington (and oh how I hope I just got that right). It's just a very moving thought, that so many years after he was laid to rest, people who never knew a thing about him, were just thinking of him through your video.

Was that the roof of your cottage? My goodness, it's not merely charming, it's picturesque. Really, it calls to mind storybooks.

It's funny, through you I feel as if I have gotten to, and continue to be allowed to, visit Mellerstain. My husband and son are so used to hearing me listening to your videos. You've become as well known to them by voice as any of the travel guides on PBS.

You live in a beautiful part of the world, and through you, I get a little slice of that. It truly is an amazing thing about the internet, sitting here in Colorado, regularly getting to "travel" to Mellerstain. If someone had told me that was possible when I was younger, I think I would have raised a skeptical eyebrow but it is such a wonderful addition to life. Thank you.

Barry said...

Yes, movies are in sad decline these days. I haven't seen Brief Encounter for quite a while. Thanks for reminding me of it.

CHummelKornell said...

Lovely post, I enjoyed the walk. History in any country is so interesting and you put a special spin on it with your narration. Love the beautiful country you live in.

ToBlog today said...

Indeed another beautiful walk with you.

I agree, films do not have the same allure of decades past. I think box office success today really is related to how much money was brought in over the weekend, as opposed to how well the actors were portrayed in their roles.

Tess Kincaid said...

You live in such a lovely spot of the world, Philip. I enjoy your walking tours.

Rachmaninov's 2nd always brings to mind Lean's "Brief Encounter", which is one of my all time favorite films. I have a Criterion Collection copy and watch it at least once a month. I'm a hopeless romantic.

Jo said...

Omigoodness, you live in a beautiful place. Goodness.

"Brief Encounter" is one of my favorite movies, and another that I love is "Waterloo Bridge". Have you seen it? It stars Vivien Leigh and Rober Taylor.

Thank you for the little tour. :-)

Cliff W said...

I wouldn't know Brief Encounter all that well although I think Lawrence of Arabia is absolutely spectacular. The true definition of an epic! David Lean was a master.

I'm sounding like by parents, but I agree that the majority of modern films are a poor relation of these older classics. Likely thinking is there is probably less need for a good story when there is much "more" in the film-maker's arsenal! Shame :(

Brenda said...

It does look like you have a large amount of land to get some walking exercise on. You have left me wondering more about the family that owns the Mausoleum.
21 Forever Philip!

PhilipH said...

Once again I'm amazed, and very appreciative, to get such warm and interesting comments from you all.

Like many thousands, probably millions, of 'bloggers' web-wide, I started this hobby earlier this year and find it extremely satisfying.

I tried 'tweeting and twittering' but didn't find it quite what I'd expected. Facebook, Myspace and similar sites I've looked at seem OK for many, especially for the younger among us - but not for me.

Blogging is different. It seems to me to be more enjoyable; it makes one think a bit, both by blogging and by reading other blogs.

So, thanks again. Best wishes to you all.

nollyposh said...

Thankyou so much Philip i so enjoy our strolls together X:-)