Today 13th Sept is… cue fanfare… Roald Dahl day! This event is now in its sixth year and was lanched as part of National Book week to commemorate the birth of this literary legend in 1916.
Pictured below is the recreation of Dahl’s writing hut which I was lucky enough to visit at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story centre in Great Missenden, Bucks at the weekend (not to be confused with the Roald Dahl Gallery of the Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury). The hut’s contents are now behind glass for all to see and its exterior can also be seen a couple of times a year, including the weekend of Roald Dahl Day, when his family let visitors into the grounds of Gypsy Cottage his old home to raise funds for his charitable foundation and children’s charity.
Have had this up at the Guardian about the man himself and shed-gate. Might be a bit of a revelation to some but he was a writer of adult fiction too which veers into some distinctly adult themes – some were dramatised by ITV as Tales of the Unexpected in the late 70s/ 80s. There is also a degree of overlap like the adult short story “Champion of the World” later reworked into “Danny The Champion of the World”. His kids’ books are peerless though. As with recent obituaries of Nina Bawden or the work of Jacqueline Wilson he did not shy away from familial dysfunction – lonely only kids, orphaned children, overbearing parents, evil aunts etc.
The pictures below are taken in Dahl’s backyard (which has a pretty neat maze, stone carved inscriptions from his books and a gypsy caravan as well as his hut) and in the museum’s “boy” gallery. His widow Felicity Dahl and grandson Ned were on hand to answer questions on Sunday and a village fete type atmosphere ensued. The museum too has lots for the young Dahl fan including storytelling in Miss Honey’s Classroom and a cafe selling Dahl inspired fare – snozzcumber sandwich anyone? Didn’t spot Miss Trunchball anywhere thankfuly.
It’s often been remarked that we need more bank holidays in the UK. After August there’s nothing until Christmas. Surely Roald Dahl Day to honour this man who was so many things – war hero, spy, author, grandfather, dad etc would be an ideal candidate?