I live in the UK, in the leafy county of Buckinghamshire, and (as anyone who has read my books will know) I derive a lot of inspiration from the local landscape. Eagle eyed readers familiar with my neck of the woods will spot my local Christmas tree plantation within the pages of ‘The Jack in the Green‘ and the dank passageways of Hellfire Caves in the third act of ‘The Lamplighters‘. I was out jogging this morning on the steep sylvan slopes of ‘The Lucifer Glass‘ and it reminded me how much inspiration I glean from the places I frequent (it also reminded me how out of shape I am after long hours behind the writing desk, but that’s perhaps another story).
It was Fathers’ Day here in Blightly a few weeks ago, and my family and I decided to pack a picnic and head out in the drizzle somewhere. As it was ‘my’ day I got to choose the destination, and so I opted for a place that has been something of a lifelong icon for me – Hampden House.
Hammer Films took (eek!) possession of the building in 1979 and made it the company’s base of operations until 1982. During that period, Hammer moved into telly and filmed several episodes of Hammer House of Horror and Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense in and around the building and environs.
As a youngster, I was raised on a strict diet of Hammer Horror movie double bills. Later, at the tender age of 11, it was the turn of the TV series to creep the hell out of me, especially the episode with the gnarly-fingernailed hitchhiker…and the werewolf episode complete with pregnant wolf-mother scoffing chopped liver as she drove to the obligatory house in the woods.
As we sat opposite the very house that appeared in those hallowed opening titles, eating our sandwiches in the rain I realized how lucky I am to have such amazing, inspiring places on my doorstep.
So join me in raising a plastic Thermos cup of lukewarm tea in a toast to a little inspiration.
It goes a long way.
What are the places that inspire you, and why? Comment below please!