I left you behind, a long way north,
But once I saw you here
Long after you were gone
In sloppy cardigan, slippers, book in hand.
You turned and smiled at me,
That smile, that well-remembered smile.
Do you like this place?
And me? Do you like what I’ve become?
The child you taught to read and play,
Who grew, and learnt and moved away
From that sheltering home a long way north.
Recently I went to see the new Alan Bennett at the National Theatre. ‘People’ is about two sisters who are in dispute about what should happen to the family home, a run down mansion in which one of them lives. The other sister wants to donate the property to the National Trust. I won’t spoil the story, but as one national institution pokes fun at another it takes some beating. I have been trying to think of how
the National Trust might get back at Alan Bennett and I had the idea that they might take over his house and run it as an attraction for their members. Talking Heads in the attic, picnic from Wind in the Willows in the kitchen, The History Boys in the study, King George III in the bedroom and of course The Lady in the Van in the garden. Wouldn’t that be fun? Any other ideas for the location of characters from Alan Bennett’s plays or books?