So my clever thoughtful husband looked to The Children of Green Knowe for his inspiration for my Christmas present but I also turned to some 80s children’s television for his present.
Just as we watch The Children of Green Knowe every Christmas, we also watch The Box of Delights. In fact a great deal of ceremony surrounds our viewing of the Box of Delights and the timings are very carefully thought out. Some years we time it so we watch one episode a night, ending on Christmas eve and other years we time it so we are watching one episode per week as it was originally aired. It is never just viewed on a whim! Like Bagpuss, The Box of Delights was one of those things that drew us together when we first met. We both owned a copy of the DVD and we both made a point of watching it every Christmas. I didn’t realise so many other people still remembered it from their childhoods and it turns out there is quite a cult following. They call themselves Boxers and they hang out in various Facebook groups, not just in the winter but all year round! Naturally I am a member of a couple of such groups and one in particular is called The Drop of Dew after the pub in the story where Kaye meets Cole Hawlings. This particular group is more of a social than a serious discussion and analysis of the actual television series or book and so here go all the ‘Boxy’ things that aren’t actually directly about the book or series. If something is Boxy it could be anything from photos of a snow scene reminiscent of a scrobbling on Bottlers Down to a vintage car that looks like a Caroplane-aeroplane. Sometimes it’s people showing off their Box of Delights themed Christmas tree and occasionally somebody has something Boxy to sell.
Well sometime during the first month or so of 2020 I spotted a post in The Drop of Dew sharing the work of illustrator Andrew Skilleter. His name was familiar because he creates Doctor Who fan art and I am married to a massive Doctor Who fan so these things often beep on my radar. Anyway, instead of Cybermen and Crazy looking Tom Baker portraits this time it was prints of a replica painting from The Box of Delights. If you are familiar, the one
the second Doctor Cole Hawlings disappears through at Seekings after the Punch and Judy show.
Well just like that Mouse from Green Knowe I have often wondered if that painting was ‘real’ or created specifically for The Box of Delights TV series. Kaye just said his grandfather painted it which didn’t give me much to go on. Years later along comes Andrew Skilleter with a replica and prints for sale! I didn’t waste any time ordering one but I was concerned my scatty brain would forget all about it by the time Christmas rolled round. I didn’t and I even remembered to organise the framing in good time too! I wanted to put it in a frame as close to the one in the series as possible so sometime in October, I found myself sneakily watching the first episode for reference purposes. I settled on a frame and mount that wasn’t too far off the original and thankfully it arrived in time for me to frame it. I’m not averse to framing things myself as I frame my own textile work all the time so I just ordered it from my usual supplier and it arrived in good time. I was pretty pleased with the end result and it seemed to go down well.