An Occult, Macabre Delight – Talliston House and Gardens

All pictures courtesy of the website.

Last weekend my friends and I decided to go look at a house. “Why?” You ask, “there’s houses everywhere. Look, I can see one now.” Well, yes, but this one “there’s one with a red door, and a green door, and…” Shush! As I was saying, this one is really special.

The 1929 Occult Study
The 1929 Occult Study

Talliston House and Gardens in Dunmow, Essex, has been a project of the owner, John Trevillion, for 25 years. It started as a regular ex council house and has become an art piece where every room exists in a different era, from a New Orleans voodoo kitchen to a late Victorian front room.

1960s Cambodia in the attic
1960s Cambodia in the attic

My favourites, however, were upstairs: a study from 1929 New York filled with occult books and props, a ‘haunted bedroom’ and 1960s Cambodia in the attic.

A Victorian front room
A Victorian front room

They’ve still not quite finished but there’s lots of things upcoming. They hold murder mystery nights, people can stay over on special occasions, plus there’s viewings, poetry and music nights (you can watch the videos on their youtube channel) and an event in October with actors occupying the rooms. Honestly, we thought it was wonderful. Visit if you can, and finally here’s a video showing how it was made (note: they had help completing it so don’t worry, they’re almost done):

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New interview with Miss Cakehead, she of the evil cakes

Remember a post I did a little while ago featuring the press release of “an edible horror farm?” Well, I got an interview with Emma Thomas, Miss Cakehead herself, for UK Horror Scene. Have a peek!

Upcoming Event For Halloween: Cakeageddon, An Evil Fairy Tale Horror Farm… With Cake

My search for disturbing and gruesome cake continues (well, it passes the time) with this upcoming installation in Standalone Farm in Letchworth Garden City, London, from Oct 29 to Nov 1.

By Nathan Pask
By Nathan Pask

Creepy cake maker Miss Cakehead will treat attendees to the inside of her disturbing mind and taste buds. The press release says:

“The event combines live horror action with cake for the first ever time, creating an incredible terrifying edible experience the likes of which have never been seen before. The family farm attraction taken over by renowned creative and food art curator Miss Cakehead for a special event targeted strictly at older teenagers and adults which features some of the world’s most infamous cake makers.

By Nathan Pask
By Nathan Pask

Red Riding Hood chasing you through the woods and the remains of the three slaughtered little pigs strung up and dripping ‘blood’ (strawberry sauce) are just some of the CAKE treats in store for you when the mistress of macabre cake takes over Letchworth Garden City’s Standalone Farm every night from the 29th October to the 1st November. Cakeageddon – the World’s first edible horror farm – will be extreme gruesome cake at its most terrifying.

By Nathan Pask
By Nathan Pask

Scattered around the farm will be a series of large scale cake installations which brave visitors will be able to tuck into if there dare… There will be plenty of nasty surprises in store as they go on their cake-walk though the night… Even the children’s play barn on the farm is touched by Miss Cakehead’s twisted mind, taken over by a nightmarish edible creation of Animal Farm.”

Well who wouldn’t want to go? I know I do! Below is a video of Miss Cakehead and previous scary confectionary projects. Enjoy!

Bizarre Bath

Most of the articles/stories on this site I’ve written for fun (unless they’re segments of published stories), but this one appears on a travel site. This version’s better. Hidden within these words you’ll find my previous life as a student of Bath Spa University. Bits of it are very studenty, such as the preoccupation with pubs.

Walcot Nation Day - Briony Bell

If lively entertainment and surreal festivals are your thing, Bath is the answer when you want something a little different. From punk to street parades, it has it all.

Forget the pretty Georgian buildings (although they are lovely) and drunken students singing rugby songs; if you’re a tourist in Bath there is a lot more to see. If you’re around in the summer both tourists and locals alike will recommend the Bath Fringe Festival. Beginning on the 25th May and ending on the 10th of June, it’s a two-week journey into the surreal with performances from underground theatre groups in various venues around town. Many are often set in the Chapel Arts Centre, Bath’s ‘alternative arts venue,’ alongside late night pubs and parties. Let me tell you, it was an experience hearing a Dalek recite a DaDaist poem at 1 in the morning.

Fire Staff

However it is the parades the festival is best known for. Only on the street party Walcot Nation Day (Walcot Street of course) can you be confronted with the likes of an 8-foot furry spider; it may be a man on stilts in costume but it’s still impressive. In the brilliant sunshine the chaos of the day becomes more and more pronounced, “I ended up on the back of a stranger’s bike handing out fliers for an art exhibition whilst being followed by circus performers swallowing fire,” recalls local Susie Morris, 27, fondly.

Crazy festivities aside, for those a little more local to Bath there is still a lot to keep a person entertained when the slow-walking tourists have gone. Aside from watching the ever-present street performers in the Square by the beautiful cathedral, or strolling around market stalls of alternative/hippie clothes and jewellery, you could sample the local flavour on a pub crawl. Start with vegetarian pub The Porter Cellar Bar, which is good fun with a variety of music (it’s best if you like it very loud), and full of pierced eye-candy both male and female. Through the gradually ascending hip hop or other ‘cool’ music you’re bound to meet all the young things of the area, and downstairs you’ll occasionally find bands, acoustic performers or comedy.

I used to have dreadlocks don't ya know?
Open mic nights

Next, off to Mandolin’s, the gay pub, which is always very full at the weekend; next there’s the Bell, favoured place of hippies and Rastafarians, and finish at the Porter Butt. This last place is famous for “loud and vicious” techno and punk nights, and is proud of its lack of shine. Andy Tanner, the landlord, lovingly describes it as having “a 1970s floor, nicotine walls and a flock of parrots to collect the dust, and the best pool table in Bath.” Something to bear in mind is the massive variety of ales on offer.

Walcot Nation Day - my housemate and I

Upon waking the next day with a very sensitive head and a need for something more soothing, you can have a good breakfast at one of the many art cafes.

Upstairs in these venues are often poetry nights or art exhibitions, and there are a number of open mic nights (evenings that encourage anybody to grab the mike and perform) held monthly in assorted sites. Anyone can have a go as long as they’re brave enough, and a bar is always available.

If hair of the dog is the only way, head for the aforementioned Bell on Walcot Street. Settle down with a bottle of Weston’s cider amongst the canal dwellers, grizzled old hippies and dreadlocked residents to a soundtrack of folk or reggae, and later on liven up to a ska band at weekends. As happy hour reaches ever nearer, you have a couple of options open to you. You can either head to On the Video Front DVD rental and savour the joys of Hammer horrors, video nasties, worldwide indie cinema, the entire two series of Twin Peaks and many, many more; or you can head back down to the Porter and begin the journey all over again.

Walcot Nation Day

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