My haven: Comedian Julian Clary, 53, escapes to his manor house in Kent once owned by Nol Coward
00:35 GMT, 21 July 2012
Comedian Julian Clary escapes to his manor house in Kent
1. Wise buy
My bronze owl is my favourite thing of the moment. I saw it in a junk shop when I was doing panto last Christmas in Plymouth and I kept going back to look at this fabulous thing. It was quite expensive – 700 – and it’s quite heavy, but in the end I decided I had to have it. It’s got a lot of movement and action – very dramatic. I love owls. There’s one in the woods here. Sometimes you feel like you’re being watched, and you look behind and it’s gliding through the trees a few yards away.
2. My wonder dog
Fanny the Wonder Dog was my first dog and part of my act in the early days. I got her when I was 21, but she’s been dead for 13 years now. This cartoon-like picture was done by a fan called Janet from Rottingdean. She’s been coming to see my shows for years, and she sends me pictures of whatever I’ve been doing, like when I was in Strictly she sent one of me dancing. I love them because they’re quirky. She doesn’t know this but I’ve got them all over the house.
3. Haunted house
A friend found this programme for me in a theatrical memorabilia shop. It’s for the Nol Coward tribute A Talent To Amuse that played at the Phoenix Theatre in 1969. I’ve always loved Nol’s writing, and when I heard his house was for sale I came to see it out of curiosity and fell in love with it. There are four ghosts here – including Nol’s – and we all get along well most of the time. But if I hang a picture that any of them finds too ‘modern’, it soon crashes to the ground.
4. Tea for two
This teapot belonged to my grandmother. Hector, my grandfather, called her Queenie but her real name was Victoria. This was from her Sunday best tea service and I remember it from my childhood, as does my mother from hers. It’s quite camp – so was my grandmother, but she had no idea she was. They had no money, but lived in the village manor house which they rented. I think of her often as this is an old manor house too. They would have liked it here.
5. Secret past
During filming of Who Do You Think You Are in 2006 this photo was taken in my parents’ garden. I’d just revealed to my mother Brenda, a probation officer, that she was of German descent – a dark secret hidden by previous generations. She took it well. We knew my father Peter, a retired policeman, had German blood – it’s been the subject of playful jibes throughout their 59-year marriage. So now they’re even. My personality is down to my parents – none of us take life too seriously.
6. Clucky boy
My mother gave me this pink chicken a couple of Easters ago. It’s made of tin and has bouncy legs so it nods around like a chicken when you touch it. I’ve got four chickens here in the garden, they’re very decorative and good fun, they come and greet me as they’re all tame. They make very restful noises, and I quite like the smell of them too. Sometimes I like to sit in the chicken run with a gin and tonic in the evening – it’s very therapeutic.
Julian Clary’s third novel Briefs Encountered is published by Ebury Press and out now.