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Culture vulture

Old musicals hit the right note for Elise Randle.

Favourite reading

I love designing and drawing. I was incompetent at school, but I did a garden design course at Bishop Burton college and the art teacher used a wonderful book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It teaches you to be confident and develop your own style. I've always read books with witty, sarky, PG Wodehouse-style humour. I like the Mitfords. I have double copies of the Mapp and Lucia series by EF Benson because I lend them to so many people.

Mood music

I watch Jools Holland a lot and write lists of bands whose CDs I'm going to buy, but I never get round to it. I listen to old David Bowie (pictured) when I'm in a bad mood.

Best film ever

I like Judy Garland musicals. My favourite film is Dangerous Liaisons. What a film: the pace, the sarcasm, the manner.

Treat in store

I want to see portraits of writers at the National Portrait Gallery. It's easy to bring authors alive now they have photos in books, though sometimes I wish they didn't. If you don't like the look of the author it can put you off.

Best on the web

www.visualthesaurus.com is amazing. I look at it for the art: it takes words and spins them off into kaleidoscopic pictures.

Best days out

The garden at Sutton Place in Surrey: English, pretty but permanently evolving. Newby Hall gardens in North Yorkshire, with wonderful play areas and the longest herbaceous borders in Europe. And Burton Constable Hall, where I work. It's an Elizabethan house: a bit decayed and dilapidated, but full of stories. There's a gold bedroom, with a Tudor staircase inside a cupboard; you take children in there and they have a Harry Potter moment.

We have sombre Tudor portraits, a Chinese room, all dragons and bowls in red and gold, and a 15ft carved pineapple chair. You start thinking: "Oh yes, stately home"; then you go round a corner and it's: "Oh my God!"

Elise Randle, 36, is education officer at Burton Constable Hall, East Yorkshire. She also teaches part-time at Willerby Carr Lane infant school near Hull. She was talking to Karen Gold

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