Knole House: making the most of a rainy day

We set off at about 12.30 p.m., having waited for Eversley to sample one of the local churches. Mind you, Stephen and I were pretty slack about getting up and it worked out well for us.

The journey to Knole House was uneventful, with a taxi at the end for the last 3 miles. We booked the taxi for our return journey and he was supposed to arrive at 5.00 p.m.

As the property is a National Trust offering Stephen and I got in for free and Eversley decided to only do things that were free. The extras were a visit to the ‘showrooms’ so called because they were decorated to provide a show of wealth by the owners. I wasn’t allowed to take photos. The rooms were dark, and even darker because blinds are used on the windows to help preserve the artefacts, especially fabrics which fade and fall apart over time. There were colourful panels, paintings and rooms set up for show. The long galleries were used for getting exercise during bad weather and the wooden floors makes them ideal for the purpose as wood is much softer for legs than stone. The following photos are of the Orangery, a sort of indoor greenhouse.

View from the tower
The tower

We also visited the tower, which was set up as an apartment for the heir who ousted Vita Sackville-West, inheriting her childhood home. We could better understand her upset over this. She had set up her own tower ‘apartment’ at Sissinghurst, but it wasn’t as spacious as at Knole House. She was passed over purely because of being a woman, and since she was a rather manly woman it must have been particularly galling.

We enjoyed views from the tower and I was allowed to take photos there, of course. There was a bookshop and cafe as well for our rest and afternoon tea.

A feature of Knole House is the deer park and we went for a walk in the park, with me concentrating on deer, but also taking photos of the views.

The non-arrival of our return taxi was a bit of an anticlimax, or so we thought. Stephen had some phone numbers of taxis, but said it was only 3kms to the station. It was a fine evening and we decided to tackle the walk as it meant we could still be out in the fresh air. In our coats and hoods we were well protected from the wind.

Of course, there is quite a difference between 3kms and 3 miles, as we discovered. Sevenoaks, the little town, is quite interesting and most of the walk through the town was downhill, thank goodness.

At the station we made the fateful decision to catch the first train which would take us to London Victoria. A peaceful train ride was followed by the news that there was a planned rail closure and we had to catch a bus to East Croydon. It was a long, long ride, especially as the bus had to divert to many station on the way home. Eversley said it took about 1.5 hours, instead of a train journey of about 25 minutes. We didn’t get home until about 9.30 p.m.

Eversley said she had rested on the bus and was able to cook her promised meal of a frittata. It made a very tasty meal with some salads.

My zoom lens isn’t that long, fortunately the deer are relatively tame and only move away if you move towards them and get quite close. One of the does seemed to be looking for food when it walked towards me – it was great for getting the photo.

Sissinghurst Castle

Yesterday Stephen and I went to visit Sissinghurst, which is not a castle at all and never was, whilst Eversley was catching up a friend in London. It was owned by Vita, famous these days for having an affair with Virginia Woolf, though she was a writer and published books.

Vita’s writing room in the tower. It was very dark inside, partly to protect furniture and books from sun damage, but also because it is as she would have seen it when she came in from working in the garden to do her writing.

This shot was taken from the top of the tower. The odd white chimneys are seen all over this area and were used as part of drying hops.

I enjoyed walking around the gardens taking photos of flowers.

The property consists of a farm and some buildings which include remnants of an Elizabethan manor house. Vita and her husband set out to creat beautiful gardens and these are maintained for National Trust visitors. We were also able to see through the cottage occupied by Vita and her husband. They had an odd way of,living, Vita had a writing room in the tower, they slept at the cottage where the husband had a study and they ate in a third cottage where their sons lived when not at boarding school. They also renovated an old stable into a huge living room.

There was a National Trust shop, restaurant and cafe.

The journey there involved a train to London Bridge, then a train to Staplehurst, then a bus to Sissinghurst and a 20 minute walk. For our journey home we ordered a taxi to the station, then caught the two trains. We stayed until things closed at 5.30 and the journey home was quite easy. We are now getting home in the dark, which feels strange because when we first came to England it was light until 9.00 pm.

We arrived at about 12.30 and had a nice lunch at the restaurant before beginning to explore. We climbed the tower and had a guided walk through the cottage, checked out the shop and had coffee at the little coffee shop. I found another little gift for Matt.

We went for a walk in a field before we left and checked out the huge fungi.

We had some sunshine, but in this photo taken later in the day it’s getting a bit dark.

Visiting Monk’s House

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monk’s_House

I’ve included the Wikipedia link because it gives better information about the house than we got from visiting it. There were volunteers in each room to explain things and respond to our questions, but the sequence of why they eventually moved there full time is not something we were told.

Monk’s House

We caught the train to Lewes, and the station is familiar territory as we went there for the,opera at Glyndbourne. From Lewes there is a bus to the village of Rodmell. The bus stop is near the local pub, and there was sign posting to Monk’s House. We asked about the name and it is apparently not clear why it is called that. We noticed that other houses we passed also had names. More modern houses have been built to blend in with the style of the very old houses and even in mid autumn the gardens are free and bright with flowers.

Walking along the line

Below are some of the other houses we saw on the way.

Only the ground floor rooms are open and Virginia’s little studio, a separate room away from the house, is locked, so we could look through windows to see it set up with her desk and writing materials. We could also see the beautiful view that she enjoyed from this room. There didn’t appear to be any heating in the studio. Perhaps she didn’t use it when it was very cold.

Notice in the right hand corner that a visitor has the same lean as the statue, I didn’t realise this until I looked at the photo last night. A little unintentional humour.

The village church is visible from the garden and even back at the house.

After time at the house, mainly spent in the garden, we walked back to the pub for afternoon tea. Stephen took a short walk up the hill to see more of the South Downs. He only had half an hour before the bus, but could then rest on the bus and train ride home.

The Abergavenny Arms

We bought some essentials from the little shop near the station and walked home.

The day was a bit chilly, and we thought it might rain at one stage, but by late afternoon there were some ‘sunny spells’. Still, we were glad to get back and switch on the central heating.

Stephen and I have Australian National Trust membership, and had free entry, but public transport by train and train is quite expensive. We took a picnic lunch to save money.

Catching up

Friday 11th I went with Stephen to the second session of our course with Gary Sigley on China at MARLA. Mum had an ACAT assessment with the social worker and Jamie attended. I did an overnight at one of the houses.

Saturday 12th we went down to Cottesloe for the Sculpture by the Sea at about 4.30 p.m. We found out on Sunday that Matt and Hidde had been there earlier in the afternoon. We found the sun a bit overwhelming, even that late in the day. We had a snack of Indian food before walking back to where we had parked in what we think of as the Beaches carpark. We saw the sunset, which lacked interest in a way because of the lack of clouds, but the beach glowed in the sun. Afterwards we went to Camelot and saw the movie Steve Jobs. I refused to see it earlier because I had found his biography excruciating. He seemed such an unpleasant man. But the movie managed to humanise him and I liked the structure of it which allowed a ‘plot’ to unfold in intriguing vignettes. Plus, of course, it was tracing some of my history with using Apple Macs, though it didn’t mention the Mac Classic II, which was my first love.

the sun, the gull, the sea and I
The sun, the gull, the sea and I
Taking off
Not everyone was there for the artworks

On Sunday it was very hot and we stayed at home, hunkered down. Even when Matt arrived it was still very hot outside. We put his left and right switches on and when nothing else was happening he turned his chair in circles in the middle of the family room. He seems to find it very relaxing. I took a video and asked him to change directions, which he was able to do with very little fuss. His left eye was a bit red, perhaps from hitting the lefthand button, he still prefers the right hand one.

Today I worked until 1.30 p.m. I had to go out in the heat with one of the ‘individuals’. I enjoyed the experience, but it wasn’t the hottest part of the day. At 6.20 p.m. it is still about 38 degrees – very hot!