What a wonderful place it was and so interesting. I wandered up to the gardens surrounding the house
|Lady Churchill's rose garden|
|The East wing|
|The rose garden|
|Black swans on the lake|
In the afternoon a volunteer showed us round the garden which was extremely informative. He took us to the wall round the vegetable garden that Churchill built himself at 100 bricks per hour -
|He was an expert bricklayer|
Unfortunately he was not so good at the foundations and the walls have had to be buttressed or they would fall down!! However he did build this all by himself and roofed it -
a small house with an adult size door for his little daughter, Mary.
In the vegetable garden I spotted these with lots of fruit on it - a Physalis that I didn't know we could grow in this country.
|A view of the Kent Weald from the garden|
|The front of the house|
Churchill was very short of money and in debt in 1947, but a group of his wealthy friends and admirers clubbed together and bought Chartwell from him with the proviso that his family could live there until his death and then it was to be presented to the National Trust. The great man spent his very final years sitting beside his pond feeding his Golden Orfe and his chair is still there though you can't walk over the bridge now.
The following day was another trip to a National Trust property - Batemans at Burwash. I loved this house which was bought by Rudyard Kipling after he and his wife returned from the USA in 1902. I was brought up on his books which my mother used to read to us.
This was a much more intimate house and garden and I knew I would like it when I saw the kitchen garden as I walked in, full of vegetables growing well.
|The kitchen garden|
Then outside into the gardens that were lovely at this time of the year with roses etc.
The rose garden and pond where Kipling kept a small craft like a pedalo for his guests entertainment.
Finally I walked through the woods to the Mill and came on this plaque below. I hadn't realised that Rudyard Kipling wrote the famous words as part of a poem, which makes them seem particularly poignant following the death of his son John in 1915.
|'Lest We Forget' by Rudyard Kipling|