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rudyard kipling had a great desk

Yesterday Stuart and I took the train out to Robertsbridge station in East Sussex and walked through fields and little woods to Bateman's, the home of Rudyard Kipling.

Here's where we got off the train:

We'd hoped to catch some bluebells before they all wilted and we were just in luck. Here's Stuart merrily frolicking in them. We ate lots of wild garlic we found along the way and had terribly stinky breath all day.

I liked this weathervane we saw while walking through a pig farm.

Here's the view, pulling up to the lovely Jacobean house. Made us feel like we had dropped into a Merchant Ivory film, maybe Leonard Bast and his bluebell fields in Howard's End.

Kipling's book collection would look shocking in a modern-day writer's house, unless they were trying to be ironic or something. Lots of stuff about savage Africa and the mystical orient. Interesting to browse.

The gardens were pretty impressive, they went way back until you crossed a river and reached a flour mill.

And the inevitable National Trust tea room stop:

Going back, we walked through a field of hops and I took lots of reference photos of the patterns made by the strings holding up the hops. They look amazing, I'd love to draw them sometime. It would be quite abstract, I think.

Stuart grew up in Kent (which has lots of hop farms) and he remembers the school paperwork including a rule that parents weren't allowed to take their kids out of school to send them hop picking. The first time I saw hop picking was in the film Last Orders, with Bob Hoskins, Michael Caine and Helen Mirren (good film).

Hop Picking in Kent, 1929

YouTube link

Hurrah, lovely weather and quality time spent with hubby, hopefully making up for not seeing him all weekend. (He didn't fancy cosplaying in the Docklands.)



( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
That looks like a lovely trip. Sir Alfred's office (in RO) is very based loosely on Kipling's. And I must say the bookshelf above my desk is very similar to the one you photographed (not ironic - shocking!). Hardly a title beyond 1900 :-) Oh, I want a weekend off now!
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
I mean 'very loosely based', not 'very based loosely' :-D
Jun. 2nd, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Ooh, that's an interesting Rainbow Orchid tidbit! I also forgot to add that I read this in Wikipedia:

Bateman's was also used in the coloured 1966 edition of Tintin, 'The Black Island' as the basis for the residence of Müller, the ex-Nazi antagonist.

Cool, huh? :) I need to read more Kipling. I had a friend who was doing her doctorate on his Just So Stories and I'm ashamed to admit I still haven't read them. And I'd like to compare The Jungle Book with that book I blogged about awhile back, The London Jungle Book. There was a beautiful screen in the dining room that reminded me very much of the illustrations in that book.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
Just So Stories
You should read the Just so Stories - they're really quick; I just read three or four over breakfast, after reading this post!
Jun. 2nd, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
oh wow, lovely! also, thanks for posting that hop picking video!
Jun. 2nd, 2010 07:54 am (UTC)
You're welcome! :)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
Kipling's House looks fantastic! Definately worth a trek next time I'm around (and I may pinch some of your photos for reference in the meantime) I haven't read really any of kipling. I picked up the Jungle Book when I was much younger, decided it wasn't near enough like the cartoon, and threw it out the window, and haven't looked back. I'll should add kipling to my vast pile of 'to be read'
Jun. 2nd, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
Yes, I'd definitely recommend it as a place to visit. And yeah, my 'to be read' pile just grows and grows. Lately, I've mostly been reading books published in the last couple decades, I really need to get back to reading some classics. Particularly as so many of the books I read are in response to British Empire colonial attitudes, but I haven't read some of the texts they're fighting against.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:24 am (UTC)
Oh - I love Kipling! You just never sit still, do you?
Jun. 2nd, 2010 07:58 am (UTC)
Ha ha! Actually, the last post of me zonked out in the buttercups was the same day. And I slept on the train, and fell asleep again in an apple orchard. I was pretty tired, actually. ;)
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:00 am (UTC)
I love that whole area, Kent, Sussex. And it's so easy to explore with the whole English 'right to roam'; once you're here, all you need is a map. Yeah, the clocks are cool! I think the guide said the one on the right is older than the house, 16th century or something.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
My mum was living right next to there up until a few years back, and I never heard of Batemans.

I'm from Kent though, so the whole hop picking thing was part of my local landscape. It's probably why I know so much gypsy slang, as it was gypsies and Londoners who picked em.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Ooh, like what kind of phrases do you know??
Jun. 3rd, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
Chav - boy or child, Chor - steal, Cushdi - good

It's all based on romani. I'm sure there's loads that you know, it all seeps into English, especially in the south east.
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