The End Of The World

29 Apr

Well, the end as it was once known – Lands End.  While we were not too far away we decided to go there so we could ‘tick it off the list’.

Once again the weather has been very kind to us.  Not hot by any stretch but but no appreciable rain either.  Nippy breeze when out of the sun.  Generally great weather for what we are doing.

Our week started at Sara and Richard’s place in Hertfordshire.  On Tuesday said farewell to Sara, Richard and the four cats after a very enjoyable stay.  We went to Dani’s place in Sevenoaks for two nights before starting our journey to the southeast of England.  On Thursday we stayed at Broadmayne in Dorset.  Friday night was at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, very near St.Ives and Saturday was the first of two nights spent at Kitley House also in Cornwall.

While we were staying with Dani in Sevenoaks she became a Grandmother for the first time so there was much excitement.  It is always a delight to catch up with Dani but this time will be remembered especially because of the birth of Stanley Louis, 6lb and healthy on 24th April.

We drove through 15km of roadworks on the M25 on our journey southeast that was under a 50mph speed limit.  It was amazing, nobody would do more than the 50mph!  In France or Italy when you slow down to such a speed about 30~50% of the traffic will be going past you at the open limit and more.  But not here.

On Saturday we were near Bodmin which is not far from the location of The Eden Project (you may have seen it on TV) and we had an hour or so available so we sought it out.  At £47 for us to get in we decided to flag it away.  They only have one entry fee – £23.50 per adult and you can come as often as you like for a year.  Too bad if you are a tourist passing through with an hour or so available.

The B&B at Carbis Bay was nice and the owner dropped us right down at the middle of St.Ives at dinner time and gave us instructions for getting the bus back.  This is because parking in St.Ives is impossible.  It worked out very well.  We had a walk and a good pub dinner with no concerns about needing to drive and got home without any bother.

On our travels this week we have visited six National Trust [NT] properties:

  1. Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s country house in Kent
  2. We tried to visit Quebec House in Kent but it was closed on Tuesdays and we could not get back another day
  3. Ightham Mote in Kent
  4. Knole Park and House in Kent
  5. The Vyne in Hampshire
  6. Lanhydrock in Cornwall
  7. Saltram House in Devon

All the NT properties are outstanding and the volunteers who attend the different rooms are always well informed and passionate about their heritage.  We always end up taking ages to get through them but it is so worth it.  And on the subject of value – that list of properties would have cost us about £120 in entrance fees except for our £35 membership of the NZ Historical Society.  And that is just one week of visits.  With our NZ membership we get free entry to all NT properties.

For details on any of these properties either visit the NT website or try Google.

Chartwell was the country home of Winston Churchill.  Not as grand as some, more homely.  Sadly, no photos allowed inside.

Chartwell was the country home of Winston Churchill. Not as grand as some, more homely. Sadly, no photos allowed inside.

The main frontage of Knole House.

The main frontage of Knole House.

Once through the outer perimeter of buildings at Knole House there is another layer and then another.  This place is huge.  It is also another one that does not allow photography inside the house.

Once through the outer perimeter of buildings at Knole House there is another layer and then another. This place is huge. It is also another one that does not allow photography inside the house.

Not a usual view of Knole, taken from the back, but it shows a little of the size of the place.  The National Trust is in the process of repairing the roofs of the complex, a project that will £17 million.

Not a usual view of Knole, taken from the back, but it shows a little of the size of the place. The National Trust is in the process of repairing the roofs of the complex, a project that will £17 million.

The deer in Knole Park are very docile - I was only 10m from this one and it didn't seem to be at all concerned.

The deer in Knole Park are very docile – I was only 10m from this one and it didn’t seem to be at all concerned.

Deer as far as you can see!  There is also a golf course in the midst of all these deer as well.

Deer as far as you can see! There is also a golf course in the midst of all these deer as well.

Ightham Mote was the subject of a Time Team episode during a £10 million conservation effort that was completed in 2004.  The DVD of the program playing in one of the rooms so it was excellent to be able to see what was done and then see how it is in reality.  This conservation project was apparently the first under a new policy that even details that are never going to be seen are restored to original condition.  An example was an ornate scotia that was reproduced and fitted even though it would end up behind a panel that was part of a later modification to the building.  NT want to not only preserve the outward appearance but also the underlying details for future generations.

Ightham Mote was the subject of a Time Team episode during a £10 million conservation effort that was completed in 2004. The DVD of the program playing in one of the rooms so it was excellent to be able to see what was done and then see how it is in reality. This conservation project was apparently the first under a new policy that even details that are never going to be seen are restored to original condition. An example was an ornate scotia that was reproduced and fitted even though it would end up behind a panel that was part of a later modification to the building. NT want to not only preserve the outward appearance but also the underlying details for future generations.

The buildings are laid out in a rectangle with the moat surrounding them but it was not all built at the same time.  Consequently there are many styles represented as you look around the yard.

The buildings are laid out in a rectangle with the moat surrounding them but it was not all built at the same time. Consequently there are many styles represented as you look around the yard.

Ightham Mote's moat!

Ightham Mote’s moat!

Just one of the splendid rooms at Ightham Mote.  Note the doorway to the left of the fireplace, it has a stone surround and is not very tall.

Just one of the splendid rooms at Ightham Mote. Note the doorway to the left of the fireplace, it has a stone surround and is not very tall.

Outside the moated main buildings and across a lawn are the stables and other service buildings.

Outside the moated main buildings and across a lawn are the stables and other service buildings.

In the gardens at Ightham Mote - no idea what these are but they looked great.  Anyone got any ideas.

In the gardens at Ightham Mote – no idea what these are but they looked great. Anyone got any ideas.

A blend of styles from Tudor onwards, this was the grand front entrance to The Vyne.

A blend of styles from Tudor onwards, this was the grand front entrance to The Vyne.

The is the summer house in the gardens at The Vyne.

The is the summer house in the gardens at The Vyne.

By the time we got to The Vyne at Basingstoke we finally saw tulips that were brave enough to bloom.

By the time we got to The Vyne at Basingstoke we finally saw tulips that were brave enough to bloom.

Some of the interiors were pristine.  This ceiling was said to be moulded in papier-mâché and painted.  Unusual when they are normally casted in plaster.

Some of the interiors were pristine. This ceiling was said to be moulded in papier-mâché and painted. Unusual when they are normally casted in plaster.

This was the better of two rooms with wall 'linenfold' carved wooden wall panels.  Each panel has a space top and bottom for heraldic symbols and they were filled with the emblems of families the owners wanted to win favour with.

This was the better of two rooms with wall ‘linenfold’ carved wooden wall panels. Each panel has a space top and bottom for heraldic symbols and they were filled with the emblems of families the owners wanted to win favour with.

Thatched roof in the village of Broadmayne where we spent the night.  You can see that this roof is about knackered but also looking at the ridge line there is new straw.  So they must have been in the process of replacing it.

Thatched roof in the village of Broadmayne where we spent the night. You can see that this roof is about knackered but also looking at the ridge line there is new straw. So they must have been in the process of replacing it.

Also in Broadmayne.

Also in Broadmayne.

Leanne loves these wood panelled Morris vans.

Leanne loves these wood panelled Morris vans.

Rolling Dorset countryside with the sea in the background.

Rolling Dorset countryside with the sea in the background.

Another wonderful National Trust property - this time Lanhydrock in Cornwall.

Another wonderful National Trust property – this time Lanhydrock in Cornwall.

Lanhydrock from inside the front gatehouse.

Lanhydrock from inside the front gatehouse.

Just one of the rooms in Lanhydrock.

Just one of the rooms in Lanhydrock.

It was cold and windy but we had to tick it off the list. The tee shirt belongs to the University of Auckland Meat Club, of which Steven is the president. It is called 'Dark Side Of The Moo' but it is not sponsored by Pink Floyd - the sponsor is The Mad Butcher.

It was cold and windy but we had to tick it off the list. The tee shirt belongs to the University of Auckland Meat Club, of which Steven is the president. It is called ‘Dark Side Of The Moo’ but it is not sponsored by Pink Floyd – the sponsor is The Mad Butcher.

The sun just lit Saint Michael's Mount at the right time on an otherwise dull afternoon.

The sun just lit Saint Michael’s Mount at the right time on an otherwise dull afternoon.

The harbour at St.Ives in the very late afternoon.  The next day was forecast to be raining so we made a quick run down there to take a look.

The harbour at St.Ives in the very late afternoon. The next day was forecast to be raining so we made a quick run down there to take a look.

St.Ives from the same place but looking the other direction.

St.Ives from the same place but looking the other direction.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

Cornwall countryside.

The view from our room in the servants quarters at Kitley House.

The view from our room in the servants quarters at Kitley House.

Kitley House front view.

Kitley House front view.

Saltram House in Devon was just a quick stop, relative to others we have been to.

Saltram House in Devon was just a quick stop, relative to others we have been to.

Careful readers will recognise this room immediately.  It was designed by Robert Adam, c.1760.  It has the same attention to detail as Osterley House near London.  In particular the motif on the ceiling is repeated in the carpet.

Careful readers will recognise this room immediately. It was designed by Robert Adam, c.1760. It has the same attention to detail as Osterley House near London. In particular the motif on the ceiling is repeated in the carpet.

Another detail that I did not get a photo of at Osterley, but which was there also, was the chamber pot cupboard and screen.  During meals, if a gentleman got 'caught short' as it were, he would disappear behind the screen and make use of one of the pots hidden in the cupboard under the vase stand.

Another detail that I did not get a photo of at Osterley, but which was there also, was the chamber pot cupboard and screen. During meals, if a gentleman got ‘caught short’ as it were, he would disappear behind the screen and make use of one of the pots hidden in the cupboard under the vase stand.

Looking out to sea from the top of The Hoe in Plymouth

Looking out to sea from the top of The Hoe in Plymouth

Birds

I have been managing to catch the odd photo of local birdlife and since they didn’t really fit elsewhere, here they are…

This perch was at least 5m high - I didn't know geese ever perched high above the ground.  At Knole Park in Sevenoaks.

This perch was at least 5m high – I didn’t know geese ever perched high above the ground. At Knole Park in Sevenoaks.

Nuthatch?  Not 100% sure yet.  This was spotted while walking a path through some woods in the grounds of Kitley.

Nuthatch? Not 100% sure yet. This was spotted while walking a path through some woods in the grounds of Kitley.

Blue Tit.  Also on the woodland path at Kitley.

Blue Tit. Also on the woodland path at Kitley.

Pheasant.  There were several of these in the grounds around Kitley.

Pheasant. There were several of these in the grounds around Kitley.

Duckling.  And another near the main entrance to Saltram.

Duckling. And another near the main entrance to Saltram.

Pheasant.

Pheasant.

Goose.  At Kitley.

Goose. At Kitley.

Don't know what this one is.  Also near the main entrance to Saltram.

Don’t know what this one is. Also near the main entrance to Saltram.

Car

In general our ‘little French sports car’, a Renault Clio 1.5L Diesel, 2-door commercial version, has served us well.  We refer to it as the sports car because it only has two seats – that is how they are made with a cargo/luggage space instead of the other seats.  Anyway, it has occasionally skipped a beat on the motorways on a longer trip when on cruise control but I had put it down to gusts of wind when overtaking large trucks.  That was the only time it seemed to happen.  This week, while on cruise control on the motorway I noticed a correlation between the left indicator and the engine seeming to ‘miss’. It would seem that there is perhaps an earth problem back-feeding through the cruise control electronics. It doesn’t do anything odd when not on cruise control. Heads lights on/off makes no difference.  Since the first observation I have felt it happen sometimes when using the right indicator as well.  The effect is often subtle and could easily be caused by a gust of wind from a large truck except that now I have proven that I can start and stop the effect using the indicators.  Just to make it more interesting, it doesn’t always do it either.  So I will start by taking apart all the indicator assemblies and spraying the contacts, especially the earth, with WD-40.  Unless somebody out there has a better idea.

Computer

I have been having  some minor issues on the MacBook Pro with the wrong cursor (one I can’t see) appearing when on certain parts of the screen.  I had this at home on the iMac in February and a call to AppleCare got it fixed.  The cure is to reset PRAM (CMD-OPT-R-P).  So I did this and it rebooted straight into ‘Internet Recovery’. That was not the expected outcome!  I aborted that after 10 minutes and thankfully it rebooted normally. Scared the crap out of me!  This needs to be looked at in August when we get home and I can contact AppleCare.  Until then I will just have to put up with it.

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