The realisation that we haven't made very good use of our NT membership this year and the end of the season looming, prompted a visit to Leith Hill Place earlier this week. It's one of the more recent acquisitions and not far from here.
From an ascetic point of view it's not a great looker nor is it full of beautiful objet d'art. What it does have though is oodles of charm and ambience. Where else can you take your well behaved dog inside or purchase a cuppa and a bun for a donation only [the cheese scones were to die for!]
It's associated with a few famous names, but the one which stands out is Ralph Vaughan Williams who lived there as a child. He was, by all accounts, a charming chap. Affable and self effacing with a strong philanthropic streak. Slightly down at heel and scruffy in real life the house seems to reflect his personality. The info board did say though that he would have been mortified at the fuss being made over him!
For those of a musical bent you can see his piano and there are a couple of other ones available, so that anyone who can, is welcome to tinkle the ivories [the concert piano is only for professional players]. For people like me, without a musical bone in their body, there's these. Boomdockers...of course I had a go!
The biggest surprise though is to be found down in the cellar. These wall paintings were created in the 1960s by the set designer Oliver Onions and water feature designer William Pye who were house guests at the time. They are copies of the friezes at Knossos. Sadly they were defaced by the boarders when the house was a school.
A quick whizz of a trip but most agreeable. My only regret is that we were too early to see the rare fungi that grows on the lawn. I appreciate though that for most people that probably doesn't have quite the same pull!!