Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Getting Our Churchill On

Wednesday was another rainy, cloudy day, but Chartwell was on our list.  Classic Traveling had a raft of places to visit on this day, but Chartwell was our place, about 1 hour from Maidstone. 
Chartwell was the home that Winston and Clementine Churchill lived in, where Churchill lived out his life.  Churchill had run out of money at one point, and another Lord bought the mortgage with the caveat that Churchill and Clementine could live out their lives there.  When Winston died, Clementine left Chartwell and transferred Chartwell to the National Trust.  I love how the UK has preserved so much of this history for people to enjoy.  From the car park, it's a leisurely stroll up to the house.

The gardens were awesome, and we were told that Winston had a lot to do with their design.  Clementine had her own rose garden which was going dormant, except for a few remaining plants. 

I could picture Clementine in this garden, clipping and cutting her roses
Walking from the rose garden to the other gardens you pass by the back of the house, and enjoy the views that the Prime Minister enjoyed with his many visitors.  Director's chairs with some of the notable names on the back are placed along the wall to take in the views. 

Churchill’s studio exhibits many of Winstons’ paintings, with a tableau of essentials beside the easel: cigar, brandy, paint and brushes. 

A life-sized doll house is hidden in the corner of the garden….thinking of recreating this on our daughters’ land in Connecticut for the grandchildren. Who am I kidding?  I'll probably build them a cardboard hut and call it a day.😊


more dahlias



sprouting cauliflower

beans and mini zinnias

apples on a trellis

tiny pumpkins

bigger squash
I have been a big fan of panting milkweed to encourage Monarch butterflies to come to our yard; turns out Winston and Clementine were too, they had a special butterfly house.  

The interior of Chartwell was left much as it was when the Churchill’s lived there.  One of the volunteer guides told us that there were over 4500 books on site and another 2000 in storage.  Every winter a couple from the village painstakingly dusts each page of each book and other volunteers dust each piece of ceramic, and polish silver and copper.  This is a labor of love that the volunteers do cheerfully. 
Front entrance

the man himself

View from his study

One of the most valuable pieces of history is the guest book

Clementine's study


Writing desk

He had his own canon!

unavoidable selfie in the study

Lots of parlors in this place

The requisite cigar

So I asked the guides if this was the man's tub, and they said, no, that one is not on display, Winston took 2 baths a day and did not deviate from that ritual

Dining area


I can picture Mrs. Pattmore from Downton Abbey cooking up a few tasty puddings here
We decided that the rain was more than we could deal with so we stopped for cream tea, a stroll through the gift shop and then headed back to the hotel.  Next stop, Portsmouth, Westbourne and Goodwood.  

The way home was down windy, narrow roads, where the mirrors on each side of the car were touching the hedges.  Driving on the left is also a challenge, although we did it for 3 years when we lived in Japan, it does take getting used to especially in roundabouts. 

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