This week I was asked if I would be a driver/tour guide for a friend of a friend visiting locally from Denmark. As Im self employed its quite easy for me to juggle my working time and get time off during the week if I need to. Plus my friend thought that I would enjoy it, and so did I.
It was arranged a few weeks ago, and I was really looking forward to it. I cleaned my car in preparation (god did it really need it). I collected my new friend from the train station and it was really nice to meet him at last after all the correspondence. He had two specific places he wanted to visit and I added a few more to the list, but we didn’t want to rush our day. I had already programmed the destinations into my loyal Sat Nav, and I’m really pleased I had it. It took us down lots of gorgeous country lanes, through the Kent countryside, and it was such a sunny beautiful day.
Our first stop was Downe House, where Darwin and his family lived. A beautiful house surrounded by lovely gardens. I believe more in Creation than Evolution, as it was the way I was brought up. But the exhibitions in the house were lovely, especially his voyage on HMS Beagle. I also liked the very personal story of how he met his wife, and about his children.
Next to visit was Knole House and Park. Its somewhere Ive always wanted to visit. You can just enjoy the grounds with the deer, or you can go inside the house. Well I say house, its more of a huge mansion, and well worth a visit. Its still lived in, which gives it an added magic. The house and buildings show the history of the Sackville family, lots of portrait paintings and rooms set out with furniture from the Tudor times. We stopped and had lunch here, the sun had gone behind the clouds but it was still nice to eat outside.
Last visit of the day was to Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s family home. I think this was my favourite. Maybe because its recent history. I only recently learnt that Churchill was a painter, as well as an author and there are displays of both at Chartwell. The gardens here are beautiful, lots of ponds, waterfalls and a couple of lakes, as well as a round outdoor swimming pool Churchill had put in. After looking round the house, we sat for a little while just taking in the beauty of the place.
My new friend was very easy to get on with, we chatted and laughed like old friends (well not so much of the old lol). The day had gone so quickly, it seemed like no time at all I had to drop him back off to the train station. When I got home I noticed that I had caught the sun a little, my freckles were much in evidence, and I certainly slept really well due to the walking and the fresh air.