Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Kiplingiana

You walk down the hill from the car park to Batemans in its valley and at the turn of the path you're greeted by this person. I don't suppose s/he was there in Kipling's time, but I'm sure he'd have approved.

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We joined the National Trust last week- which means we can drop into Batemans whenever we like for free. It's about half an hour's drive from here.

One of the guides said she was telling a group of visitors about how Kipling used to roll up the carpets in the parlour so he could rough and tumble with the dogs and one of them- an elderly Canadian lady- said, "Yes, I remember that"- and introduced herself as one of Kipling's many godchildren.

I think it was the same guide who told us that the V&A is planning an exhibition of John Lockwood Kipling's work. Batemans has a number of the plaster reliefs he made as illustrations for his son's books and the museum wanted to borrow them but Batemans said "No"- which I think is a bit dog-in-the-manger of it. John Lockwood tends to disappear into Rudyard's penumbra, but he was an interesting artist and it's good that he's going to get a show of his own. Those plaster reliefs are like nothing else I know.

We did think of eating lunch at the house but the restaurant was crowded, so we drove into Heathfield and found an Indian restaurant which we had entirely to ourselves. I don't think they were expecting customers- there was no-one front of house and I had to go and announce our presence to the chef in his kitchen- but they seemed pleased to have us and cooked us a lovely meal. Ailz and I were discussing whether the Kiplings ate curry at Batemans and we couldn't decide whether that was likely or not. Did Ruddy maintain a taste for the food of the Indian bazaars? Would an English cook in the first decades of the 20th century have been able to rustle up a biriani? It would be nice to know.
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