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.