July 17th, 2021

Family Visit

Alice and the kids are visiting for the first time in a year- and staying at the Hilton in Maidstone because
it's the nearest place they could get into which has a swimming pool. Yesterday there was football and Lego and Ivy told me the plot of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and how her mother hit the pause button on a particularly gruesome image- and that was the end of that.  "Still," as I said to Ivy, "Once you've seen a thing, you've seen it".

"Ivy is dark", says her mother, approvingly.

And the other day (I think I've got this straight) she- Ivy, that is- was walking round their Leicestershire village with a divining rod- and using it to talk to a ghost. The ghost was a lady who'd lived to be 100. Ivy was asking questions and the ghost was answering- and some of the questions Ivy was asking were designedly nonsensical. I don't doubt any of this because I'm firmly convinced the world is very much more interesting than the Guardian, the Telegraph and the BBC think it is.

On the way down yesterday they had stopped off at Chartwell- which is the only major heritage site in the area I've never visited. I've never visited because I think Churchill was essentially Boris Johnson plus genius- and I'm afraid I might say so out loud while looking at his furniture. Alice says the house is "very Kentish" and the gardens "nice".

We gave Alice subscriptions to the National Trust and English Heritage as a sort of combined birthday and Christmas present- and she's intent on getting the most out of them. Today she plans to view Scotney Castle on her way over here for a barbecue and tomorrow I'm all signed up- to a tune of £25 (because I'm not a member)- to accompany them to Knole Park and Ightham Mote...