A rare free weekend in my diary, so I caught a train from Charing Cross to Chilham in Kent to spend the night with my old schoolfriend Nick (of whom I am terribly proud: he’s a professional tenor who sang with the Tallis Scholars) and and his wonderful family. My beloved Fran & Jemima (above) picked me up from the train and we went into the village for the obligatory forage through the picture perfect gift shop, and gaze through the gates at Chilham Castle.
I grew up about ten miles away, so it’s always bittersweet returning to Kent, but I only have good memories of Chilham, a village where I spent lots of time as a child, because of Chilham Castle, a beautiful Grade 1 listed Jacobean house, which used to have medieval jousting displays and a falconry in the grounds
Now the home of Stuart Wheeler (model Jacquetta’s father), when I was little it was owned by Lord Masseerene & Ferrard. His grand-daughter was in my class at school and when we went to the castle on field trips she used to take us into the private quarters to explore.
The grounds are beautiful, first laid out by John Tradescant the elder, and then redesigned under Capability Brown, but the medieval theme park and falconry of my childhood are long gone, and the gardens are only open to the public one Tuesday a month now.
After all that nostalgia Fran wheeled me sharpish in this direction:
Jemima had chocolate cake, F the coffee and me, well, I have been incarcerated in a health clinic for eight days, so I celebrated being sprung with this:
These scones were the size of a newborn’s head. Defeated, we smuggled the second one out in F’s coat pocket. Then it was off home for supper on laps, X Factor and late night gossiping, after the infants had retired to bed in high dudgeon, deprived of late night frolics.