Sunday, 9 September 2012

DO YOU LIKE KIPLING?


"I've never kipled so I don't know," was Mr N's reply to this question once, many years ago. I, on the other hand, enjoyed Rudyard Kipling's stories from an early age, preferring "Puck of Pook's Hill" and "Rewards and Fairies" to the "Jungle Books". It was, therefore, with great excitement that we visited Batemans, Kipling's house in Burwash, Sussex, last week. The interior reflects  the English Edwardian middle class taste for polished oak and all things antique, and we love that too. 



Kipling's desire to write never ceased, nor did his love of India - both are reflected in the interiors of the house.


The gardens are informal and romantic, just right for a bit of quiet contemplation...on the end of The Empire, perhaps?




Reminders of the our former colonies are all around, wherever we go we enjoy their colourful presence.

At Ardingly antiques fair.

In a Hastings antiques shop.

This wonderful elephant clock, in the "Bamboo Bedroom" at Scotney, might  well have escaped from Brighton's Royal Pavilion, itself built in the fashionable Indo-Saracenic style in the early 19th century.
India is part of my family's story too...

A Bit of a Do in Dinapore 1933.

Here is Mohamed Amin, Proprietor of H. Kader Bux & Sons, entertaining the non-commissioned officer's wives and children of the Royal Berkshire Regiment before they set sail back to England after 4 years in India. My grandmother sits behind him, in a dark print dress, and my father is in the back row, looking quite at home, beside the blonde in the beret. For the rest of his life he never forgot this adventure - being followed by howling hyenas in the dark, finding geckos on the bedroom walls, giving silver rupees to holy men... 
In the late 1940s he taught my mother, his new wife, to make an authentic curry and requested tinned lychees and guavas at the local grocer's shop. When he wanted us to hurry up he would say "Jaldi! Jaldi!" - Gujarati for quick or fast. Now there is a chain of Indian takeaway shops by that name - it makes me smile and remember!

Here is the little table that Granny brought back from Dinapore, now Dinapur. One day I will give it to my daughter-in-law - who is Indian.
                                                         

On the way home from Sussex we stopped in Cambridgeshire to have a look at Wimpole Hall - the last owner was Kipling's daughter, Elsie Bambridge, his only child 
to survive into adulthood. I was keen to see if her home reflected her father's taste for the Orient, but it is not a house full of memories - perhaps too many at Batemans were sad ones. She restored this classical house with a light touch, faithful to its origins.
                                                      

Then we found her bedroom - "Full of Eastern Promise" don't you think ?


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20 comments:

  1. What a fascinating post you do write Nilly and you have such adventures visiting the past. You do take a very atmospheric photo and my favourite is the window with the creeper and the people in the garden, a fantastic composition. I love indian textiles and the artefacts, I am lucky to have a few little gems myself, all to do with pattern, texture and colour. How fantastic to have family ties in India and that your father remembers the experience. wonderful jayne x

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    1. Clever Mr N took the window photo, Jayne.I love Indian textiles too especially kanthas, lightly quilted with running stitches and often embroidered with animals and figures,usually on a white background.

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  2. I do love the 'circlical' feel of this post and the links between antiques, India, your family, your interests and your daughter-in-law (I know, there's no such word as circlical but it feels 'right')
    And oh how I love those window panes!!
    All wonderful, always.
    Axxx

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    1. Circlical - what a lovely word!

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  3. This post is like an interesting little essay on so many aspects and beautifully illustrated. I agree with Jayne I love the photo taken through the window to the people chatting innocently away in the garden, little knowing that they would soon be circulated all over the blogosphere. I love all of these old empire touches - Asian and Oriental, I feel they give a house character.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary - Mr N took the window photograph. He is very good at noticing interesting visual curiosities.

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  4. I must admit that I like MISTER Kipling, and all that he produces but Kipling the author has never caught my imagination.
    I love the photo you've taken of leaves thru the window in his house.
    The phrase "...- it makes me smile and remember!..." is such a good phrase to be able to use.
    Thankyou for a lovely post- as yours always are- have a good week
    x

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    1. I've seen a photo of your slender self with Busy Lizzie and I do not believe you EVER touch a Mr Kipling product.

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  5. This is a great post, with some lovely images, made perfect for me with the images of Wimpole Hall. I was lucky enough to have an off season private guided tour from a friend who was a live in curator for the National Trust at the time. It was incredible to enter each room, which had been packed away for the winter, and discover the treasures within.J.

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    1. Lucky you! I hadn't realised how interesting the house would be as the National Trust tend to promote the farm as the main attraction.

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  6. Nilly I haven't even read your post yet... my jaw dropped for two reasons, one I love Batemans and Rudyard Kipling and two, you virtually whistled past us and didn't call! We are not a million miles away... Goudhurst Kent, look it up...
    next time perhaps?

    Now I'm off the read and enjoy your post!

    LLX

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    1. Aaah Goudhurst! We've often enjoyed picnic by the village pond after a look round the antiques shop on the high street. We love to pretend we're Vita & Harold.

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  7. Loved this post. Circlical indeed, read til the end like an article in a fave magazine. Just love the family photo, what a gem. M x

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    1. I treasure the photo. India certainly meant a lot to my father who lived long enough to be delighted by the arrival of two Indian great grandchildren.

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  8. Like every one else here, I enjoyed this post and how the pictures and your words talked us through nilly! LoVed the vintage photograph of your dear Pa and Grandmother(so very nostalgic)...
    Thank you also for leaving such kind words over on mine, a roller coaster of emotions for us really!
    loVe Maria x

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    1. Isn't it wonderful to have family photos - I know people who have hardly any. Must make sure to keep them safe for the future...

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  9. What a wonderful post, I love Kiplings house, what wonderful taste. I too am a big fan of Edwardian interiors and colonial antiques. I nursed a man many years ago who was an oil merchant in India in 1930, he wrote a book about his many exploits and signed a copy for me, needless to say it is one of my most treasured possessions. I love your family photo, people were just so elegant in those days.
    Jo xx

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    1. I love colonial antiques too, my favourite being a floral-painted Kashmiri table with twisty legs. Your book sounds fascinating! Whatever we think about our colonial past it certainly enabled a lot of ordinary people to broaden their outlook on life.

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  10. I'm just catching up after my holidays and as you know I'm amazed to see this post about Kipling and Bateman's was posted on one of the very days that I was staying at his former New England home Naulakha in Vermont! I must get to Bateman's soon and to Wimpole Hall whose connection with Kipling was news to me. Thank you. Mr N will now that his comment is not original - some wits had put it into the Log Book at Naulakha ;-). Love the personal connections you make to each post. Is there any way I can have each new post sent straight to my Inbox without waiting to catch up in Google Reader? Barbara

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  11. I tackled Mr N about his joke and he admitted that he'd read it in a student rag magazine in the late 1960s!
    Thank you for your kind compliments - I enjoy your posts too and envy all your adventures, not least because you visit places that hold great interest for me too.
    I'm afraid don't know how to get the comments to your inbox. I found your blog via Stuck-in-a-Book which I think is a Google Blog like mine. If his posts go to your inbox perhaps he could let you know how it works, then you could let me know.
    Marilyn.

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