I can’t believe my birthday outings are continuing, and today’s adventure was a visit to Batemans in Burwash. The home, after moving there from Rottingdean, of the great late Rudyard Kipling.
The first thing that struck me was the fabulously peaceful location, and the vegetable garden that still provides the estates ‘basics’, and has done so right through the Second World War, and now for the their lovely café.
We commenced our visit with a pot of English Breakfast tea and a slice of coffee and walnut cake.
Mind you I suppose the cakes would be good by Mr Kipling – I think the author of the Jungle Book would like that little joke.
After filling our tums, we wandered the grounds and found a fabulous pond with glossy cream water lilies and Rudyard’s little green paddle-wheel boat, with its matching green tarpaulin cover.
Then it was on down and across a small streams wooden bridge and then a little further to the watermill.
Here they make the flour for their café’s bread, and to sell to visitors.
Unfortunately this mill will not be working for some time as the main ‘pit’ wheel’s wooden shaft broke a few months ago, and will take to the end of this year to replace.
Back in the main house the coolness and the calmness of the place overwhelms. And the wonderful oak panelling and furniture ooze class and workmanship from a bygone age.
In fact some of the oak wall paneling was taken from an even older house, and this is easily recognisable from its hand tooled finish – quite exquisite.
Rudyard’s writing room is tranquil with superb views down the valley and the seclusion of the estates surrounding 300 acres is tangible.
The last room we viewed was the West Bedroom, which overlooks the pond to the south and the watermill to the west.
On a small oak bedside table was a small beautifully veneered wooden box, half the size of a shoe-box, and after a brief discussion with the lovely ‘Batemans’ volunteer, it turns out it is a Magneto-Electric machine made by FG Otto & Sons in New York in about 1890.
Apparently these devices were very popular in the second half of the 19th Century, being used to “cure” nervous diseases by providing the user with an electric shock!
There is no record of Kipling, or anyone else, using it and so it may just have been an oddity to show guests.
That reminds me…
I must give my back another go with our new TENS ( transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine later.