Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The past is closer than we think

Here is an interesting quote from The Spectator this week - from Charles Moore's "The Spectator's Notes". He and his wife have just got to know a Jim Smith, who used to do building work for Rudyard Kipling! 

"In "Puck's Song", Kipling speaks of the mill at Bateman's: "See you that little mill that clacks/so busy by the brook?/She has ground her corn and paid her tax/Ever since Domesday Book". But in fact one of Kipling's first acts when he bought the place in 1903 was to stop the mill and convert it to a turbine. In the 1970's, the National Trust decided to restore the mill. It was Jim Smith who did the work himself, building the new hursting, cutting the 200 teeth, and making the bearings for the shaft. So the mill clacked once more. Only nine Jim Smiths, laid end to end, if you see what I mean, and you get back to Domesday Book."

Batemans is well worth a visit. It is as if the Kipling family have gone out for a few hours and will be turning up any moment to be amazed by all the people wandering round their house.  And you can visit the mill of the poem, clacking away.

Audrey and I got out on the doors yesterday though only for half an hour, as I had to take her for her big supermarket shop.  The sister who usually takes her is on her holidays, in Devon. And I hope she won't be snowed in. They forecast snow nationwide today, but it hasn't arrived at our bit of the English Channel as yet.

Had the worst arthritis attack of my life (so far) last week and am so glad to be over it.

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