Yesterday’s Brighton beach chapter was all over the place, a flurry of memories and associations. It certainly convinced me that Brighton definitely deserved a place as one of my 40 patches, the patches being in the quilt-sense of things (or places or food, though I’m trying to focus more on objects), pieces that tell my story and which I think have had an effect on me and my quirks, interests and likes/dislikes as I grow older.
Today, as with yesterday, I have a smaller-than-usual chunk of time to write but I’m feeling confident I’ll get chapter 9 stenoed today, even with a planned coffee and bread-shopping break. Chapter 9 is also not an item, it’s the National Trust, which also includes other stately homes, formal gardens and English Heritage, but mainly National Trust.
As a child, my parents did not have money for holidays or meals out (other than for special occasions) but my dad had a company car and paid petrol so we would always drive somewhere. My favourite day trips were to London (we would park, free of charge, can you believe, in Hyde Park), Bournemouth, Brighton (of course), New Forest and I also generally liked beach trips. All these trips were highlights amidst visits to National Trust properties. We had a family National Trust membership, which needed to be used A LOT to justify the cost.
Overall, I did not enjoy traipsing around old houses or around vast gardens. I have a dim recollection of being slightly more positive about Bakewell, Rudyard Kipling’s house, because it was full of bits and pieces from India and I liked The Jungle Book. But I am also fairly sure that had I been in control of the visit it would have been significantly shorter and no signs or guidebooks would have been read. I think I also kind of liked Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s house, for one room in particular that I remember as being very light with pastel greens, light wood, lots of windows and a view onto a downward slope of lawn leading to, possibly, a lake and trees beyond. Otherwise, I know I behaved like a sulky brat, thoroughly unimpressed by these trips.
I wanted to include the National Trust in my 40 patches because visiting their properties was a huge part of my childhood and has provided me with some memories of how brattish and sulky I could be and how in later life I have tried really hard to never be that sulky or bratty again. It’s also a reflection on how glad I am that I grew up in times when there was less money available on credit and when parents did what parents wanted to do, in part because there were far fewer theme parks and child-centric paid-for activities