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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

The home of Sir Winston Churchill

 April 23rd

 How could I have forgotten the church bells! Last time we were on this site, way back in 2022, not only did the bells disturb the peace, but planes buzzed overhead on the approach to Heathrow (or was it Gatwick?) As soon as the chiming of the hour started, we both realised this would be our wake-up call in the morning. And so it was, 6 am, and the first of the six chimes woke us. It did mean that whoever got up first put the heating back on, and of course, seeing as Ian is the controller of all things electric in MB, it was his duty to get up and make sure I was warm enough and to make the tea! It didn't mean we got away early, in fact it was a lazy start to the day seeing as we couldn't get into Chartwell House until after 10 am and as it was but 8 miles away, no need to rush.

So Chartwell House was the home of Sir Winston Churchill. I can't say I ever met him, even though at the time of my childhood, he was the MP for Wanstead and Woodford and Woodford Green was my home from 1961. I stayed in Woodford, living with my parents, until I got a house that went with the veterinary practice where I worked from 1971. I left in 1973 to marry Ian and head up to Leicester. On my way to school the statue was on route to the bus stop, so in a way, this visit made me reminisce about the good old days.

This taken from WiKi

Statue on then green by the high road in Woodford Green.

This taken from the Ilford Recorder with another photo (CLICK HERE) of after he died, the statue was adorned with wreaths from his constituents.

The day was a far cry from that of yesterday. Overcast with drizzle in the air and still very cold. Our time slot to see the house was at 11.10am, we arrived at the car park at 10 45. Hmm should have left earlier after all!  It was a bit of a dash from there, downhill first but then a climb that got the heart pumping and my breathing heavy, and there were steps! Groan...I am soooo out of condition! Anyway we made it with minutes to spare, another self-guided tour, suits us because we could take our time taking it all in. 

The first thing that greeted us was the beautiful cream carpet! Throughout the house, how unpractical was that, what with so many dirty shoes treading all over it! Anyway, all the rooms were beautifully presented and the guides in each room willing to chat without going OTT.

Gifts given to Churchill from far and wide.

Because time was tight (we had to get to Portsmouth Marina car park before all the motorhome slots were taken) it was a very quick look around the garden. Nowhere near as impressive as Hever Castle grounds, it was still nice though, and I know we missed quite a bit. We have vowed to return when we do Hever Castle again. Its that close by, it would be silly not to.

By 13.30 the route had been put into the sat nav and we were away. After a few delays on route, and a stop to get a refill gas cylinder, the Marina Keep car park was reached. Plenty of spaces, so we could have stayed longer at Chartwell after all. A short walk away was the marina, gosh there is some wealthy folk around. Lovely boats but I wouldn't change FS for one of those even if I was offered a million pounds!. 

Tomorrow we get the ferry to the Isle of Wight. Years and years have gone by since we were there last, so looking forward to seeing it all again after all this time.

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