Thursday, 27 May 2010


Had an amazing visit to Ronald Blythe's house today, Bottengoms. It's an amazing yeoman's cottage from the 1600s, tucked away from the country roads of north Essex, just a mile or so south of the river Stour (either pronounced to rhyme with flower or tour).

Upon arrival, we were invited in for a cuppa tea. We first were taken on a grand tour of the house. Or a grand tour of the grand house. It's amazing place. Home of the artist Paul Nash for many years, the walls are graced with original works of art by him and others. There are bookshelves full of books--one shelf alone is dedicated to the Ronald's own books. We got to see the different rooms, investigate the markings on the timber framing, stand in the sloping guest bedroom, oogle at the art, admire the writing room, the many fire places, and sitting rooms. It's a truly charming place, made all the better by our host, Ronald Blythe. At 88, he's been around to meet most everyone and has stories he seems quite happy to tell. After the tour, in which works of art were introduced and stories told, we sat down for tea and cake, more stories were told. Then we went for a stroll around his magnificent garden, half-wild, and then for a walk down the lane. Upon our return to the house, Ronald had set out the glasses for a bit of wine to be shared. Not one of us wanted to leave, but we did, reluctantly, after about 3 hours in a magical pocket of the world.

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