It all started when I told my husband he couldn’t buy me a KitchenAid mixer.
My husband and I don’t really do presents. It isn’t that we don’t love one another, it’s just that I always find a better use for the money. Not very romantic I know but practical, very practical!
He wanted to buy me a KitchenAid mixer when we moved into our new house. I squealed with delight that our green kitchen looked like it was from the set of Great British Bake Off… it doesn’t really but I’m obsessed with that show. As I was stringing up bunting (yes, really) he said “All that’s missing is a KitchenAid. You’ve wanted one forever. Let me get you one… please?”. Absolutely not. We need shutters for the living room. He started texting me from work “I got money back from my season ticket. Buy a KitchenAid. Seriously. PICK ONE.”. We really should get our daughter a new wardrobe. “We don’t have to pay Council Tax for February and March. KitchenAid. Get it done.” The garden fence really does need replacing.
Well, it does.
When my birthday rolled around my husband asked what I wanted. I dragged my heels. My birthday falls right after Christmas so it really isn’t the time to splurge. I told him that I’d just book a pedicure or a massage at a later date. “You said that last year and you never did it”. Oh. I promised I’d think about it. Yesterday he turned to me and said “Did you ever get anything for your birthday?”. I told him it didn’t matter And I mean it, it doesn’t. But he wasn’t pleased.
Whilst looking through the weekend supplements a leaflet fell out advertising The National Trust. ’12 months membership for the price of 9!’ it exclaimed. So I had a look. If I asked for membership to the National Trust would that make me more geriatric than I am already? Quite possibly. I looked it up online and it seemed like it might be a good idea. Free unlimited entry at over 500 “special places” across the UK.
I’m fascinated with British history generally. During the brief period we lived in England when I was primary school age I only remember learning about the Romans (we went on a school trip to Bath). By the time we returned I was a teenager. I didn’t choose History as one of my GCSE subjects for fear that I’d be too behind to ever catch up. It wasn’t until years later, having devoured Philippa Gregory books and The Tudors (Showtime), that I started realising how fascinating it all is.
I suggested becoming a NT member to my husband, showing him the website, “It says you can visit castles and forts”. He was SOLD. The man whose office mates have nicknamed “Human Wikipedia” is always keen on educational trips. You’d think my daughter would need the hard sell but she’s generally very enthusiastic about this sort of thing. We have no plans for a holiday this year. We can’t really travel with our daughter right now anyway (medical stuff) so having some day trips to look forward to really appeals to me!
So I signed us up, ticking the birthday present box in the process! Family membership was £78 for the year (normally £104). This covers two adults and up to five children living at the same address. Bearing in mind that some NT properties charge £15pp for single entry I thought this was great value!
Undeterred by the grey skies and drizzle – we’re British after all! – we decided to make use of our new membership straight away and headed to Hughenden in Buckinghamshire.
Hughhenden was the country home of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. We got to see his home, personal memorabilia, the formal gardens, the ice house bunker and the basement that houses the secret war rooms. We learnt about Disraeli’s political career, his relationship with Queen Victoria, his family tree and all about Operation Hillside (WWII). All good stuff. We had a simple lunch in the on site café. I love a café!
My daughter and I would also say that one of the day’s highlights was meeting a fellow visitor’s 10 week old Pug puppy, “Prada”.
I can’t scoff too much at the stupid name as my older sister once named a puppy of ours “Chanel”!
If you’re interested in The National Trust and the work they do click HERE