I took a decadent midweek day off and went to Ightham Mote with friends.
It's a National Trust property in North Kent and as the name suggests, it does have a moat.
But this 'Mote' means to meet, to assemble, nothing to do with that water, originally built as an medieval assembly hall.
Ightham Mote is built from Kent Ragstone from a quarry, still there, a mile and a half away. With each owner came the desire to extend and modernise it.
In 1612 the Selby family inherited it and were given a new fireplace as a moving-in present. Unfortunately no-one thought to measure the space and it didn't fit, it was too tall. Undeterred they raised the ceiling on that side of the house.
We had to admit it was worth all the effort, it is a great fireplace.
Dorothy Bonham was the woman responsible for this fireplace. This is her portrait, her younger self, pictured with an open collar, declaring herself available for marriage. It worked, she married William Selby.
Here, she is a married woman, closed ruff, pictured with a 'ghost', wished for child. They both loved kids, but sadly never had any.
Dorothy Selby died by her own hand. It's not what you're thinking. She was a prolific needle worker and pricked her finger with a dodgy needle. She died of Septicaemia within a week.
Whether as an homage to Dorothy or not, there is quite a bit of needlework to been seen around Ightham Mote.
3D flowers, cross-stitch and embroidery in the housekeeper's room.
Children's samplers on the landing.
Trimmings on the curtains.
Not textiles, yet this 18th century hand-painted Chinese wallpaper captured our imagination.
Below stairs, extracts from a kitchen maid's diary tell us that the crypt was used as an air-raid shelter in the Second World War.
Bequeathed to the National Trust in 1985, they continued to make changes. Restoring and conserving Ightham Mote has taken 15 years, at a cost of £10 million.
Archaeological finds from the last nearly 700 years are on display reflecting the most extraordinary life of the house and its occupants; Medieval, Tudor, Victorian and 20th century.
Not all occupants are wanted though. There's a rat in the kitchen.