We're going to Scotland again next year!
I'll have to count back to see how many times the 'Scottish Skeins & Skerries' tour has been offered since 1996. At this point, airfares on the routes to Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides have not been published for 2011, but I've begun reserving accommodation and can tell you that we are confirmed at the Kveldsro, our favourite hotel on Shetland. As soon as I have more information, I'll be updating my website, http://www.joycejamestours.com/. The trip will take place in early July, 2011.
One of the National Trust properties I visited in April was to Knole in Kent, the home of the Sackville family dynasty for over 400 years. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-knole.It was a stunning place and hard to take in the endless treasures--paintings, furniture, textiles and overall opulence. One area I found especially interesting was the King James II's bedroom suite, which at this point concentrates on the conservation and restoration of the bed and the textiles of the curtains and bedhangings.
While this particular set of late Stuart upholstered furniture is over 300 years old, it's condition was especially harmed in the 1960's when the Rural Industries Bureau (RIB) used synthetic adhesives which later discoloured and became brittle, causing the textiles to rapidly deteriorate. This was added to the general degradation of the bed caused by time, exposure to light, dirt, dust and relative humidity. The National Trust is working on a long-term program to conserve and where possible to restore the suite. It's a very expensive project and one which takes place in many of their properties.
On a literary note, Knole was the birthplace and childhood home of Vita Sackville West. She was unable to inherit the property as the possession passed through the male line. Later she and her husband Harold Nicolson purchased nearby Sissinghurst and developed the beautiful gardens there.