I have long been intending to join the National Trust and finally got round to doing so at the beginning of summer when, with Eva and Maia spending some days with us, the time was right for a visit to Waddesdon Manor and the purchase of the membership. For some reason I didn't take any photos that day but more than made up for it when, the last week of the school holidays, we were spending a few more days with Eva and Maia and visited a couple of National Trust properties in Kent. The first was Chartwell House, family home of Winston Churchill. The house was closed on the day we went but it was the garden we really wanted to visit. Two little girls and one fine mansion just doesn't seem a good combination! And they loved the garden and the freedom to run around. First, though, we stopped at a pub for coffee and drinks for the girls. Here's Maia And Eva As you can see, the weather was lovely, a gorgeous, end of summer day. Thirsts quenched, we continued on our way and finally arrived at Chartwell House. And the start of our walk. The first of the many water features. Fish. Lots of fish Playing follow the leader More fish. There were a lot of ponds with a lot of fish in them! And here, a patch of cyclamen, a sign that autumn will soon be with us. A vista of the beautiful Kent countryside. A glimpse of the house. And another I belong to a small photographic club on Facebook and the theme for this month is stairs. Stairs!!! My initial reaction wasn't good but in fact, having a theme makes me look at things differently and so September is my month for looking at stairs, wondering if they will make a good picture. This was my first attempt: I like it. The temptation was to think of stairs going up but I think this works. Here is another attempt, This time taken in Emmetts Garden, another National Trust property. Maia was determined to get into the picture. Here she is again, still wearing her favourite hairband! and still determined she is going to get into the photo: Emmetts Garden was our second National Trust property. Situated in Ide Hill village on the outskirts of Sevenoaks, it hadn't been our first choice. That was Ightham Mote but, having wound our way round innumerable country lanes to get there, the house and gardens were closed - much to the dismay of the many visitors who were arriving in the car park! So, sadly, Ightham Mote awaits another day and, after yet more Kent lanes, we found ourselves in Ide Hill and Emmetts Garden. Eva goes to school in Ide Hill, Maia to pre-school, so they know the village. After a quiet start the girls were soon making the most of the grounds. The National Trust has a list of 'things to do before you are 11' (well, it's eleven and three quarters really but I can't find a neat way of doing 3/4 - 11 3/4 looks ugly, doesn't it!) Anyway, one of the things is, roll down a hill. Here's Maia, rolling. Eva was more circumspect. But running round the hydrangeas was fun: Isn't that hydrangea magnificent? Maia just couldn't stop running. The gardens are a lovely venue for a gentle stroll - and, let's face it, gentle strolls are what Tony likes best! Here is a view of the Rose Garden I missed the 'tree' theme for the photo club but still try to capture them looking good. I decapitated this one - must practise more! Time for a rest and a drink: And a swing on a gate - here's how it's done Maia... But Maia was more interested in clambering over the rocks… I'm not sure that is allowed Maia. Oh dear. And out the other side. Time to go home.