Even after all this time, the roads round Horkesley and Nayland are incredible sights, great drifts 8 and 9 feet deep by the hedges. Waller had no skid-chains on his wheels, and we had several awkward moments when going up hills.
The Red Park looked lovely, under the even blanket of snow, with just that air of decay and neglect that almost all estates have in Essex, particularly when they have been in the hands of a very old person.
The carriages, which almost all stand in a large coach-house adjoining the stables, are in excellent condition, in fact until the death of old Crane, the coachman, they were kept as if for use, although the sad thing is that when the late Capt. Kelso bought a car about 1912, he never drove a horse again, although the horses were still kept until about the end of the last war.
Naturally, I should like to buy the whole lot, and indeed they ought to be bought and permanently preserved, but this is quite out of the question. However, I am going to try for the mail-phaeton, which is early and in very good order. I should dearly love to drive this, but I fear that will never be.
The stables are good and old fashioned. They are all quite clean, with no sign of their former occupants except the pathetic names still put up over the mangers – “Major”, “Niger”, “Tom”, etc. Long disused stables always look incredibly forlorn, even worse than houses do.
Sketch by E J Rudsdale from his journal, 1st Feb 1940: 'Semi-Mail-Phaeton, Whitlock, London, c.1850' (Courtesy of Essex Record Office)