As an owner of the proverbial 'stately home' there is nothing I enjoy more than snooping around other such houses which is why I am a member of the National Trust. The other day I drove over with a cousin to a marvellous National Trust house in South Devon called Saltram. Sadly our enjoyment of the interior was frustrated because most of the rooms were so dark that they rendered the pictures which adorned the walls almost invisible to the naked eye. The reason of course is that the NT dreads the effect of sunlight and its ultra violet rays on the fabrics which cover the walls and furniture. Now I know that sunlight rots and fades such fabrics but I do query this modern obsession with 'preserving fabrics' which were never intended to be preserved for ever. I also wonder why the NT don't try putting a film of ultra violet light excluder over their windows as I have done in a couple of rooms - so far it seems to have done the trick but perhaps they do not trust modern technology. So, at Saltram, the walls of a couple of rooms are covered with a very faded and worn red velvet which, for some reason, the Trust thinks must be saved for posterity. Why? it is just boring old red velvet, why not do, what any private owner of such a house would do - rip it off and replace it with brand new dazzling red velvet? This worship of fabrics in NT houses is being taken to such a ridiculous extremeism that in future I intend to always take a torch whenever I visit one of their houses - and I advise all of you to do the same.