by John Richman
On what can only be described as a “phew! what a scorcher” day in September, more than 80 hardy members arrived at the spacious car park at Penshurst Place, the historic home of our President and Lady De L’Isle.
Swiftly we were sorted into groups and, at regular intervals, we set off to savour the anticipated delights of the house and gardens.
In fact, it transpired to be the other way round! We first visited the many different gardens that surround much of the house. As a keen non-gardener, your reporter was amazed at the wealth of knowledge displayed by our members! Each garden was a separate and distinct delight, but even the keenest amongst us was beginning to wilt in the fierce heat of the afternoon.
Luckily, the tea break arrived in the nick of time! Soon, we were all seated in the splendour and privacy of the Sunderland Room, where cups of tea and very large scones, replete with jam and cream, were gratefully enjoyed.
It was both a pleasure and a privilege for us all when we were joined by Lord and Lady De L’Isle, indeed, Lady De L’Isle was soon to be seen ferrying extra jam and cream to certain tables!
Suitably refreshed we all set off in our groups to visit the House itself. The huge Barons Hall seemed at least 30 degrees cooler than the outside temperature and everone seemed quite happy to linger there! But move on we eventually did and the House proved to be a treasure trove of priceless paintings, furniture, musical instruments and ferocious arms of war.
The tour guides were all most knowledgeable and communicative, which ensured that we all suffered a surfeit of information! Fortunately, due to the heat, the late afternoon’s planned highlight, a written test about what we had learned, was cancelled.
Finally, we all visited the delightful gift shop and returned to our cars and as we departed into the warm evening sun, it was clear that we had all enjoyed a really special Association day.
Picture Credits: Peter Wyatt, Gemma Godlington, Penshurst Place