Visiting the National Trust’s Hughenden Manor near High Wycombe

We visited Hughenden Manor, the home of Benjamin Disraeli the influential prime minister during Queen Victoria’s reign.

We thought we’d visited all of the major National Trust houses in the South East of England. It appears not, as we’d not visited Hughenden Manor. It’s less than a couple of miles north of High Wycombe – so not that far away from us in Surrey Heath.

The day of our visit, this week, had us enveloped with hot weather, which saw us chasing the shade in the delightful gardens. It’s a most interesting house, with many of the rooms much as they’d have been in Disraeli’s time. Apart from the fascinating story of Disraeli, and his love of his country home at Hughenden, wonderfully told by the guides, the house was home during WW2 to the highly secret map making operations. This piece of the Manor’s history was uncovered by accident in 2004, again this story is wonderfully told by guides. Here’s my brief video montage of our visit.

Surrey Heath’s Fly the Flag ceremony honours Armed Forces Day

When the military attend a ceremony in formal dress, the least I can do, when in their company, is to wear a suit and tie, no matter how hot the weather. [PS, now returned home, wearing T shirt and shorts, drinking tea in the shade. Even so, it’s always worth showing respect to our armed forces personnel and veterans, to whom I enjoy a chat].

The Fly the Flag for Armed Forces Day is a ceremony carried out at simultaneously with local authorities across the country. Armed Service personnel and veterans joined the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Valerie White, at the raising of the flag to honour Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24th June 2017.

At 10.30 am this morning on the lawn in front of Surrey Heath Borough Council offices I joined the the guests at the ceremony. The flag party consisted of – from left to right: WO1 David Lightfoot, Mayor of Surrey Heath – Cllr Valerie White, WO1 Mark Eastley, Lt Col Jonathan Scott MBE, Lt Col Tim Cave-Gibbs, Karen Whelan – Chief Executive of Surrey Heath Borough Council, Cllr Colin Dougan, Rev Andreas Sistig – Mayor’s Chaplain. When I say I joined the party, really I took photos, and this video.

NOTE: Apologies, have transposed the names WO1’s David Lightfoot and Mark Eastley in the video. It’s correct above. Will edit asap.

Camberley Carnival parade with colourful Nepali’s, Sikh Bhangra dancers, young gymnasts, and a super brass band

Thanks are due to the community groups contributing to the Camberley Carnival Parade on Saturday 17th June, who made the event an enjoyable spectacle.

Camberley’s Sikh Association, and Nepalese [Gurkha] Society, plus the young gymnasts, all who followed the oompah music of the Sandhurst Silver Band made for a splendid spectacle. These such events benefit from good weather, and boy, wasn’t it a lovely sunny day on Saturday.

I noticed that the energetic Bhangra dancers of the Camberley Sikh Association were running out of puff when reaching Pembroke Broadway, though as they reached Park Street they found renewed energy.

Your truly captured the parade on video.

Watch the Surrey Heath Armed Forces Day flag raising on Monday 19th June

At 10.30 am on Monday 19th June, simultaneously with local authorities across the country, Armed Service personnel and veterans will join the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Valerie White, at Surrey Heath House at the raising of the flag to acknowledge Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24th June 2017.

The flag raising takes place on the lawn in front of the Council Offices. While being a short ceremony, it is none the less a quietly moving ceremony.

Traditional and modern gardens on show at Frimley Green Village Open Gardens Day

There were nine gardens to visit at the Frimley Green Open Gardens Day yesterday. We managed to visit seven, missing out the Wharf Road Allotments, and 156 Frimley Green Road, only because the route we took from the Green was to the Church on the Green then to Bedford Lane and onto Henley Drive for garden number eight.

Charged up with tea and cake from the Frimley Green Guides and our map and garden guide we spent three and a half hours wandering around Frimley Green. Naturally, me being an inveterate talker, we got into many an enjoyable conversation. Some with the garden owners, others with visitors, especially when we found ourselves in the company of others on a similar route to us.

While all the gardens were interesting and fun to visit, with occasional humourous items, three gardens stood out. The small rear garden of Jim and Margaret Lawrence in Bedford Avenue had a garden path and path edging of recycled rubber, pleasing to walk on, and being black gave strong colour contrast to the garden.

Round the corner from the Lawrences in Bedford Crescent, Susan Philbin’s gardens, front and rear, were full of garden adornments within a strong modern design and many striking plants. The garden at Wildwood in The Hatches, well known to Frimley Green residents is of traditional English garden design with deep borders. Annie and Richard Keighley have created, in their words, “a magical haven for wildlife, a romantic showcase for tumbling roses and a peaceful leafy retreat”. Here are my photos of our visits,

My equanimity returns via fascinations at the Windlesham Fête

Visitors are happy when the sun shines on a fête, and this was definitely true at the Windlesham Fête on the Field of Remembrance yesterday. This years fête was a success – with an improved layout, new attractions, and of course the lovely weather.

Here’s my quick take on the fête.

  • Maybe I’m wrong – often am – I think the Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra seems to get bigger each time I see them, which is pleasing. During their performance the audience were sat, stood, and lolling on the ground. I guess people just love being entertained.
  • Chameleons and reptiles on the Surrey Reptile and Amphibian Society stand drew an admiring and fascinated crowd, including me too.
  • George Formby’s style of music lives on, as didn’t know the ukulele had become so popular. The ‘Get Plucky’ Ukulele Band performed – or murdered as their leader opined – Beatles classics. A pleasing diversion.
  • Kids love running. Well, young children do.

Here’s my brief photo montage from the fête,


The rebuilding of Buckfast Abbey Church is a marvel

During our recent short break to South Devon we visited Buckfast Abbey.

The whole place is a marvel of the dedication of a small group of Benedictine monks who rebuilt the Abbey Church. The Abbey is built of Ham Hill stone – a honey coloured Jurassic limestone from Somerset, and a local grey limestone. This, below, is from the Abbey’s brochure and website,

The original Abbey was founded in the reign of King Cnut, and in 2018 will celebrate its millennium.

After Henry V111’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, the Abbey fell into ruin until 1882 when exiled French Benedictine monks settled at Buckfast. Over thirty years a group of between four and six monks painstakingly rebuilt the Abbey Church, manually hoisting the stones to platforms 150 feet above ground, without helmets or handrails and exposed to the elements.

At first, while funds were low, all the stone had to be cut and dressed by the monks. In later years, they were able to buy the stone ready-dressed from the quarries. Scaffolding was made from wooden poles, lashed together with ropes and chains. Stone was lifted with manual hoists or block and tackle.

Here’s my brief photo montage of our visit,