At our last Open Day, in August, we were over-run with visitors, which caused traffic congestion, leading to rows with exasperated motorists and, after an old gentleman had collapsed in our kitchen garden, a prolonged drama involving three “First Responders” who arrived in separate cars and an ambulance which couldn’t get through. Today, in comparison, we had a dream day. 346 visitors came, with the good sense not to arrive all at once; the weather was fine but not too hot and we raised a very handsome £1,781 for the NGS. I spend the day with a bucket and secateurs, dead-heading and tidying up, but mainly chatting amiably to the visitors, and doing my best to answer their questions. Margaret has the hellish job of serving endless teas, helped by her friend Joyce and our eldest daughter Jo. Meanwhile our youngest, Sara, is in charge of the bottom gate, helped by Matt, and our middle daughter Georgie looks after the top gate and the plant stall, helped today by another young volunteer, Chelsea. These girls have worked patiently in all weathers all day for all four of our open days this year, without a single word of complaint, which has made their old dad very proud.
The photo is of Sara and two of her friends on an earlier day putting on an impromptu ‘synchronised swimming’ show for astonished visitors in the Orangery.