Despite competition from elsewhere, we decided to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with two days of activities and a special display of historic Jaguars and Land Rovers to encourage visitors to leave their televisions and have fun on a day out.
We had some junior swing boats and a hand operated carousel for younger children, my traction engine (Ransoms Simms & Jeffries General Purpose Agricultural Engine from 1915) making a nice smokey smell and occasionally barking into action in a tug-of-war, a miniature steam railway offering short rides, Cat Weatherall, a children’s storyteller, a paper crown making workshop, skittles and other lawn-based challenges, brought by the Eastnor Cricket Club, rowing boats on the lake and to compere the day, Jem Maynard Watts, a stilt walker and juggler.
We had a quiet day on Sunday due to the weather and the draw of the great Thames pageant, but Monday was much busier and we had a good crowd. In fact, at times the house was almost too full, with the risk that visiting dogs might have been squashed, but luckily all went well. Some of the rowers may have thought they were training for the next pageant as they spent rather too long exploring the far reaches of the lake, and so others had too long a wait for their turn, but the tug of war worked well, although the engine seemed to lose 2-1 each time, which we put down to age.
Overall, the hard work of the team in our office paid off, and almost everyone had a good time despite cool and sometimes wet weather. T he mood was celebratory. We had 3500 visitors over the holiday period.
James Hervey-Bathurst 22nd June 2012