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The house is now closed to public visitors after a season where we have faced the challenges of so much bad weather. Several of our special events, but fortunately not the Big Chill in the Park, were badly affected. It was not a great year either for ice cream sales, even though we had a new outlet conveniently placed between our gift shop and the tearoom.

But the comments of the brave who risked getting wet and visited the house were  encouraging. They enjoyed themselves, found the rooms on display interesting and the guides welcoming. Some of the comments were written in foreign languages, mostly central European, I think, and I hope I am right to assume that they too were happy.

The rain has been good for the recently-planted trees, however. Land Rover, who have been using our tracks for developing and demonstrating their vehicles for nearly 40 years, generously decided to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the company by planting 60 oak trees in the Park. They have had a good start. Meanwhile, in the Grounds where we are replanting the Victorian arboretum under the expert guidance of Tom Stewart-Smith, we saw most of this year’s new planting flourish-some sort of silver lining from all the cloud, but we would like it drier next year!     JH-B                         �