The Open Day
Updated: Apr 30, 2019
22 April 2019
Everyone gets up early and I start icing and decorating my cakes so I can be out of Janet’s (our cake making supremo) way when she arrives at 9.30am. I am trying to tidy up and wash up to give her the best space possible to work in – not easy if you are familiar with my “non kitchen”, with it’s single tiny work surface. It is clear where the McHugh priorities lie and it is not with internal decorations, although I would clearly love a better kitchen – I should put that on one of our “to-do lists”.
We have opened the Organ room windows so the actual Organ playing will be heard through the sculptural installation of organ pipes just outside the house. I decide it would be best for me to collect our star Organ player, Betty Washbrook, so that she can be comfortably installed and playing by the time people start to arrive outside.
I arrive at Betty’s house but receive no response at the door. It is at times like this that my reluctance to have a mobile phone can be a bit of a problem. After prolonged knocking and calling through the letter box, I find a neighbour and call home to discover that Betty has already arrived there, having received a lift from our old Vicar, Andrew Gandon, who had called to visit her. Apparently they did leave a message which no one picked up, which is not surprising as everyone is doing some last minute things.
Still feeling strangely calm, considering the garden is shortly about to be invaded and I am on the other side of the Village, I head home. I leave my car in a neighbouring street (to free up as much parking space as possible at the house) and I walk up the track to the house, stopping to talk to James, Luke and Paul, who, all armed with walkie-talkies are getting in position to organise the car parking at the Church – my biggest worry for the day.
The Open Day goes very well. Lots of people, about 400, who are all very enthusiastic and appreciative of the gardens, the weather and of course the cakes. Unlike last time, I venture further than the courtyard and mainly because I am wearing my “Head Gardener” T shirt (bought for me by Meave), I end up talking to lots of people. Many old friends have turned up, some I have not seen for years, which is lovely. People seem to like the Guide Book and we sell 71. Our performance of “Arcades” goes surprisingly well, considering we had not rehearsed it. Quite a lot of people came up to the arched wall to watch and they seemed to enjoy it. It did feel special re-enacting this historical drama for probably the first time in 400 years. To my delight, I am complimented several times on the smooth operation of the parking facilities for the day.