It takes us less than a day to return home from Ottawa. Why then should it take two and a half days to return from Kent?
After some last photos of Water’s Edge and a long chat with Gemma and Ed about the ups and downs of renting out a cottage in your own garden, we reluctantly departed the lovely cottage that had been our home for the past week.
Several hours on the M25 later, and our butties were finally unwrapped in the delightful gardens at Cliveden, another National Trust property. We’ve certainly got full value from our National Trust membership this week!
Whilst the gardens are fully open to the Public, the house at Cliveden is a posh hotel, a place of history, mystery, intrigue and scandal for over 350 years.
The current house dates from 1851, previous incarnations having been destroyed by fire, and the most notorious scandal involving the house was the Profumo Affair, which my contemporaries will no doubt remember – here’s an extract from the Wikipedia entry about that:
In the early 1960s, Profumo was the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's Conservative government and was married to actress Valerie Hobson. In 1961, Profumo met Christine Keeler, a London call girl, at a house party at Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Lord Astor. Many years later Profumo would claim, in discussion with his son, David, that he had met Keeler previously at a night club in London called Murray's and "probably had a drink with her." Also present at the Cliveden party were Profumo's wife and the fashionable osteopath, Dr Stephen Ward, a long-standing acquaintance of Keeler. The relationship with Keeler lasted only a few weeks before Profumo ended it. However, rumours about the affair became public in 1962, as did the allegation that Keeler had also had a relationship with Yevgeny "Eugene" Ivanov, a senior naval attaché at the Soviet embassy in London. Given Profumo's position in the government and with the Cold War at its height, the potential ramifications in terms of national security were grave, and this, along with the adulterous nature of Profumo's relationship with Keeler, quickly elevated the affair into a public scandal.
Our journey continued uneventfully over the next two days, via Solihull where I took part in the Saturday morning Parkrun, (‘parkjog’ in my case) the first time I’d tried jogging for over a month, due to a pulled calf muscle – luckily it stood up to the test. The runners here are much quicker than those I usually jog along with at Wythenshawe, with a turnout of 160 people, many of them club runners, whereas Wythenshawe – a newer event – usually gets fewer than 100 participants.
Finally, a visit to Dot, on her 87th birthday, concluded our holiday. It was good to see her continuing to recover, albeit slowly, from her hip replacement that got infected. Hopefully the antibiotics she needs to take for the next 2-3 months will get rid of the infection and obviate the need to go through the whole process again…
Here we are with her last Christmas Eve.