Sandringham House and Gardens (1 May)
A pleasant coach journey in fine weather delivered us to Sandringham and the private home of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. As we entered the gardens a notice by the gate informed us that this was a 'Protected Site under Section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005'.
Such information was soon forgotten as I saw what I had really come to see (I am a retired geologist) - the use of Carstone, a local iron-rich brown sandstone, within the grounds and buildings. They were using the classic massive form of this rock to renew steps by the pond (top marks for this), whilst the thin-slabbed form was much in evidence in many of the buildings including Queen Alexandra's Nest by the lake.
I was also much impressed by the lamp posts with the Royal Coat of Arms, with one even having a crown on its top! One of the buildings sported a sun dial and, for the mathematical members, an Equation Table showing that this timepiece was slow by three minutes on the day of our visit.
And then into the house, a part of which is open to the public (the staff inside were most helpful- more top marks). A quick look in the bookcases soon found the 1830s Bridgewater Treatise by the Rev William Kirby of Barham near Ipswich - I wonder who last read them? There was of course so much to see, but I was interested to see that the State Rolls Royce Phantom V (used 1961-c.2002) had an 'AA' badge on it (were they ever called upon?) and that the Duke of Edinburgh collected Royal-related cartoons - there was a fine specimen of the Duke featuring in a Giles cartoon. Then off to the Visitor Centre (getting an ice cream on the way) where people were exchanging pictures of the Queen on coins and banknotes in return for pictures of Her Majesty on other items!
Thank you June Peck for an excellent 'June day' in May