Thursday 12th December was not a nice day. Those of you who can remember will recall that there was not a deluge of rain, more a precipitation of Biblical proportions, a prelude to all the flooding in the locality. We who had arranged to go to Kingston Lacy to see the Christmas decorations, inside the house and the illuminated gardens outside, watched with a degree of trepidation as it poured and poured and poured.

And then, as if by magic, the rain stopped at about 3pm and there was even a glimpse of some unaccustomed yellow stuff in the sky as we made our way to Kingston Lacy. Everyone who said they could come and their guests, arrived as if there had been no adverse weather conditions at all. After suitable sustenance in the café – we’re not called Tea at the Museum for nothing! – we made our way into the house to see the Christmas decorations.

The inspiration for the decorations, both on the stairs and adorning the enormous Christmas trees in some of the State Rooms, was ‘Making Memories’ and was taken from the Edwardian journals of the Bankes children, including the last owner of the house, Ralph. The trees were beautifully decorated and the presents wrapped in brown paper and ribbon, which took me back to my childhood. (Oh dear, showing my age now…) Some members enjoyed the board games set out in the Saloon – dominoes, snakes and ladders and jigsaws. And of course we were able to enjoy the wonderful art collection on the State Room floor.

And then it was time to venture outside. A choir sang Christmas carols in the courtyard and the fine weather held. All agreed that the gardens and trees were beautifully illuminated, especially the fernery, which looked magical. There was more to see this year than last and the Japanese garden was the subject of many photographs. Thoughtfully, there were rubber mats on the soggiest paths so everyone who wanted to was able to safely negotiate the illuminated route and see all that they wanted.

So, unexpectedly, given the weather at the start of the day, we were able to do everything that we wanted and enjoy Kingston Lacy at its festive best.

Pam and Kay