Ace of Hearts cardiac support group

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The day set for this trip was Wednesday 22 July and it turned out to be a dry day with some good sunny spells – just right for a drive out into the country and a walk round a country estate which had a Wildfowl Reserve, a period Manor House and a Motor Museum to see.

We met in the Crayside Gym car park as usual with a published departure time of 0930 and for a change everyone made it in time including Tony (although only just).

Because of the number of people who wanted to go on the trip (28) we had rented 2 minibuses with Guy driving 1 and myself driving the other. Neither bus was completely full which was good as it meant we could spread ourselves out and be a bit more comfortable.

We drove in convoy with Guy leading (as he knew the way) by way of the A2, M25 and then the A22 and finally a long windy narrow road led to the entrance to the estate. We parked the buses at about 1100 and made our way to the entrance where we equipped ourselves with guidebooks, maps etc. and some of the ladies had a competition to see who could buy the silliest item in the gift shop!

Phil and June were arriving separately by Phil’s Limo Service and we went for a coffee at the café just inside the main entrance to wait for them.

After refreshing ourselves with a coffee (and some people had to have a cake as well) we set off to walk round the Wildfowl Park, which is located just beyond the house and gardens. We saw lots of different wildfowl including peacocks, flamingos, black swans and a peculiar bird with what looked like a judge’s wig on it’s head – see the photos on the AoH website. We frequently had to drag Louisa back from the brink as she seemed determined to get up close and personal with any of the wildfowl that came within a 3 mile radius of her!

At 1pm we all had lunch either at the café or in the picnic area for those who had brought their own food and then at 2pm we were booked in for a look round the house. The owners definitely had a thing about wildfowl as 1 room had 96 pictures of ducks etc.!

After that we went to the Motor Museum where we saw a Mark II Jaguar just like Morse’s, a Sinclair C5, a F1 Benetton car that had been driven by Nelson Piquet and plenty of iconic old cars & motor bikes along with period road signs and adverts. I could have spent several hours there but we had to head back home so at 1530 we all assembled back at the minibuses and departed. We had a good run home except for a queue to turn onto the A2 from the M25 caused by Operation Stack. We were back at the Gym car park just after 1700 where Guy managed to persuade his passengers to applaud him by refusing to open the doors until they did!!!