Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MG 80th Celebration at Penshurst Place – 8 August 2010

The annual MG SE Car Club picnic is always at Penshurst Place, and this year we were in London, and able to attend. It's a great venue, with plenty of room for the hundreds of cars which join for a great day out.

It was built in the 1340's by Sir John de Pulteney, four times Lord Mayor of London. When King Henry VIII stayed, after being lavishly entertained, he then had his host tried for treason and beheaded, and confiscated the house. It was given in 1552 to the Sidney family, after who Sydney, Australia was named, in a round about way. We enjoyed looking around the house, which certainly has a very old air. The most fascinating rooms were the two tapestry rooms. Two walls were hung with wonderful appliqué-type needlework creations and a chaise-lounge and six chairs were all covered in the same needlework design, Although aged and the chairs were faded, the actual design and effect was stunning. A real inspiration to create something similar! The commentary on the room said it was a unique remnant from the 17th century. It is amazing how some really old furnishing items survive.

The garden are formal, with 11 acres of yew hedged garden 'rooms'. We were fortunate to have just caught the roses at the end of their flowering season. The MG Club made the gardens even more enjoyable, by having a 'treasure hunt' for clues, which was not as easy as we expected. However, we did win third prize for our efforts.

At the end of the day, we made our way home via the neighbouring town of Tonbridge, having previously acquired a Jane Austen walk of the town. The town is lovely, and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk, during which we joined the many people enjoying a performance in the castle grounds. The walk took us to the school Jane's father taught in, the church where they worshiped, as well as various relatives houses. But we were a little surprised to finally read the last statement, at the end of the walk, which said they were not actually sure if Jane ever visited Tonbridge, even though the Austens originally came from here!

Then it was time for a slow and frustrating drive home on the M25, too many people must have headed out of London the enjoy the lovely summer's day.

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