The now famous Isle of Wight bus arrived in the village promptly at 10:15am. As prompt were all the passengers who had started to gather and board the bus. With drivers Don and Richard in charge everyone was soon on board, all clutching picnic hampers and clinking bags. Ever one to add to the fun, Solar Sam had brought chalk with which he marked up the front tyre – everyone could now ‘take a bet’ on which mark would end at the top.
Our mystery tour took us along the Poldens to Ashcott and then out past Somerton – some guessed the destination – it was Lytes Cary, a rather wonderful small country house in lovely gardens. On arrival our NT minder met us and gave a really informative introduction to the history of the house and its occupants. Most amazingly, the Great Hall, despite having served as an animal stall and cider pressing room, still had all of its wooden paneling. Apparently the panels had been removed and stored in the attic, waiting to be rediscovered. The Lytes who took the house in Henry VIIIs time chose to pay rent by providing the contents of three swans nest instead of the £10. Their crest duly became three swans!
Our thanks go to Richard Newman and the Isle of Wight bus museum (open all year, free entry) and to Don as drivers and to Sally who kept us all in order. Having covered the cost of the fuel we were able to raise £96 for church funds (including Sam’s wheel game that was won, quite coincidentally by Jill!)