Volunteer Social Diary

  2009 End-of-Season Outing

Volunteers at Cressing Temple
Photograph © Stuart Banks 2009

To mark the end of the 2009 season, Grange Barn volunteers paid a visit to nearby Cressing Temple to view the magnificent Wheat Barn and Barley Barns.

 2008 End-of-Season Event 

Stuart, the NT Warden, organised a visit for the Grange Barn and Paycocke's volunteers to Coggeshall Abbey, owned by Roger Hadlee. They had a fascinating tour around the old Abbey and grounds, learning more about the connection between the Abbey, Grange Barn and Paycocke's. The Abbey was built of brick, which was not considered of high enough status, so it was plastered and in true 'Changing Rooms' style they painted lines to imitate stone blocks.

There are many explorative holes around the existing Abbey, showing what is underneath the facade. The trip enabled the volunteers to explore further Michael Horne's historical research and picture what life would have been like in this area. The Cistercians made quite an impact on the surrounding landscape by diverting the river, digging fish ponds and farming.

They were blessed with fine weather and had time to stop off at St Nicholas' Chapel and look at this wonderful building. A barbecue was then enjoyed by all back at the Barn with Stuart demonstrating his culinary skills.

Photographs © Sarah Barfoot 2008

 2007 End-of-Season Outing 

Ickworth House

Photographs © Brian Smith 200

The 2007 outing, jointly with Bourne Mill volunteer colleagues, was to Ickworth House, Park and Gardens.  The  journey took the group through beautiful Suffolk countryside in autumn sunshine .  Arriving soon after midday, they took lunch in the new West Wing Restaurant and visited the adjoining NT shop before touring the house.

Depending on preferences, there was time to browse the second-hand bookshop in the basement, stroll in the park and gardens or return to the restaurant for afternoon tea.  It was then back on the road for the return journey by way of a different route.

Many thanks to NT warden Glen for arranging the  visit and providing a smooth ride in the minibus.  Early in 2008, Glen left to take up residence in Brittany.

  2006 End-of-Season Outing

Lavenham Guildhall
Photograph © Brian Smith 2006

This year's volunteer outing, again with Bourne Mill colleagues, featured two venues in Suffolk - Lavenham Guildhall and Melford Hall.  The short journey to Lavenham allowed time for mid-morning refreshments before visiting the Guildhall of Corpus Christi and its excellent museum.  A light lunch was then taken in the adjoining tea-room before some free time for browsing in the NT shop and a short stroll around the Market Place.

The group departed from Lavenham under leaden skies for the short journey to Long Melford, a village noted for its many antique shops and two Elizabethan manor houses.  One of these was their second venue, Melford Hall.

Their arrival was in heavy rain and they were glad to take shelter in the Great Hall where they were welcomed by staff and volunteers.  Melford Hall has recently undergone a programme of refurbishment which has addressed several years of outstanding repairs and generally made the place brighter.  It has also resulted in the opening of new rooms to visitors and a tea room in an old kitchen.

It would have been nice to wander in the gardens but it wasn't weather for lingering so, after tea and cakes, they set out on the return journey to Coggeshall and Bourne Mill.  Thanks are due to NT Careership Trainee Nick Everitt for driving the minibus.

Melford Hall
Photograph © Brian Smith 2006

  2005 End-of-Season Outing

Grange Barn volunteers joined their colleagues from  Paycocke's and Bourne Mill on the last Sunday in October for a trip to Houghton Mill, Cambridgeshire.  After enjoying (enduring?) warden Glen's magical mystery tour of East Anglia, they reached their destination and after a much-needed comfort visit, enjoyed a light lunch at the on-site café.  Later they saw the mill in operation, producing the superb whole-wheat flour which is only available on-site.

There was time for a walk around picturesque Houghton village and a visit to the church of St Mary the Virgin, notable among other things for its 13th Century double piscina.  A brief return to the café and it was time for their departure, this time on the direct route.  Direct it might have been but an inexplicable delay on the M11 gave time to observe a wonderful sunset.  Once on the move they soon reached the morning's departure points.

Many thanks to NT wardens Glen and Phil for making the arrangements and driving the minibus on this, the latest in an enjoyable series of end-of-season volunteer outings.

Houghton Mill
Photograph © Brian Smith 2005

  2004 End-of-Season Outing

Sutton Hoo helmet
Photograph credit unknown

This year's outing for Grange Barn and Bourne Mill volunteers took them to Sutton Hoo, Suffolk on a chilly but bright October Sunday.  They were first treated to a guided walk around the site of the 1939 excavations that discovered the richest ship grave ever found in Britain, then they took lunch in the restaurant with its Anglo-Saxon themed menu.  Later they browsed awhile in the shop before touring the Exhibition Hall which contains replicas of some of the site's archaeological finds. 

Lastly they had a guided tour by Phil O'Donoghue of parts of the Sutton Hoo estate that are not normally open to the public.  This took them down to the banks of the River Deben with its amazing bird-life and views across to Woodbridge.  Thanks to Glen and Phil, the NT wardens,  for making the arrangements and providing safe transport.

  2004 Informal Night Out

On a warm summer Sunday evening in August, Grange Barn volunteers and their partners joined warden Glen Moon for an evening of smooth jazz at the High Barn, Great Bardfield, a sensitive conversion of a redundant barn to an entertainment venue.

Music was provided by the Jazznights Trio (Simon Brown - piano, Andy Doyle - bass, Roger Odell - drums) with vocalist Larraine Odell and guest  vocalist Jacqui Hicks of Shakatak (pictured).

Roger Odell Trio with Jacqui Hicks
Photograph © Brian Smith 2004

  2003 End-of-Season Outing

Willy Lott's house
Photograph © Brian Smith 2003

The first end-of-season outing for Grange Barn volunteers was to Flatford on the Essex-Suffolk borders on a warm October Sunday.  Their first stop was Bourne Mill where resident warden Phil O'Donoghue gave them a guided tour.  They were joined by Bourne Mill volunteers and the party departed for Flatford. 

After lunch in the café, they had a guided tour of the Flatford estate including the viewpoints of several of John Constable's paintings.  There was then time for an independent walkabout before a cup of tea and the return journey to the morning's departure points.

  2002 End-of-Season Christmas Meal

On a Friday evening in November, Grange Barn volunteers gathered at the Chapel Inn, Coggeshall for an end-of-season dinner with warden Neil Mitchell.  Early in 2003, Neil left to take up an appointment with the National Trust for Scotland on St. Kilda.

© The Chapel Inn