The weather forecasts kept us on tenterhooks all week before our latest Open Garden day, in fact right up until the 11.00 opening time it could have gone one way or the other. At 9.00 it was bucketing down, but the Waun Fach Met Office report said it would be sunny by 11.00 – it was – clear blue skies that lasted all the day and into the evening. (It’s rainy again to day!!)
As usual with open days there’s a lot to get ready and the forecast rain on Saturday night meant that even more had to be done on the Sunday morning as we didn’t want to put signs and things up that might get wet and damaged.
All was on schedule until I got down to the pond and found that the pump wasn’t running. 20 minutes later it was, but the timescales for everything else had become compressed. I was just getting the tractor out of the shed when, at 11.00 on the dot, the first family came in through the gate. Fortunately there were plenty of things for them to look at whilst I cleaned my hands and prepared to take their money.
From then on it was a solid procession of visitors with only a minor lull at lunchtime, but even then there was a steady trickle. 100 tickets sold came just after lunch and the final total hit the heights at 232. I didn’t dare to go and see what the car parking situation was, but no-one seemed to complain.
The tea team were rushed off their feet – I’ve never seen so much washing up going on – and had to scoot off to Waitrose for emergency cake rations. They served just over 200 teas and cakes for the charity WaterAid. If they’d done much more we might have needed water aid here!
But it’s not all hard work despite being on ones feet all day. Chatting to visitors who, at one point, seemed to be queueing up to offer their congratulations and other wonderful compliments to Sue and I makes it all worth while.
Visitors came, as usual, from far and wide (although last year’s Scottish visitors still hold the distance record), from Herefordshire, from the Vale of Glamorgan and from the Valleys to name but just a few. Some came from much closer to home with new neighbours from the valley and a couple from just over the hill in Llanthony. Some we know well, others are first time acquaintances.
We couldn’t have done it without support, so huge thanks to Sandra on the entrance, Natalie on keeping everyone sane, Caroline P on plant sales and Caroline F and her team on teas.
If you are reading this and are thinking “we should do this” then send me a ‘Comment’ or an e-mail. I won’t say its easy, but it is certainly worth the effort. And don’t forget to come along to our next Open Day on September 13th to find out what to do and what not to do – we still make mistakes even after 7 years of NGS opening.