The second Wednesday in June is the Parkinsons Annual Day Out and this year was no exception. This time the venue was Trentham Gardens near Stoke on Trent and as our coach set off I was feeling a certain amount of trepidation, having heard various reports of the place, not all of which were complimentary.
Initial feelings on arrival, as I saw the lines of shops and cafés all waiting to relieve us of our hard-earned cash, tended to confirm my misgivings but once through the entrance into the gardens themselves they were instantly banished by the views in front of me, all under blue skies and hot sunshine. Over to the right were the ruins of Trentham Hall, and as soon as I could I was down there with my camera, indulging in my hobby of photography, which includes taking pictures of ruins.
Strolling through the gardens, camera at the ready, it was easy to get snap happy as beautiful blooms were to be found everywhere, some of them of such colour that they seemed almost larger than life. A stand of six feet tall, pure white Foxtail Lilies drew me towards them, to find that they'd attracted honey bees, and I spent two or three minutes trying to capture them on camera while they rushed from floret to floret. Passing and photographing some huge but beautiful two-tone blue Irises I found myself walking alongside a 100-foot rose arch, various roses in glorious bloom climbing up or draping themselves down the archway, and along its base was a border of yet more stunning blooms. A gardener's heaven was everywhere to be found, and gardening being another hobby of mine, I certainly thought I was in one.
Part of the way by the lake was a fairy glen, and indeed fairies were to be found, but these were highly artistic fairies, made from tightly wound wire, and wire netting was used to make up their spread wings. Clearly, a lot of thought had gone into their design.
As tea-time approached we gathered in the area reserved for our cream tea in the Garden Centre building and 47 of us sat down to enjoy it, despite the café being very hot and humid. As the time came to go home we rejoined our coach, a thunderstorm having passed by south of us, and as our coach reached the Midland motorway complex we found out the damage it had caused. It was a long, slow creep along the M6 to the M5 interchange and onto the M5, on which it took us an hour to do the first two miles. The cause was flooding, which had closed one lane right in the middle of the evening rush. It meant a later than expected arrival back at Rocklands, but all of us had enjoyed an excellent day.
The branch meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month from 2pm at the Rocklands Club in Birchfield Road, Redditch. If you are a Parkinsons sufferer or a carer for someone who suffers from it feel free to call and check us out. You will find us a cheerful lot, always up for a laugh and we usually have something organised, such as a speaker or a photography show, etc. Have a look at reddibromparkinsons.co.uk for information or call secretary Joy on 01527 544424 or Martin on 01527 61814 for details.