Archive | May, 2014

I’ve found my soulmate, but she’s playing hard to get

26 May
Flora from Caversham Court Gardens, Fletch's lady love

Old-fashioned girl: Flora, from Caversham Court Gardens, the object of my affections

A chance encounter with a visitor to my garden at Wordsworth House has transformed my life. I think I’m in love!

The lady introduced herself as Hester and said she wanted to know why I was a perchcrow, rather than a scarecrow. I explained that I’ve never been any good at scaring birds, or anything else for that matter, and they like to perch on me.

Hester said she was asking because she’s friends with a rather lovely lady called Flora, who lives at Caversham Court Gardens in Reading. When Hester returned to the south, she visited Flora and told her all about me.

Flora obviously liked what she heard because she emailed me. This is what she said…

To: Wordsworth House
Subject: For the attention of Fletch the Perchcrow

Dear Fletch,

I am Flora and until my guardian met you last week in Cockermouth, I thought I was a scarecrow. But now I know I am a Perchcrow like you and I feel so much happier now I have found my true identity. I too love the birds and even let them sit on my shoulder and share my cake.

I would love to make friends with you as we have a lot in common. I live in Caversham Court Gardens, which is a historic garden by the river in Reading. Sadly, my guardians think I am too delicate to be outdoors all the time, as they worry about the damp and fungal infections, even though I wear a plastic vest and plastic petticoat under my clothes, so a lot of the time I have to live in a dark store room and can only come out on special occasions.

Kind regards, Flora

Well, I was smitten and my feelings only deepened when I saw the photograph she’d attached to her message. So I replied to ask if she might like to be my girlfriend.

Disappointingly, although I think she does like me, she’s less impetuous than me and wants to take things slowly. She replied…

To: Wordsworth House
Subject: For the attention of Fletch the Perchcrow

Dear Fletch,

I am very flattered that you ask if I can be your girlfriend, but at the moment it is very early days. Could I be your Lady Admirer and you can be my Gentleman Friend? I am rather old fashioned, you see, and have not been out in the world as long as you.

Kind regards, Flora

Being a romantic soul, like the poet William Wordsworth, a previous resident of my garden, I’m hopeful that I can eventually win her over with my charm – and maybe some poetry. I’ll keep you posted.

Say what? Wordsworth House and Garden didn’t win?

19 May
Wordsworth House hears the results at the Museum and Heritage Awards

After party: “I say old chap, what a jolly spiffing event!”

Our wonderful staff and volunteer team at Wordsworth House and Garden was shortlisted in the customer service category of the Museum and Heritage Awards for Excellence presented in London.

Sad to say, we didn’t win, but I had to share this photo with you of our manager Zoe Gilbert and her dashing escort at the after party.

They were just as disappointed as me, but being shortlisted was in itself an amazing achievement, as there were entrants from all over Europe.

We really do pride ourselves on everything we offer, but you don’t have to take my word for it. The great and the good of the museum and heritage world were there to hear awards compère comedian Sue Perkins heap praise on our “smiley staff and volunteers” and “delicious humongous scones”.

And while I’m sharing the plaudits, here’s what one happy visitor had to say in our annual survey: “By far the best National Trust experience I’ve had in over 40 years.

“The harpsichord player was just a delight and a privilege to listen to. Friendly, knowledgeable staff who were not toffee-nosed or intrusive or sullen. Fascinating view of Georgian life. Fantastic to see a working kitchen with a smoke jack operating in a real fire. Hens in the garden added life.

“I cannot praise this site enough – and I’m not easily pleased!”

You can’t do better than that, can you?

Tandem is a five-star read

3 May
Alex holds her novel Tandem for Fletch to read

In tandem: Alex holds her novel while I read

I’ve really enjoyed reading Tandem, the new novel by my friend Alex, Wordsworth House and Garden’s interpretation and communications manager, although Bubble and Squeak, the mice who live in my pocket, have been complaining that they keep getting drenched as I have been shedding a few tears.

It has also made me long for a pair of legs, as her descriptions of the seaside and the joy of riding a bike have made me want to experience them for myself.

Alex tells a darned good story and I didn’t want it to end, as it whiled away many long nights in the garden, which can be a bit lonely at times. I’m a sociable chap and like visitors, staff and volunteers to keep me company.

I feel like Sanders and Paula, her main characters, have become old friends. I especially liked the humour and descriptions of the escapades with the penguins, and the fat fairies at the fair had me and my loyal mice howling with laughter.

My friend Mr Penguin, who’s sitting on my should in the picture, loved reading about Sir Nils Olav, Edinburgh zoo’s celebrity penguin.

I’m very proud of Alex and have got her to write an inscription especially for me and have my own copy tucked up in my stuffing to keep it out of the rain.

You can buy Tandem at the Wordsworth House shop, which is, of course, the best place to get it, as all the income keeps my place of work cared for and well maintained. You can also get Alex to sign it for you, so you can sell it for lots of money when she’s world famous.

If you can’t make it to Cockermouth, Tandem – which won the Hookline Novel Competition – is also available on Amazon.

My verdict: 5 stars!

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