As a group of 24, with one of Europe’s most accomplished art history guides, we saw, learnt and wondered at Goya frescoes; 1st Century Roman double-height aqueduct; romantic battlements of Alcazar; the Prado; Picasso’s Guernica; the Valle de Los Caidos, Franco’s awe-inspiring memorial to the 30,000 fallen of the Spanish Civil War; Las Meninas by Velazquez; enjoyed tapas, wine and fabulous cuisine whilst people-watching in the Plaza Mayor and made some good friends, all in five days. Magical.
A misty then drizzly afternoon saw Antonia Johnson reprising her Bath tree walk in Victoria Park and the Botanic Garden. The friends who joined Antonia enjoyed a wide-ranging couple of hours packed with information about some very interesting specimens and tree biology.
Friends gathered for a private viewing of the Holburne’s latest exhibition, followed by time for drinks and some socialising. The evening culminated with the Robertson Lecture given by Vanessa Brett, co-curator with Catrin Jones.
Friends walked via Sydney Gardens behind the Holburne Museum and along the Kennet and Avon canal, to reach the Cleveland Pools where Sally Helvey, one of the Trustees of the Pools, delighted us with the history of the Pools from its construction in 1817 through to present day plans for restoration and eventual re-opening.
Another of Minnie Tatham’s garden visits took in Woolstone Mill House, which is being developed by garden designer Justin Spink, who took us around the garden’s different areas. The day continued in the afternoon with a visit to The Old Rectory at Farnborough which was once judged by Country Life magazine to be the “finest Parsonage in England”.
Trish Tassis’s latest tour was to Downside Abbey. Highlights included the magnificent stained glass windows, the St. Sebastian chapel, a mid 15th-century life-size wooden statue of the Madonna and child and the Library which contains over 500,000 items.