We were all working a late night at the Castle, quickly turning Downton Abbey back to Highclere Castle, and putting furniture, pictures and plants back in place, as the following day we were welcoming a private tour in aid of Burghclere Church.
Sally and I were busy in the gift shop packing up sixty gift bags for the guests (I do love a gift bag they are unexpected fun!). While we were busy chatting away, Bill my very tall grey horse was in the stable just around the corner. He is turning into something of a character, and rather enjoys being playful and mischievous. He had somehow managed to nose the bolt along on his stable door and pottered off to join in the party in the gift shop. He seems to rather like company.
Sally was remarkably unfazed and thought perhaps she had not given Bill enough treats that morning. Bill was too big to turn around so Sally had to try and persuade him to reverse out, but Bill was nudging her and too interested in looking at all the gift shop items. I am afraid I was too busy laughing and taking photos on my phone to help. Eventually we lured Bill out and returned him to the stable. I made a mental note to add a second bolt to the bottom of the stable door. We finished filling the gift bags, thinking that you really couldn’t make it this up!
The following day we left Bill and the other horses in their fields rather than risk surprising our visitors. The tour, however, was a great success and we met some lovely people. Two of the guests that morning had been married at Highclere two years ago and had come back to remember their special day. Another couple who had travelled from the USA actually got engaged here at Highclere that morning. The lovely vicar, from Burghclere, Rev David Bartholomew was on hand to wish them well, and Luis, our Banqueting Manager arrived promptly silver tray in hand and two crystal flutes of champagne for the happy couple.
We even met a lovely gentleman called Bill, which sent Sally into a fit of giggles.