Earlier this month Heritage 2 Health personally presented the first opportunity I have had in 2013 to help get involved, in this case it was the planning for the event on 31st May between Marble Hill & Ham House. Within thirty-seconds of entering Marble Hill House the warm welcome H2H gives to any participant became more than apparent. In one of the most effortless acts I was greeted, given my name-tag sticker (the ultimate get out to prevent forgetting names – It happens to the best of us) and then informed me that everyone involved with that first stage of planning was siting in the tea room, while waiting for any other planners I could help myself to any of the refreshments on offer. After enough time had gone by, H2H got the ball rolling with an ice-breaker that has almost become an automatic process whenever these planning events occur, H2H is determined to state that its not about the job title or the status that sets people apart, instead H2H want everyone to have a basis so it presents an enjoyable beginning to the day. State your name and then state your favourite <insert name here>, this latest edition was your favourite flower. Myself and Ricky (one of the Managers at Marble Hill House) stated sunflowers which I pointed out had to be the mother of all ironys as it was apparently officially the first day of British Spring, the thing I appreciate most about this exercise has to be how I learnt the backgrounds to a number of new faces but not a very taxing fashion. I met a couple of student nurses, a member of one organisation associated with H2H called Kingston Centre for Independent Living (KCIL) as well as taking this chance to catch up with some of the regular faces. Theresa the founder of for H2H, fellow volunteer Monica, Ricky, as well as one of the tour guides for Ham House, Sarah as well as learning their favourite flowers I learnt from Ricky’s introduction to the group that sunflowers always face towards the sun.
I’m no means an expert regarding the history of either heritage house but these meetings between Marble Hill House and Ham House mean that I definitely know a mere thing or two about the rollercoaster relationship between King George II and his mistress Henrietta Howard. Ricky with the guided tour and explaining the house with its quite remarkable history – A history that can unfortunately be overlooked as society moves forward but a remarkable history nonetheless. This had to be the third or fourth visit to both houses and I always learn something new about them so that first trip in March taught me how the wallpaper in Marble Hill House as well as certain items within it such as the mirrors with oriental paintings on them weren’t neccessarily imported from China (items from such an exotic, new-land in the found world were highly sought-after) but instead they were “Western-interpretations” of such items for it was cheaper or just less of a stretch to obtain them.
After meeting up was to move onto Ham House. 5 members of the planning commitee made the walk from Marble Hill to Hammerton’s Ferry in order to take the ride over (It only took a minute or two) while 2 members of the commitee drove around from the Twickenham side to the Ham side of the River Thames. It was at the house that we all sat down for lunch in an act that introduced a new face as being a representative of ‘Learn English at Home’ – LEAH, an organisation with a goal much like H2H’s, one set up to include every participant involved so people of different backgrounds do not feel socially alienated. One more tour, this time of Ham House in a venue that presented more walking around than Marble Hill as well as sight-seeing wise had a little more to offer, a basement area where the servants would prepare the meals for the owners that gave a feeling of two-different worlds. Using that tour of Ham House to learn about a William Murray as I found his story very intriguing as well as learning about the many other homeowners along the way, the tour then made its way through to the herbroom that I’m sure people could easily appreciate once they saw.
The first planning session was simply set up as a chance to discuss what type of things H2H were going to have on offer for the event day on 31st of May, we went on to discuss a ‘meet and greet’ session at the beginning of May only to solidify the H2H structure for participants. I remember one comment regarding H2H along the lines that the organisation could be seen as disorganised on the event day but I have to disagree as its these planning days that allow for the “roll with the punches” attitude needed trying to set these events for a relative newcomer, there seems to always be a contingency plan which I admire as each planning meeting and H2H event is only becoming more and more efficient. There was a second planning day this time at Ham House that only displayed how fast H2H is growing as there were upwards of 25 local-organisations within the Surrey Area willing to contribute in one form or another, so I only started participating in 2011 so I’m excited to see what another 2 years from now has in store as the empathasis they is community and no-one is alone. To think I misheard the meetup point and no better example of the “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” philosophy in which I live and H2H only encourages than to take this video of the foot ferry over from Twickenham to Ham.
Thank you again as the manner H2H has grown is an amazing achievement so to all participants and organisers alike its you that are making this possible as I personally remember walking up Leith Hill with a deltaframe like it was yesterday.
All there is left to say is enjoy your Easter holiday break and don’t over-do the chocolate.