Sunday 17th June 2012
As I drew back the curtains at the Holiday Inn I was greeted by clear blue sky – not a cloud in sight, not even a flicker! We couldn’t have hoped for better weather as today was excursion day. There was plenty to see and do in the centre of Cardiff but for those who had opted to wave goodbye to the city for a few hours we had laid on excursions to St Fagan’s National History Museum, the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and a trip on the Brecon Mountain Railway. With my umbrella and rain coat stuffed to the bottom of my backpack, just incase, I hopped onto the coach heading for the botanical gardens.

“4 times large than the Eden Project” a gardener told me proudly as I wandered through the gate in awe of the sheer scale of the gardens that lay before me. Japanese, bee, bog, wild, sculpture – any type of garden you could think of could be found somewhere amidst the 560 acres of spectacular countryside, all of which played home to over 8000 varieties of plants. The great glasshouse in the centre of the park is the largest single span glasshouse in the world – you really wouldn’t believe it until you have seen it! With so much to see and do in a relitavely short timeframe, we didn’t waste any further time standing around and set off on foot to explore. It wasn’t long before the ladies who had chosen to wait for the courtesy ‘bus’ around the park zoomed past us, slowing down only to wave and smile for the camera.

The rest of the day was spent covering as much of this great park as possible and scheduling in some time to stop for tea and cake…well it would be rude not to!

Back on the coach and there was only one thing for it, a little snooze to rejuvenate for this evenings entertainment laid on by Venture Abroad. Silence fell over the coach as many of the ladies closed the eyes, whilst the rest gazed out of the windows and watched the stunning countryside as we past by.

It didn’t seem long before we were back in Cardiff and there was time to pop up to our rooms to change into our ‘party outfits’ for the evenings Jubilee Melodies event at the Mercure Hotel. Some of the ladies had come dressed up as members of the Royal Family, including our very own Queen. The City of Cardiff Melingriffith Brass Band entertained the 350 members with melodies such as the Irish Blessing, The Great Escape, Dambusters, Greensleeves Rule Brittania and Land of Hope and Glory. Flags were being waved as the crowd joined in for a sing-a-long – what an impressive sight and sound it was! The Cardiff Scout and Guide Gang Show took to the stage with a collection of their favourite songs from the 2011 and 2012 shows. My personal highlight of the night was speaking to 4 ladies who had been reacquainted that night after not having seen each other since they worked together at Girlguiding HQ some 50 years ago – these are the special moments of the Trefoil Guild Annual Meeting weekend for me! The night was closed with a sing-a-long to TAPS followed by the National Anthem in both English and Welsh.

What an evening!

What a day!

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