Sunday, 27 November 2011

The (crappy) Italian Job

Grand-daughter Sophie arrived with her parents and as it was Saturday afternoon the Firefly's wife suggested:
Let's go to Waddesden Manor and enjoy the wonderful annual Christmas display in the West Wing of the house.
It didn't start overly well when - on arrival - my suggestion of using my mother-in-law's disability batch to park in the 'reserved for disabled people' area caused a tidal wave of rebuttal from all the passengers in my car. The fact that the reserved area at Waddesden Manor is the size of an aircraft carrier and would only fill up if all the disabled people in Buckinghamshire would coordinate a mass exodus to Waddesden is neither here nor there.
The spotty teenager dressed as a parking attendant stopping my car just to tell me that 'there is plenty of parking space in the parking area' did not improve matters.
Once we had extricated ourself and all pushchair-related items out of the car, we walked towards the house.
In order to see the display, you have to get yet another set of tickets, even though you have just paid £6.50 per person just to get into the grounds!! Now an extra £8.50 per person awaits the unsuspecting visitor and you will be forgiven for wondering whether you have accidentally strolled into Sherwood Forest.
As we stood at the hatch to the ticket stall with a stiff northerly breeze cutting our faces in half I was wanting to choke the senile geriatric who took half an hour to give me my change.
After a lengthy explanation from the Firefly that I only wanted 2 tickets as 2 of us were members of the National Trust, which took up another 10 minutes of everybody's time in the now lengthy queue.
At the house we had to leave the pushchair, the changing bag and any other items we might have carried and it was only good fortune that we managed to take little Sophie past the eagle-eyed matron guarding the entrance to whatever magic lies behind.
For a total of £15 per person you are right to expect an exceptional display of Christmas joy - both from the interior of the place and the attitude of the people working there.
We however got neither! The staff was crotchety and about as helpful as hiccups is for a bomb disposal expert and the Christmas display was an Italian theme with Christmas trees hanging full of Venusian masks, pasta or some other random items relating to Italy and the usual lovely Christmas story was replaced by Pinocchio!! Yeah!! You know!! Pinocchio! That well-loved Christmas character!!
When I first entered the house I asked whether I could take pictures (without flash) and was told in no uncertain tone that this is strictly forbidden!! By now I was quite glad that I couldn't.
So no pictures on the Firefly of the crappy display.
After spending almost no time at all on the display and certainly buying nothing from the well overpriced shop, we left the building and had to walk round to the front again to pick up the pushchair and then go back the other way to pick up the bag, as they wouldn't let us in through the front door without ye another ticket. Madness!!
On the way back to the car we felt the urge to follow the "Reindeer Trail"!!! Ooohhh!!!
Here are some pictures, so please make up your own mind!
The Firefly suggests: Don't go there! Visit your local tip instead.

It started off looking OK . . .

 . . . there seemed to be an owl infestation . . . 

 . . . about the highlight of the day . . . 
 . . . and the low points!!

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