14th March 1943

Glorious sunny morning, with cold east wind.  Up early, and got ready to go on a picnic with Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Belfield.  Went up to Lawford Hall at 11, and helped harness the pony to the tub-cart and the big old horse to the phaeton.  

Then along to Higham, Mrs. Belfield pointing out the houses of various friends and acquaintances all the way.  Through the village, down the hill, over the Bret, and then right along the lane past Rushbury’s house.  All this land looks very well, all farmed by Alec Page.  Mrs. Belfield was very keen to go through Gifford’s Park.  I wanted to see the house, but I was rather uncomfortable at the idea, although the place is now a County Council convalescent home, so that our intrusion was not so bad as if it were still a private house.  We drove in boldly, up the long avenue, and right past the front of the house.  The last time I saw it was 10 or 12 years ago, when I went there with Poulter, to see the painted panels which [the then owner] Brocklebank gave to the Museum.  Brocklebank and his charming young wife were both there, both very kind to us.  Yet she left him, and went to America, and he shot himself in Hyde Park

The old mansion looked mellow and lovely in the sunlight, and we just got a glimpse through the gateway into the courtyard. 

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