Most of us who were on the CAA trip to Windsor have now returned home, but a small group stayed in England and traveled this morning up to Norfolk to spend a few days.

Jill sent this report from the group’s first day in Norfolk:


Yesterday, fifteen of the original ninety-five CAA participants boarded our own private mini-coach for a three-hour drive up to Norfolk (northeast of London). We arrived around 12:30 p.m. — in time to enjoy a great ploughman’s lunch prepared especially for us at Swingletree Farm in the village of Wingfield. John Parker then showed us around the carriage collection and stables, spending lots of time with each horse or pony. It is clear that he is very fond of them all!

Then it was off to the Cornwallis Hotel nearby to check in, rest, and meet for drinks at 7:00 p.m. in the hotel bar. We were joined by John and Susan, plus three of the girls who work at Swingletree, plus Jimmy & Harriet Lawes, who also live nearby and own a large private carriage collection and one of the largest collections of Gypsy Wagons anywhere. We spent a lively evening enjoying some good food and wine, and each other’s company.

In the morning, two of the group left early to go to the farm for their private driving lesson, then the rest of us came along at 10:00 a.m. Promptly at 11:00 a.m. the Mail Coach and was pulled out, and the four white coach horses were put to. We divided the group in two, then drew lots as to who got to sit where. Lucky Bruce Hauser drew #1 for the first leg of the coach run, and he got to sit on the box seat next to John. Off they went for a coach run through the Norfolk countryside and after about an hour, the balance of the group met up with them just outside a private home built in 1077 (that’s right, 1077!). The groups switched off and this time Bev Marley was lucky enough to draw #1 and she choose to sit on the box seat.

Once back, the horses were tended to by the great girls of Swingletree and then we sat down to a special “coaching lunch” of game pie, steak and kidney pie, mounds of new potatoes, carrots, and peas, all washed down by some local beer or wine. Wonderful. Jenny then presented a selection of fabulous desserts.

More private driving lessons, a visit to the harness room, and we are all back at the hotel for a rest after a fantastic day. Yes, it rained at times and even hailed, but we did not care.