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Behind the Scenes

24 Sep 2015

Visitors to Haddo see the beauty of the parkland and splendour of the House and Gardens but rarely see the people behind the scenes who make it all work - this is dedicated to them.

Having worked both in the House and Country Park over the past 2 years I have great respect for the hard work and dedication of my colleagues at Haddo.  Although things sometimes seem chaotic on the surface, the team of staff and volunteers from the NTS and the Haddo House and Country Park partnership try their best to keep you safe, entertained and to feel welcome.

In the Park, Jim, Audrey and Murray care for the grounds, cut the grass, remove fallen trees and branches, mend and maintain the park to create a safe and beautiful environment for the many people who use the parkland for walking, cycling, horseriding, dogwalking, group outings and picnics.  Diana oversees the activities and cares for the wildlife, keeping the public up to date via the website and social media, organises public events and liaises with different partner organisations.  Visitors meet NTS staff and volunters in the House, Shop, Gardens, Tearoom and at events, all of whom strive to give their best to make you feel welcome.  It is a dynamic place to work, never a dull moment!  

As I come to the end of my contract as Seasonal Visitor Services Officer for 2015 I would like to thank all my collegues at Haddo for their kindness and help.  It is not always an easy place to work due to the great diversity of activities that take place here and the geographical spread of the buildings, but any frustrations are easily outweighed by the friendliness of colleagues and the ability to laugh and smile when things go wrong, as inevitably they sometimes do!

Walking around the park today the Autumn sunshine brings out the best of Haddo.  Its a shame this summer was so damp and windy, but if you have time to visit Haddo now, it is looking truly magnificent.  I have seen more red squirrels in the past week than ever before, scurrying around to store up lots of food for the winter ahead.  I wonder, do they know something we don't?

The NTS Gardens are full of flowers and the fountain, recently cleaned, is glistening in the sunshine as water cascades down.  The trees in the Park are about to turn gold, red and brown but still in full leaf at the moment.  The grass is greener than ever after the recent cycle of sun, rain, sun and more rain.  There is no better time to visit.  In addition to what Nature offers, the Autumn season is full of exciting events at Haddo, starting in October with the Scottish Landscape Photography exhibition, the Haddo Arts Festival, Photography Workshops, Squirrel Walks and finally Halloween!

I have derived a great deal of pleasure working with our volunteers in the Park, developing a wildlife garden into a space to enjoy for both nature and art.  With the freedom to be creative and by using only recycled materials, volunteers have created an interesting array of art for the garden, with 3 workshops for children at weekends.  Our volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and ages but enjoy working together so much that we hope to continue through the Autumn and Winter and into 2016.  New volunteers are always welcome to join us on Wednesday mornings from 10-12.  Just phone or email first.  So it's not goodbye at all just "Thank you and I'll be back!".  Elaine