18. Manasseh, Mrs. Elspeth
Thorpe Park, Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex CO16 0HN. (1970)
County President, Essex North-East
and ex-County Commissionar Essex.
On the 14 June 1970 the Chief Guide visited Essex East, and I was asked to accompany her back to London as the family did not wish her to travel alone, but I was not to let Lady B-P know that this had been arranged. At Colchester station we met, and she recognised me and asked where I was going, saying what fun and we could travel together. She asked "why aren't you wearing a World Badge?" and rummaged in her bag, produced a badge and told me I should wear it at all times. Just then a young man passed, and said "Excuse me, are you Lady Baden-Powell?" and told her he had met the Chief Scout, whereupon she said "I know you, you are so-and-so" and he was even more surprised than I was.
On arrival in London I thought I would leave her, but not a bit of it, I was "commanded" to accompany her; she lamented the changed face of Harvey Nichols and showed me the steps where she was first seen by the Chief Scout. At Olave House she was given a wonderful reception as she surprised the young people sitting in the garden. Once more I prepared to take my leave.
Not so. I found myself on the way to Hampton Court, and now I must admit that I was really enjoying myself and wondering what would happen next: At Hampton Court we said goodbye to the charming car-driver and I carried Lady B-P's standard, it seemed for miles, finally climbing the wide staircase to her flat, where we had a lovely cold chicken salad.
She showed me the flat, and then asked if I knew how to get one's own breakfast in bed, and showed me the drill. You fold the eiderdown in three at the foot of the bed and place the bed-table upon it. Go to the kitchen and put everything on the tray. Return to the bed and put the tray on the bed-table. Carefully get into bed. Pull up the eiderdown and "Hey Presto" breakfast in bed!
I was told to go and look at the garden, and when I returned Lady B-P was rested and changed into a charming floral frock. We had tea and I said goodbye. Alas I never saw her again - but I don't believe she was fooled into thinking my journey to London was a coincidence!