Michael on the Roof #motr
Back when we started renting apartments to tourists we had a visit from Wirral Egyptology society led by Michael Campbell-Smith. It was a very early visit and I can remember going to pick them up at the airport and hoping the windows would be in the frame when we got back! They visited again and Michael mentioned to my husband that while he really liked the flats they were too big and if there was a smaller one he would buy it.
Now you don’t make remarks like that to my hubby, next thing we had built a penthouse flat on the roof and Michael became Michael on the roof #motr.
He has become a huge family friend and a great mate. This winter he discussed his idea about applying to become Chelsea Pensioner. Sadly he has buried 2 wives and has no blood children. He was worried about his future as he became older. He is already in his 80’s and although he is very fit and healthy obviously he has to consider what happened when he got frail.
During the winter we both spent ages on the internet researching the Royal Hospital and the pros and cons of living there. When he went back this spring (2017) he had a trial 4 day visit. He was very happy with what he saw and applied to join. He moved in in May.
I very much wanted to visit and when I went to the UK this summer I spent my first night there. They have visitors accommodation, a large twin bed room and bathroom with a tiny kitchenette. You can also eat there by arrangement and I had lunch the next day.
So I arrived early evening and reported to the guard house and phoned Michael who came and met me. The accommodation was just by the guard house and opposite the Pensioners Club.
The next morning Michael came and collected me (in a wheelchair) and pushed me around. What a place!
We started at the Light Horse court and they were just clearing up after an international horse show. They have loads of events there which the Chelsea Pensioners can attend. The most famous of course is the Chelsea Flower Show.
We went all round, the grounds are superb with every kind of sporting facility.
Bowls, boules, tennis, everything the only thing missing was a swimming pool. There is a café where we had a nice cup of coffee.
There are so many mementos of British Army life. Cannons, Napoleonic eagles hundreds of medals. The museum is fascinating and also an example of the old style berths which were 6 x 6 with shared bathroom.
Today’s berths are much bigger and have individual bathrooms, he now has a window with a great view
The chapel and the main dining room were designed by Wren
I thought the dining room was like Hogwarts, it contains the table on which the Duke of Wellington laid in state. You can get a guided tour and I really recommend it. http://www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk/book-chelsea-pensioner-led-tour
By the way we have discovered the disadvantage, there is too much to do!!!! Golf days, football matches, tea at the Ritz, champagne lunches, invitations to military events. I asked him what he was doing this week “On Thursday I went to a cricket match and barbecue, last night I went to a BBC Prom concert in the Albert Hall – nice reserved box, but Bruckner – and on Sunday I am going on a river trip at the invitation of the Little Ship Club. It’s a hard life. 🙂 “