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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Tayler

The Broken Gate - Thornby Hall

So it's Saturday and our plans never went ahead as the week caught up on us and sleep took priority. Instead we took a trip to the Buddhist centre near us for tea and scones. We weren't sat down for long when John could see a man stood in the bay window of the room, looking out at what John described as snow. Left hand behind his back and right hand holding a pipe. John saw that he too had a large mustache and wearing a top hat. He says to me "Do you see that man?" So I open myself up, to quickly close down again because I seem to get this pain in my right side towards the back. We eat our scones and John mentions this man again. "Bernard" that's what I hear. "Gate is broken, it needs fixing" I repeat this to John, and he asks, what is he waiting for? "You" he is talking to John "Come on" he waves his hand to usher John. At this point I see he has a Golden Retriever dog. John asks who he is. "Lord" "Pender" Oh he's the Lord of the house and he thinks John is the handyman, Bernard. I find this hilarious! "Drink up" "Money" he is telling John that he's being paid for this job so he needs to finish his drink. During the conversation I'm given the words German and Germany. Also Rand which John said was the South African currency. We finished our drinks and scones and left. As we were driving out the gate (different to entrance) we notice the gate is buggered and we both fall about laughing. On the ride home I opened Google and started my search. Whenever we go somewhere and pick things up, we like to see if any of it rings true. Low and behold one Sir James Pender resided at Thornby Hall in the late 1800s. He was a keen yachtsman, and piloted a yacht owned by the Kaiser (Emporer of Germany). Not only that he spent some time in South Africa for the laying of cables.

I link you to James Pender and a picture of the knackered gate!

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