A day in the life of a room guide at A la Ronde

Volunteering is a great way to make new friends © A la Ronde Staff

Volunteering is a great way to make new friends

I am a volunteer room guide at the magical A la Ronde where I started just over five years ago, following attendance at a meeting to recruit new volunteers.  I was fascinated by the Parminter cousins, and wanted to know more about their fascinating life story. I was a bit nervous at first, but there were plenty of friendly faces to ease me in.

On a normal day I arrive at 10.45am to start at 11am. We're set a room which we look after for the day or half day. We're given a different room each time, so you don't get bored, and it gives you a chance to learn about every room and its contents.

Our visitors are fascinated by the house, and many of them want to know its history and that of its various inhabitants. I try to bring some humour into my talks, which seems to go down well, and the sound of laughter often echoes around the house, and brings it alive.

The remark I most often hear is 'the house feels like a home' which sums it up absolutely. Visitors also ask 'where did the money come from' so you have to know a bit about the history to be able to answer these questions. You pick up this knowledge quickly with a bit of research, and I can often answer the more unusual queries.

We have a volunteers’ room where we take a 20 minute coffee break, which also gives you chance to catch up on news about the National Trust, and local events put on at the house. Taking a break you also get to chat with other volunteers who are all very friendly and knowledgeable.

Josie Woolger