Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to Eltham Palace with a lovely couple from Sydney, Australia. Although the weather was grey, the palace still shone.
We walked and talked. All of us being animal lovers, May-Jongg (Jonggy) the Courtaulds’ pet lemur featured quite strongly. Bought by the couple from Harrod’s pet department in 1923, he lived with them for fifteen years. Much loved and indulged by his doting owners, he was regarded by their visitors with a certain nervousness.
Prone to stealing olives from martinis, nipping guests’ ankles during dinner, his most outrageous action was to bite the hand of Percy Lemon at a lunch the Courtaulds gave on their yacht Virginia on the morning scheduled for the departure of the 1930-1 British Arctic Air Route Expedition. Lemon was the expedition’s wireless operator. He turned out to be allergic to the iodine used to disinfect the wound and the expedition had to be postponed for three months while he recovered.
No such worries yesterday. The staff at the palace were welcoming, professional, helpful; wonderful ambassadors for this Crown property managed by English Heritage.
Our only regret was that we returned to the café too late to enjoy the delicious looking vegan chocolate cake.