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We all have a button, don’t we?

We all have a button, don’t we, that once pressed can immediately  change your mood?

One of mine is being told I am going to present my next day’s programme from, of all things, a bus! To move from my nice warm radio studio, where the seat is adjusted to my height and the coffee machine nicely within reach, to the back of a bus, parked in the middle of nowhere? My idea of a nightmare, and enough to transform me immediately into a grumpy old woman. But I bit my tongue, and headed off into the Berkshire countryside to find said BBC Bus, as part of one of the corporation’s publicity, information and community drives. Grr, I thought. My life has come to this. Anne Diamond, live, from the back end of a bus. I can almost see the tabloid headlines.

Trying to find Savill Gardens, where I have never been before, I got lost several times, and took out my growing frustration on my stupid satnav, who, though manufactured in Japan, speaks with a bored, flat and lifeless South East London accent. I hate her. Unless she’s right, which she usually isn’t. At one point, she took me up a dead end alleyway where there was, indeed, a parked, double decker, rusty old red bus.  “Save This Bus” read a sticker, unceremoniously slapped on its rear bumper, and it certainly looked as though it needed a paint job and an MOT.

Surely not, I thought? This cannot be the BBC Bus? Just as steam was beginning to come from my nostrils, I spotted the entrance to the Savill Gardens, drove gingerly into the main car park, spotted the magnificent obelisk standing firm against the waving, rustling trees. And there, parked conspicuously beneath its shadow, a bright scarlet state-of-the-art, single decker bus with the BBC logo proudly emblazoned down one side. There, my wonderful team, with picnic tables and chairs, coffee and bacon baps, a mini studio, guests and boxes of goodies to give away to passing folk.

What’s more, the sun came out and we basked in the golden glow of a summer morning. I felt thoroughly ashamed of having been so grumpy – especially when one of my guests, the head of Savill Gardens himself, brought me a lovely posy of hand-picked roses from the famous Rose Garden, opened by the Queen last year. They smelled divine.

One lady onlooker had just arrived off a coach from Bognor Regis. She’d never been before either – but said she’d never seen a garden so gorgeous. Nor have I.

It’s a jewel in our royal crown and we should all pay it a visit, to replenish the soul. I thoroughly recommend it. The ambience, the wonderful plants (which bedecked the Royal Wedding, by the way), the historic trees and the acres of exotic woodland can soothe the most savage breast and turn a grumpy old woman into a smiley child!


This article was first published in Berkshire Life

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