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North East Aberdeenshire Members' Centre holds a variety of events throughout the year. Here are a few of our recent sucessful events.

June 2019

Ballroom Visit.

Photograph of Members in the Beach BallroomAberdeen's beautiful Art Deco Beach Ballroom turned 90 years old in May and our Members' Centre went along to join in some of the celebrations. Not only did we have a talk and guided tour of the building by the Ballroom Manager, John Johnstone and have the opportunity to browse the special exhibition highlighting the Ballroom's history, but we also enjoyed an excellent afternoon tea, providing the opportunity for members to reminisce about their own Ballroom adventures (and misadventures!)

The Beach Ballroom was part of Aberdeen's Beach Improvement Scheme originally intended to boost the city as a tourist attraction as well as make this stretch of coastline more attractive to locals. It was a place of glamour and romance. Many people met and wooed their future partners at the fountain that once cascaded in the middle of the dance floor as its resident 12-piece band played. Romance and glamour took a setback when the British Admiralty Board commandeered the Beach Ballroom during the Second World War, with servicemen sleeping on beds laid out on the dance floor. After the war the Ballroom re-established itself as an entertainment venue. Its reputation spread and bands such as The Beatles, The Who, Small Faces and Pink Floyd signed up to perform.

Having had mixed fortunes during the later part of the 20th Century, including a devastating fire in 1993, the Ballroom is once again one of the premier venues in Aberdeen. The fact that the Art Deco grandeur has been so lovingly restored on a budget is down to the inventive, resourceful staff and the painstaking care that they take in making sure that the Beach Ballroom remains, in the words of John Johnstone, "The People's Ballroom".

July 2019

Drumrossie Mansion House Visit.

Photograph of Members at Drumossie Mansion HousePhotograph of horses at DrumossieWe were privileged to be granted access to the beautiful grounds of Drumrossie Mansion House in Insch just a couple of days before the gardens opened to the public as part of Scotland's Garden Scheme, so everything was looking at its very best - although I suspect these wonderful gardens always look pretty good. The long, low style of the house belies both its history and its size. It may look like a large steading but in fact the house is a considerable mansion house, parts of which date back to the 12th Century, a significant part from the 17th Century and some rebuilt areas from the 1870s. Our host and guide for the day was the owner Mr. Hugh Robertson who introduced us to the history of the house and explained how he has developed the grounds. The main focus of our visit was the three acres of landscaped lawns, formal walled garden, veg and greenhouse area and newly planted orchard. The main question on everyone's lips was "How on earth does Hugh manage to keep all this looking so good?" Hugh remained modest about his efforts but there was plenty of advice and tips about garden maintenance shared during the tour before we adjourned to enjoy tea and delicious home bakes provided by the ladies of Insch Parish Church. The weather was kind, the setting was glorious and our "Thank You" round of applause for Hugh was also appreciated by the herd of Shetland ponies that Hugh keeps to graze on the wilder areas. What a perfect afternoon!

August 2019

Carestown Steading Visit.

Photograph of Members at carestown SteadingWe tend to arrange visits during the summer months because we are more likely to have the sort of good weather that makes getting out and about such a pleasure. Unfortunately the weather doesn't always oblige and the day of our visit to Carestown Steading near Cullen, was wet, windy and cold. Never daunted the Members Centre donned their wellies, lifted their umbrellas and headed out to enjoy this fascinating garden. Once a group of derelict steading buildings, Carestown was bought in 1987 by a wealthy Italian lady who had architectural training. She designed and built, not only a luxurious and extensive home, but also laid out a series of garden rooms, creating diverse but always inviting spaces - always somewhere to sit and always something different to see. There is a particular emphasis on topiary, ranging from formal box and yew obelisks and pillars, to enchanting hedgehogs and sheep. In 2013 Carestown was bought by Tom and Cherie Gunn and since then Cherie has been the custodian of this wonderful spot. Along with the help of 2 full time gardeners she is restoring and continuing to enhance the garden's features. The garden has open days throughout the year and participates in Scotland's Garden Scheme.

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