Appreciation For Rona Bowman By Judith Campbell
Came to London in 1968 from Canada, and was put in contact with SRS Drake-Westminster, the nearest Sea Ranger Crew. Rona was one of the younger members, who came to Sea Rangers from Guides. I was one of the older members who had come to London, and found a home with Drake.
I always tell this little story of how Rona, Nina and I took the bus to Rose Cottage. Although on the bus in Taplow, we had to wait until it was the departure time. Rona needed a chocolate bar, and against better judgement, we got off the bus and went to buy chocolate. As we came to the bus, it pulled away, and we stood there waving goodbye to Nina - who was now stuck with 3 rucksacks.
We decided we could walk to the gates of Clivedon just as fast as if we sat and waited for the next bus - which passed us just as we rounded the corner to the main gates. The gates were locked, but ever resourceful Rona found a place where we could easily scramble the wall, and we walked into the grounds towards Rose Cottage. We had both done this walk before - in the daylight - it was quqickly getting darker. Skip had always warned us not to arrive through the grounds in the dark, as there are guard dogs loose, patrolling the grounds for intruders.
Not to be fazed, we held on to each other and walked smartly on, despite hearing and seeing things in the shadows. We, of course, had been unaware that Nina had stached the rucksacks under a tree, went to the Cottage, got help, and the Rangers had returned to await our arrival on the next bus . We were just around the corner, but not seen by our rescue party.
It was pitch black, we wore No.1s, and had no torch, but, arms aroung eaach other, we made it through the grounds, down the hill, and to Rose Cottage without a hitch. We stood at the window and listened as Skip gave orders to check the bus stop on the lock keepers side of the river, Esther to goto the bus stop in Cookham, Jack & boys to stay at the Cottage in case we arrived ( but we were much too smart to attempt the grounds in the dark!), and Skip would check the river banks from the river. All this for us! We could hardly contain our excitement, but we went into the Cottage quite pleased that we had negotiated the hill in the dark without incident.
Skip was pleased that the dogs had not eaten us, but that's where it ended. Rona, I was older and should have known better, but your infectious spirit of adventure overruled teenage common sense.
I hope where you are you get them organized into some really good adventures. You have been thought of often, and now you are missed.
Go well and safely.
Added on: 29 February 2008
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