Since downsizing from a substantial Edwardian house with a large garden, Gilbert Rowland now enjoys spending some of the summer guiding people around a large historic house dating back to the 17th century. Stratfield Saye, made famous as the gift in 1817 from a grateful nation to the victorious Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, has a fine collection of paintings, furniture and mementoes and the grounds cover almost 8,000 acres.

Stratfield Saye is 12 miles north of the Rowlands’ home at Seymour Place in the attractive Hampshire village of Odiham. His house looks out over a green with a spreading walnut tree, while a beautiful baby grand piano takes pride of place inside. Alongside music, walking, bird watching, membership of the Odiham Society and entertaining grandchildren, both he and his wife Maureen are studying with the University of the Third Age, taking courses in poetry and the history of philosophy respectively.