Sunshine in the Garden

Thursday  27 October 

I have been working down in London for two weeks and staying in “Cis” whilst I have been there.  You guys don’t want to know about those boring bits do you, so this story begins with Jane joining me and then our trip into Kent.

But just before that I have a confession to make ! Yes I’ve bumped “Cis” Shock Horror !! I reversed her into a fence ( because I didn’t have Mrs Watchmeback there ! ) and cracked the rear corner panel Ouch ! luckily its only small so I’m not too worried about any mega cost to repair. I know I know What a Muppet !

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I met Jane off the train at Kings Cross which was quite appropriate as she was quite grumpy and cross after her journey down from Grantham. Her first annoyance was that the train was delayed by about 30 minutes, followed by the Drongo on the seat opposite who kept treading on her feet the whole way down. This was then compounded by the nil response from me whilst she had been texting me to update me on aforesaid niggles she was encountering. Then her rail ticket wouldn’t let her out of the barrier and I topped it all off by taking photos of her as she exited. Grrr !

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Mrs Grumpy was soon soothed however by a large glass of wine in the Betjamin pub at St Prancas station. The grumpiness however was soon transferred to me when the glass of wine was ridiculous costing £8 and my pint was £ 5.30. Gadzooks I cried ! ( or something equally as strong ! )

Having both simmered down somewhat after quaffing said Gold infused drinks we made our way back to Abbey Wood to get sorted out for our forthcoming journey to Kent. Widow Twanky got on with the washing whilst I did the hovering up. ( Took me hours ! )

After getting all the housework done we had to sit down and have a rest for a couple of hours before getting changed and catching the train to Greenwich where we met up in ‘Spoons with our Scottish mate Glyn who had come down for some work meeting tomorrow.

As most of you may know, Thursday is curry night in Wetherspoons and we decided we would avail ourselves with this Board of Faire. Unfortunately we could not order our food because the computer had broken. Switching back to Mr Grumpy, I argued with the manager, So what if the computers broken, why can’t you write it down then ? That’s what folks used to do in the old times ! Technology is a bitch isn’t it !

Having no satisfactory answer there we finished our drinks and wandered across the road to a proper Indian restaurant where we did have a very tasty curry, albeit a little more pricey.

Bidding farewell to Angus McMorgan, we made our way back to Abbey Wood once more for the night and snuggled up in the toasty insides of “Cis” (Good job I left the heating on ! )

Friday 28 October

Our plan today was to go for breakfast and then dump waste, fill up etc.
This started off OK but when we walked into Abbey Wood to the new Sainsbury’s where we had chosen to eat our brekkie we ran into a little problem.

Unfortunately on our arrival everyone was evacuating due to the Fire Alarm sounding. We sat outside for 15 minutes, thinking come on then, you must have Sussed out the alarm trigger by now ! But no, more drama ! The fire engine then arrived and realising this was now going to take some time we left  and had our breakfast at the Abbey Cafe instead, which was decidedly average and probably not as good as Sainsbury’s would have been.

After breakfast we carried on with our plan and set off for Kent, coming to a very abrupt stop as the traffic going through the Dartford Tunnel was horrendous and backed up for miles. Luckily we were going south and not through the tunnel but still got seriously held up for about 30 minutes before leaving the queues behind.

Once through the traffic we ventured up around the north coast of Kent, having a quick shufty at  Whitstable, Herne Bay, Margate, Broadstairs, Sandwich and finally into the Park and Ride at Canterbury where we stopped for the night. Kent is known as the Garden of England and certainly what we had seen so far, it appeared very pretty.

At the park and ride car park is a nice pub called the Gatehouse where we had a couple of drinks before chilling inside “Cis” once more for the evening with the paper and a book.

Saturday 29 October

We caught the free bus from the park and ride into Canterbury. The town ( or actually a small city ) is very nice with the remnants of a city wall and lots of old buildings and the small river Stour running through.

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Crooked Man construction company !

Crooked Man construction company !

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We had a good wander around and around lunchtime stopped for refreshments in a Shepherds Neame pub called the Bishops Finger, with a large beer garden outside. The weather today has been superb and we sat out in our T shirts catching undoubtedly some of the few last rays left this year before grey autumn and winter set in for good.

Having a Bad Horn day !

Having a Bad Horn day !

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Jane and Friend !

Jane and Friend !

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More wandering about with a few shops thrown in took up the rest of the afternoon and we finally settled in for tea at a placed called the Korean Cowgirl which although it sounds kinda weird was in fact a lovely smoke house restaurant. Jane & I chose a sharing platter of Pulled Pork, Brisket, Ribs, Chicken Wings,  Asian Coleslaw and Parmesan Truffle Chips. It was quite delicious and well worth a recommendation if you are ever that way.

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Big Issue !

Big Issue !

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Make me a Poodle !

Make me a Poodle !

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Having finished off our tea we caught the bus back to “Cis” for another chill out evening with the books and paper . We do have a jet set lifestyle don’t we !

Sunday 30 October

Leaving Canterbury behind we drove to Dover and visited the White Cliffs,walking along them until we reached the Fan Bay deep shelter. This was a series of tunnels from the Second World War which served as a shelter for a big gun battery used to protect the shipping from the Germans.

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These were built when Winston Churchill visited and was disgusted to see German ships sailing through the Channel without any form of interference.

Now owned by the National Trust, we had a guided tour through them coming out briefly into the sunshine by the Sound Mirrors which were used in the First World War. These were big concave concrete circles where a soldier would stand and the amplified sound of German planes could be heard so an early warning could be made that an air raid was imminent. Bummer  if it was in winter, your tabs would get pretty cold quickly !

Once back underground again we continued our tour, contemplating the damp and cold conditions that 185 soldiers lived in here throughout the war.

On exiting back into the warmth of the beautiful autumn sunshine, we continued our walk along the cliffs to the  South Foreland lighthouse where we had a cream tea in the cafe which was the former lighthouse keepers house now called Mrs Knott’s tea rooms after the wife of the original keeper.

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Suitably fed and watered we had another guided tour through the workings of the lighthouse. This was originally built to warn ships off the Goodwin Sands at the entrance to the channel leading into the river Thames.

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Built originally in 1846 it replaced a previous lighthouse built in 1730 which had an open fire. The current lighthouse firstly used oil, then gas and finally from 1859 was the first electric powered lighthouse in the world. It was decommissioned in 1988 when GPS shipping became the norm as it was deemed to be confusing for shipping to see the light.

After a very interesting day and some exercise in the lovely weather we returned to “Cis” and made our way to our stop for the night at a Caravan Club site just north of Folkstone at the village of Densole called Black Horse Farm. This is a very neat site and obviously popular with people stopping for the night prior or after going through the Channel Tunnel.

Once we had settled on the pitch we visited the Black Horse pub for a couple before returning for a beautiful cooked dinner from Chef Jane, Nottingham’s Four Michelin starred answer to Nigella. Then it was chill out time again before lights out.

Monday 31 October – Happy Halloween.

Once more we woke up to glorious sunshine and having a very steady start we made our way eventually from Kent into East Sussex.

We stopped first at Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, which were beautiful and although Autumn were still full of colour.

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The area was originally a Pig Farm, then between 1756 and 1763 was used as a prisoner of war camp for french soldiers. Then it became a poor house until 1855 when it reverted to a farm.

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In 1930 it was bought  by Harold and Vita Sackville-West who spent most of their lives reshaping and stocking the gardens and renovating the buildings to a liveable standard. In 1967 after Vita’s death it was gifted by Harold to the National Trust

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Leaving Kent behind we snuck into East Sussex and visited another National Trust building, Bodiam Castle. Bodiam is a 14th-century moated castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, with the permission of Richard II, ostensibly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War.

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The castle remained pretty much in use until after the Civil War when it was dismantled internally in the 1600’s and left as a ruin until 1829 when it was bought privately and remained in private ownership until 1925 when it was acquired by the National Trust.

Romeo Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo !

Romeo Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo !

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The Castle Guide just couldn't get his head together !

The Castle Guide just couldn’t get his head together !

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Elvis was getting a little thin these days !

Elvis was getting a little thin these days !

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After spending the afternoon at the Castle, we drove out of that car park into the Castle Inn car park opposite where we had previously booked with them to stay for the night.

The pub was where Jane & I stayed shortly after we married 30 years ago. The deal at the time was free accommodation provided we spent a set amount on food and drink  (£20 I think ). The thing I remember most was this amazing Brown Bread and Butter Ice Cream but unfortunately they don’t sell it any more.

We had a lovely evening in the pub with some really great food, finishing off with a late evening chill out back once more in “Cis” before settling down for the night.Luckily the Trick or Treaters left us well alone !

The next morning after ablutions it was a straight run home although with another 30 minute delay again coming up to Dartford Tunnel.

That’s about it for now folks, next trip is at the end of December when we go back to Abbey Wood over New Year when we are planning to see the Fireworks along the Embankment in London.

catch up with us then

Pat & Jane xxx

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