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Last night I arrived in Salisbury for my next booking. Just 1 week but enough time to enjoy the area and explore. I’ve visited Salisbury and the Cathedral in pre-covid days, and love this area.

Because I only officially started work at 11am today, I was free to go walkabout last night and again this morning…. which I duly did.

I’m working very close to the cathedral and can virtually see it from the front door of the house. Its an incredibly historic area and there’s a medieval hall within walking distance…like about 100 yards. Its amazing.

Because it was quite dark I didn’t stray too far, and didn’t take too many photos…but nonetheless, my camera was busy once again.

Here are a few images to whet your appetite

The main entrance

The original Salisbury Cathedral was completed at Old Sarum in 1092 under Osmund, the first Bishop of Salisbury. In 1220 the foundations were laid for the Cathedral at the site it is today.

Stunning carving of Madonna and child above the entrance

There are an amazing array of sculptures dotted around the cathedral grounds….

String Quartet
St Anne’s Gate
A bricked in door next to Malmesbury House
History on the wall at Malmesbury House
The Chapter House – outside the cathedral walls
Outside the cathedral walls
I’d love to know how old that house is
Love love this
Salisbury Cathedral looking ethereal in the dark

Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, England. The cathedral is regarded as one of the leading examples of early English Gothic architecture. The main body was completed in 38 years, from 1220 to 1258.

At 80 acres, the cathedral has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain. It contains a clock which is among the oldest working examples in the world. Salisbury Cathedral has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta. I was lucky enough to see the Magna Carta on my last visit.

In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration.

I’ll post some more photos taken this morning of the sculptures in the grounds, of which there is an amazing array, well as of the river Avon and some of the buildings in the city.

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My latest assignment has not taken me too far afield this time and I find myself in the depths of Kent. Not too far from where I’m located are villages familiar to me; Charing for instance….I stayed there on my pilgrimage to Canterbury in September. 🙂 so that’s been a fun discovery. I am of course familiar with Faversham having stayed there in 2017 during my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral, as well as which I finished my latest stretch of the English coast there last Saturday – from Whitstable to Faversham. The Sun Inn; 14th century inn, was the perfect place to stay and I’d love to stay there again sometime.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – 14th century inn with the best room and bath ever

However, the house where I’m working is toooo far from Faversham for me to do any proper exploring, but I have a few country roads I can follow and so far I’ve had 2 good days to get out and about. Of the 5.5 days I’ve been here so far, 1,5 produced rain and 2 produced fog…so I’ve only managed 2 proper walks since arriving on Monday 4th. The sun looks like its burning through the fog so hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for walking.

foggy day in kent
a foggy day in Kent

In the meantime the two walks have unveiled some gems as far as churches are concerned and some amazing houses…..some of which date back to the 15th century. In fact the house I’m working in was built in 1435!!! It’s pretty awesome with some fabulous beams and a huge fireplace. The floors are really wonky and sink in the middle and without heating, its VERY cold!!! I’ll let the photos do the talking

country walking
the long and winding road…..
first world war throwley airfield
Throwley Airfield 1917-1919
the old school house
The Old School 1873-1935
houses at Throwley Forstal

Although I haven’t been able to get out that much, I have walked far and wide, clocking up 16.3 kms over 2 days. Its something of a challenge to find different routes when you’re limited to long stretches of road and a 2 hour break. If I had longer, I’d walk to Faversham for sure. It’s only 5 miles away but would take 1hour 35 minutes to walk there and no time to return before my 2 hours is up!!

I have though seen 2 beautiful sunsets and enjoyed the lengthening shadows of the graveyard. Hopefully tomorrow will bring fine weather so I can get out again…

p.s. there may be a problem with the photo galleries…..if there is I will fix them later…..they look fine via my computer, but on my phone there seems to be an issue….sorry for that.

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Yesterday’s Camino 2018 practice walk took me up to Montgomery Castle. I hadn’t been up for a fair while; snow and frost. Well mostly frost, since the snow was so last year 😉 and I have actually been up once since I arrived here on the 3rd…

I’m trying to get in at least an hour of walking every day now. I remember training most days for at least 2 hours over 18 month for my previous Camino, but I’m hoping some of that fitness still lingers and that 9 months of training will be sufficient this year. It’s not a far distance, but it is all uphill and that final stretch sure stretches my lungs LOL My legs too complain loudly by the time I reach the ridge.

Although not as substantial as some of the castles we get in Wales and the rest of the UK, Montgomery Castle is stupendous, albeit just ruins and a fraction of what it used to be. I love the history attached and wish the walls could talk. The English considered it to be the Key to the Kingdom; the kingdom being Wales, since the border with England (Shropshire) is just a stones throw away and easily accessible with a fair walk.

montgomery castle, montogomery, key to the kingdom, castle of the uk, welsh castles, travel diaries, walk 1000 miles, castles in wales,

Key to the Kingdom; Montgomery, Wales

Built more as a defensive position than a luxurious palace, it played a key role in many turning point dates in the history of the UK…from Offa’s day till the 17th century, when in 1643 the castle was surrendered to Parliamentary troops in the Civil war by Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Chirchury.

map my walk, montgomery castle powys wales, castles of the uk, castle ruins, welsh castles, walk 1000 miles, travel diaries, walks in the uk, country walking,

The Battle of Montgomery 1644 – map my walk

Originally a motte and bailey (a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte and accompanied by an enclosed courtyard or bailey), it was eventually rebuilt in stone. Rebuilding commenced in the late summer of 1223; the 16th birthday of Henry III of England. The castle was eventually reduced to a backwater prison and later demolished by order of Parliament.

montgomery castle powys wales, castles of the uk, castle ruins, welsh castles, walk 1000 miles, travel diaries, walks in the uk, country walking,

Montgomery Castle, Powys Wales

montgomery castle powys wales, castles of the uk, castle ruins, welsh castles, walk 1000 miles, travel diaries, walks in the uk, country walking,

Montgomery Castle, Powys Wales; the ruined gatehouse to the inner ward seen from the south

montgomery castle powys wales, castles of the uk, castle ruins, welsh castles, walk 1000 miles, travel diaries, walks in the uk, country walking,

Montgomery Castle, Powys Wales; imposing walls built of stone

One of my favourite things to do when I get up to the castle is to sit on the ruined walls and just enjoy the quiet and the stupendous views. I can clearly see Offa’s Dyke from there as well as the Berwyns (range of Welsh Mountains). I believe there are number of Roman camps and mottes dotted about the country and it’s really frustrating to not be able to get to see them. I shall have to include a visit to this area when I have my motor home. A misty kind of day, in the distance you can see the promised cold front approaching.

montgomery castle powys wales, castles of the uk, castle ruins, welsh castles, walk 1000 miles, travel diaries, walks in the uk, country walking,

fantastic views across Wales and Shropshire from Montgomery Castle

Before leaving I took a walk right around the perimeter of the castle – looking up at the rocks on which the castle is built I am awed at the workmanship that went into this imposing edifice.

Distance walked: 1.86 miles (2.98 kms) – not much as far as distance goes and certainly not anywhere near the distances I covered during my breaks last year, but it’s building. At the moment I have quite a few projects I’m working on so have to split my 2 hour break between walking and working 🙂

 

 

 

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2016 was indeed a very weird year. For some it was marred by tragedy, for some it will be remembered with love. We all watched in horror as the tragedies in Syria unfolded, many sobbed at the deaths of favoured pop stars, actors, musicians and the like, either cheered or reacted with fury at the result of Brexit, and millions watched amazed and not without trepidation as America elected Trump as their next president (I use the diminutive ‘p’ deliberately). So much has happened in 2016 it seems that it was a year of extremes.

For me personally it was a year of highs and more highs, of love and laughter and a few tears. These were the highlights of my 2016

January:

goodbye 2016

January 2016

My daughter and I saw in 2016 at the London Eye and then went for waffles and cream at Caffe Concerto in London

Saw the amazing Les Lumineoles in London

February:

goodbye 2016

February 2016

I got my citizenship – my daughter attended the ceremony with me at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone.

Managed my very first ‘proper’ #selfie LOL

Got arty with my photography

March:

goodbye 2016

March 2016

My daughter treated me for Mother’s Day with a journey on the British Pullman Orient Express.

goodbye 2016

Cémanthe – my Mothers Day treat

Squeezed in a visit to my favourite palace; Hampton Court while in Thames Ditton

Bumped into my sister and Yoda at Trafalgar Square in London

I received my very first British Passport.

My daughter bought her first UK car

April:

goodbye 2016

April 2016

I travelled by ferry from Dover to Calais and got to see the White Cliffs of Dover for real

I went to Windsor to see the Queen for her 90th birthday walkabout

goodbye 2016

April 2016 Happy 90th Birthday Queen Elizabeth II

My daughter and I went to Paris for a day to celebrate both my birthday and my citizenship

I celebrated my birthday at Dover Castle and St George & his dragon

goodbye 2016

St George & the dragon 23 April

May:

goodbye 2016

May 2016

I spent 2 weeks in South Africa visiting family and preparing to send my possessions to the UK.

I got to meet my nephew and niece for the first time.

Started my Camino 2016 practice walks

June:

goodbye 2016

June 2016

I went to Trooping the Colour for the 6th year in a row – London in summer is gorgeous

I walked my first 28 km stint from Broadstairs to Sandwich (45279 steps!!)

July:

goodbye 2016

July 2016

An early and first visit to Bath to celebrate my daughter’s birthday

I saw the Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol – finally!!!

I visited my lovely friend Valy in Brussels and visited Antwerp

August:

goodbye 2016

August 2016

Visited Dover Castle to watch the 1216 Siege re-enactment

Spent the day in Canterbury with my daughter to celebrate her birthday

September:

goodbye 2016

September 2016

My daughter and I did our first geocaching treasure hunt.

I watched the annual Great River Race in London – my friends of the Trinity Tide won in their category again 🙂

I watched the wooden replica of City of London burn  at the 350th Anniversary event

goodbye 2016

04.09.2016 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London 1666

My first visit to Great Malvern in Worcestershire – added another county to my list

Spent the day in London and went up The Shard with my daughter and my sister

October:

goodbye 2016

October 2016

Spent a few days in Rye with my sister for her birthday and went to Hastings

Watched the cheeky Russian Navy sail their warship through our waters…

November:

goodbye 2016

November 2016

Went to my lovely friend; Lucy’s wedding – she married her sweetheart Tom

Visited Gravesend in Kent at last

My first visit to Lancashire – and added another county to my list

Reached the Worcestershire Beacon in the Malvern Hills

goodbye 2016

November 2016 – climbed the Worcestershire Beacon

December:

goodbye 2016

December 2016 – Worcester

Visited Worcester and the fabulous cathedral

Climbed to Worcestershire Beacon again

My daughter and her boyfriend got engaged at Tower of London – he asked me to be his Best Man for the South African ceremony 🙂

goodbye 2016

Cémanthe & Simon – engaged to be married in 2018

Celebrated an early Christmas with my daughter and her now fiancé Simon

goodbye 2016

2016 our first Christmas with Simon, first of many more

And along the way I watched hundreds of sunrises and a few sunsets, travelled far and wide and visited quite a few new places.

goodbye 2016

2016 sunrise and sunset around the country

I started my Camino practice walks that changed from 2016 to 2017 ;).

 

UPS lost my hard-drive with 10 years worth of my photos, memories and incalculable information (bastards). I finally upgraded my phone and made great strides in figuring out how to do stuff on the internet on my own.

goodbye 2016

2016 – some of the books I’ve read and 2 of my Camino practice walks

My daughter and I had many amazing mini adventures,

goodbye 2016

2016 mini adventures with my daughter

enjoyed numerous cream teas, I read a number of terrific books, watched The Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament and on Christmas Day.

goodbye 2016

2016 treats and the Queen

I’m no richer, no poorer, not thinner or fatter…my hair has grown down past my shoulder again and I have spent innumerable hours of fun and laughter with my daughter.

This is my last blog for 2016.

It’s been a good year all in all; goodbye 2016….see you soon 2017!!!

Happy New Year

 

 

 

 

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My sister thought it would be a great place to celebrate her birthday, her first in the UK and it was on my list of places to go in my quest to visit all the Cinque Ports; Dover, Hastings, Hythe, New Romney and Sandwich and their ‘7 surviving limbs’: Deal, Faversham, Folkstone, Lydd, Margate, Ramsgate and Tenterden.

Rye, now classified as an ‘ancient town’ was once a Cinque Port as was the ancient town of Winchelsea (of those listed, I have yet to visit those not highlighted)…. Places to go 😉

As mentioned in an earlier post my sister’s initial plan had been to visit the Isle of Wight but after reading an article about Mermaid Street in Rye, the decision was made to spend a few days in this ancient of towns. The first thing we discovered is that the cobbles in Mermaid Street were laid in the 1600’s!!

why go to rye

imagine all the history these cobbles have seen….

History that’s right up my street, so to speak 😉 How could I not want to go there. And so our plans were laid.

Initially there were meant to be four of us, but my sister’s two friends pulled out and so it was just the two of us…that reminds me of a song….LOL But let me not digress, Rye awaits.

We decided to arrive the night before so as to be in the town on her birthday…great idea! I had the hotel tie balloons to her chair for breakfast and persuaded them to put candles onto her breakfast plate!

Where will we put the candles they asked? Oh stick them in the sausage, I replied (as I crossed my fingers and hoped she ordered a full-English) – she did and to her surprise the breakfast arrived with 5 flaming candles!!! accompanied by a fantastic rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, if I may say so myself 😉

So those were our reasons; here are the reasons you should go!

Ancient history: Rye’s history dates back to before the Norman Conquest at which time it was a small fishing village almost surrounded by water. Since then, the sea has retreated and although there is still a small harbour and a river, the town now lies 2 miles from the sea. Fascinatingly the river is affected by the tides, so it’s fun to watch the ships and boats moored alongside rise and fall on the incoming and outgoing tides. I know – it’s the little things that please me!

why you should go to rye

old fishing boat in Rye Harbour on the Rother

Mermaid Street: listed as one of the prettiest streets in Britain, this quintessentially English street is lined with amazing architecture; the Mermaid Inn, a Grade II* listed building – one of the oldest inns in Britain; restored in 1420 (hello!! note it was ‘restored‘ in 1420!!),

why go to rye

The Mermaid Inn, Rye – restored in 1420

sits comfortably alongside extraordinary Tudor Houses, gorgeous Georgian Houses and a mix in between, bearing some of the most quintessential house names you could imagine, in fact the house names in the whole town were just wonderful.

why go to rye

House names in Rye

We found the street utterly enchanting and spent ages photographing just about every house. The cobbles lend a charming aspect to the atmosphere of stepping back in time and you feel as if at any time a pilgrim could come slowly by, followed perhaps by a knight on his horse or maybe a royal entourage on it’s way to the inn….talking of which, you simply must step into this gem of a building. Oh the history!! It’s extraordinary and I would love to spend a few nights there!!

why you should go to rye

Mermaid Street in Rye

Rye Castle Museum and Ypres Tower: there is something quite spine-tingling when you turn a corner and discover a castle!! My jaw dropped…just wow!!

why go to rye

Rye Castle; Ypres Tower

Thought to have been built in the early 14th century, Ypres Tower (Rye Castle) was part of the town’s defences and the 2nd oldest building in Rye. Although not as big as some castles I have visited before, Ypres Castle is beautiful. Explore the building to discover the Tower’s role through 9 turbulent centuries. Climb to the battlements for a view of the salt marshes and the remains of what during the 16th century was one of the largest and 7th busiest port in England. The views are to die for!!

why go to rye

the view from the battlements of Rye Castle

Head below ground to the dungeons and try your hand at archery! It’s not as easy as it looks in the movies and the swords are rather heavy!! There are some helmets you can try on for fun 😉 We made ourselves look quite silly. while you are there be sure to visit The Women’s Tower; a 19th century prison (believed to be the only women’s prison to survive unaltered from the 1800’s to the present day), the Medieval Herb Garden and the gun garden.  At 3 East Street in Rye and just a short walk from the castle is the Museum where you will find an eclectic and fascinating collection of relics from Rye’s past; costumes, toys, pottery, shipbuilding, an ancient fire-engine and so very much more.

St Mary’s Church; the oldest building in Rye; the Parish Church of Rye has, for 900 years, dominated the hill on which this ancient town stands. Sometimes called the ‘the Cathedral of East Sussex’ the building of the present church was started in the 12th century.

why go to rye

The fantastic 16th century clock at St Mary’s Rye

In 1377 the town was looted and set on fire, the church suffered extensive damage causing the roof to fall in and the looters carried the bells off to France – not taking this lying down, the following year, the men of Rye and Winchelsea set sail for Normandy, set fire to and raided two towns and thus recovered the bells. Today you can climb the battlements and be amazed at the fantastic views of the surrounding town and countryside  and Romney Marshes from the tower.

why go to rye

view of Rye Castle and the River Rother from the battlements of St Mary’s

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view across the roofs of Rye and the windmill in the distance

On your way up, beware the bells – they bong on the hour and could damage your ear drums (ask my sister who stuck her head above the parapet just as the bells gonged the hour for 2pm!! She nearly fell off the steps in shock. One of the oldest church turret towers in the country still functioning, the ‘new’ clock made by the Hugenot, Lewys Billiard, was installed in about 1561/2. You can see the pendulum swinging as you enter the church. Do note that the stairway leading to the tower’s viewing platform are VERY narrow!! LOL.

why go to rye

Sioux and The Bell!!

 

The Landgate Tower: What a startling discovery!! I had seen it listed on the town map the hotel gave us, but that didn’t prepare us for the reality. Again we stumbled upon this ancient treasure quite by accident whilst meandering the streets and couldn’t forsake a closer look. After the French attacked the town in 1339 burning 52 houses and a mill, the Mayor and town corporation decided to build town walls and gates. They received a grant from the King; Edward III and got busy building walls and 4 gates.

why go to rye

The Landgate

The Landgate dates from about 1340. Of the original 4 gates, this is the most complete remaining. Touching the stones that make up this amazing structure gives me goosebumps. Just think about the history and the people this gate has seen…as they say: if walls could talk. There’s a delightful antiques shop right next to the gate and just beyond the gate is ‘Crepes on the Corner’ – the best crepes in town..and they were. I had Nutella and banana…delicious!!  There are glimpses of one of the other gates; Strandgate, incorporated into the Old Borough Arms Hotel at the bottom of Mermaid Street.

The Windmill:  We had seen this marvellous structure the previous day and on our way to Mermaid Street we decided to ‘pop in’ and have a look. I adore windmills, they add such a sense of history and mystery to a place….you feel almost compelled to go have a look. The distinctive and famous Rye Mill is a Grade 2 listed building and has been the inspiration for artists and photographers throughout the centuries. It occupies an historic site in Gibbet’s Marsh where a windmill has stood, in one form or another, since at least the sixteenth century. The Symondons map of Rye created in 1594 shows an illustration of a windmill in the exact spot where today’s mill now stands.  Now a B&B, we had a quick peek at one of the rooms. Located over the railway line and right next to the river, it’s charming and I can assure you that I am so going to stay there some day in the future.

why go to rye

The Rye Windmill

Rye Harbour: classified as a village, this tiny cluster of houses, jetty’s and buildings relative to a harbour are a delight to see. One of the most recognised images is an abandoned fisherman’s hut; black walls, a red tin roof with white painted windows and door that look like a face, stands almost halfway between the harbour and the river mouth.

why go to Rye

the old fisherman’s hut in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Rye reached the zenith of her power during the 16th century and at any one time there could be 200 ships anchored near the Strandgate – handling every kind of cargo from around the world. The largest and busiest port on the south coast during Tudor times due to it’s proximity to the continent, Rye’s harbour was more important than Portsmouth or Southampton. Although still a busy fishing harbour, today there are but just a few glimpses left of the original Rye Port, and to reach anything that resembles a harbour requires a short drive from the town to Rye Harbour – a drive well worth taking.

why go to rye

Rye Harbour

The harbour borders onto the nature reserve which is marvellous to walk through of an early morning.  The decline of Rye’s harbour was ultimately caused by the silting up of the river. Silt carried by the incoming tides stayed and settled in the bottom of the river leaving a film of silt which finally made the river un-navigable for ships. Today you can walk along the gravel road that runs between the salt-marshes and the river to the pebbled beaches. Perfect at sunrise.

why go to Rye

The River Rother flows down to the sea…

Rye Harbour Church: as you drive towards Rye Harbour and Nature Reserve, look to your right for a glimpse of this beautiful little church. Built in 1849 in the gothic style, the church of the Holy Spirit was designed by Samuel Sanders Teulon and constructed of local blue stone and Caen stone. Support for the construction of the church came from local estate owners; Mr & Mrs William Lucas Shadwell. In the churchyard is a memorial commemorating the 1928 Mary Stanford Lifeboat tragedy when 17 crew members lost their lives.

why go to Rye

Rye Harbour Church

Pubs: as with all towns like Rye there is always a church and those quintessential essential necessities of community life; the pub!  😉  We managed to eat at two and have drinks in one. On our first night in Rye, after exploring the lower reaches of Mermaid Street and surrounding area, we stopped at the Ship Inn for a yummy meal. A congenial location we enjoyed the atmosphere so much we tarried awhile and played a game of scrabble.

why go to rye

a game of scrabble at The Ship Inn

I love how you can do that. The pubs in the UK (and Ireland) are more like family gathering places than drinking houses.  For our 3rd night in Rye we booked to eat at the Ypres Castle Inn, a 17th century pub nestled at the foot of the castle! Accessed down a steep flight of steps the lamps cast an inviting pool of light for a weary, hungry traveller. As you walk down the steps you will find an ancient set of ‘stocks’ used for the naughty people of Rye LOL. We enjoyed a most delicious meal there; for my sister it was the Lamb Hot Pot and for me Battered Cod (the biggest piece of fish I have ever been served), delicious chips and mushy peas.  Although we didn’t tarry for long, it wasn’t due to the ambiance which was lovely. We had in fact both walked ourselves stupid that day exploring every corner and Lydd, and were exhausted by the time we had our meal. The staff were lovely.

why go to rye

the history of 4 inns in Rye

The streets of the medieval town: Rye is quite simply the picture perfect place to meander.  We set off just after breakfast on Saturday to explore and photograph Mermaid Street more fully…..5 hours later and we were still meandering.

why go to rye

Rye architecture

What an extraordinary array of cobbled streets, lanes and alleyways leading hither and thither, quaint houses line the cobbled streets up and down, each an enchanting delight. Every corner we turned opened up to more delights; with an “oh my gosh”, or “ooooo look there!” from me and a laugh of bemusement from my sister as my constant “okay, just one more corner” eventually turned out to envelope almost the whole town.

why go to rye

Rye, a gem of South East England

There are 15th century inns, Tudor houses, the Vicarage where John Fletcher, the Jacobean dramatist, was born in 1536, the Old Rye Grammar School erected in 1636, the old water tower next to the church and so very much more to see.

And last but not least: the three rivers – Rother, Brede and Tillingham.

why go to rye

Three rivers of Rye

The River Rother flows down to the sea….This is the river along which we meandered in the morning and the evening for photos. Used for navigation since Roman times, the river is navigable by small boats as far as Bodiam Castle. With it’s source near Rotherfield and it’s mouth in Rye Bay, the river flows for 35 miles through the English counties of East Sussex and Kent. Its mouth was further to the east at New Romney prior to 1287, but a great storm blocked its exit to the sea and changed its course to flow via Rye.

The River Tillingham rises from two springs near Staplecross, a small settlement in the Parish of Ewhurst in East Sussex and joins the Brede and Rother at Rye.

The River Brede takes its name from the Village of Brede which lies between Hastings and Tenterden. It flows into Rock Channel which is the tidal section of the River Tillingham and joins the River Rother at Rye.

With tales of sailors’, smugglers, storms, ships, seas and derring do, of pilgrims and kings, heroes, dramatists, writers, and a nursery rhyme, you simply must visit Rye!

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep! – According to legend, this well-known nursery rhyme derives from the deeds of smugglers in the town of St Leonard’s.  West of Burtons St. Leonards is the area known as Bo-Peep which was once a tiny village renowned for smuggling in bygone days:

why go to rye

One of 4 Smuggler gangs that operated in the area of Rye

           Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep and doesn’t know where to find them;                                                      leave them alone, And they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them

Little Bo-peep fell fast asleep, and dreamt she heard them bleating;
but when she awoke, she found it a joke, for they were still a-fleeting.
Then up she took her little crook, determined for to find them; she found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed, for they’d left their tails behind them.
It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray into a meadow hard by,
there she espied their tails side by side, all hung on a tree to dry.
She heaved a sigh and wiped her eye, and over the hillocks went rambling,
and tried what she could, as a shepherdess should, to tack each again to its lambkin.

Rye is a real gem of England; playing a very important role in the history of the country, remnants of which can still be seen today.   It’s pictureque, charming and an absolute delight to explore. We loved it!

why go to rye

Originally, the Cinque Ports (pronounced ‘Sink’ Ports) were a confederation of five harbours, Sandwich, Romney, Dover, Hythe, and Hastings plus the two Ancient Towns of Rye & Winchelsea. Grouped together, for defence purposes, by Edward the Confessor, they supplied the Crown with ships and men.

 

Interesting links:

What are Cinque Ports?

http://www.ryemuseum.co.uk/home/ypres-tower/

http://www.faversham.org/history/maritime.aspx

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I guess it had to happen someday…moving away from London.

views of london

when a man is tired of London……

Yes, we’ve moved….okay technically we moved nearly 3 months ago, but what with one thing and another I haven’t had time to sit down a write about it. So after living in the area; 4 years for her and 3 years for me, my daughter decided to move from Richmond to Broadstairs….

broadstairs

Broadstairs – a seaside town in Kent

Here’s the thing. My daughter wanted to have a change of scenery, to get away from the noise and hustle and bustle, pollution and grime of the big city…or as they called it in the ‘olden days’ – the ‘big smoke’. We may not have much smoke by way of coal and wood fires these days, but the emmissions from cars, trucks and vans more than makes up for that!! It always gives me a start when returning from a trip overseas to fly in over London and see the levels of pollution…..urgh, we live in that! So I was totally sympathetic to her wanting to get out of it. She had been longing to move to the countryside/seaside for ever such a long time, to escape to peace and quiet, but I suspect she held off so long because of me…knowing how much I loved London and because we really were, despite the freezing cold house in winter and noisy upstairs tennants, very happy in our little house in Richmond. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end and so the decision was made.

richmond

Richmond Riverside

After many weekends away and trips to various seaside towns, some that made her go ooooo and others that generated a blergh…….a trip to Broadstairs yielded a delightful little house in a quiet street in a quaint seaside town….and her heart was stolen….she was sold …so to speak. I got a whatsapp message with images of the house and a ‘should I go for it’….yes, of course you should…..if it’s what you want then for sure go for it. And so she did, put the offer in and a few days or so later I got another whatsapp image…..’I got it!!!’ I was thrilled for her and devastated for me…although I think that’s probably quite a strong word as I had more or less by then, due to previous circumstances mentioned, decided to quit London and the business of London and move away. So this was actually ideal timing.

viking bay broadstairs

Viking Bay – Broadstairs

We had a final breakfast at our favourite café in St Margarets; La Creperie Bretonne

la creperie bretonne

our favourite breakfast place in St Margarets

Boxes were obtained, sorting began and soon our possessions were being whittled down and packed into what one hoped would be a few boxes…hah!!! Never underestimate the volume of stuff one collects over the years. However, I did a massive purge and all the personal development tapes, dvd’s, videos and boxes of books that I very foolishly wasted my money on in 2007/2008 took a hike….in other words, I destroyed the lot!!! Yes, I spent hours ripping up tapes, tearing books into shreds and destroying cds and dvds. I know this seems like a wilful act of destruction, but my feelings about this invasive industry still run very high. I am still smarting at the pervasive and underhand tactics they use to get you to sign up to their very expensive courses and I’m still paying the price; emotionally, mentally and financially. They sell you on the idea that by doing their course, your life will change….well it did, but not for the better…..especially financially. (and yes, I have written the book!) LOL But I digress….

So finally after much packing and dumping and selling and heart-wrenching decisions, we were packed up and ready to go…..and at the beginning of October (yes, I know, it’s taken that long) the van (please note the word ‘van’) arrived to collect all our boxes and things to begin the long trek to Broadstairs. It’s 80 miles…..and a very long 80 miles too may I add. We’re now closer to Belgium and France than we are to London!!! Go figure!! hahaha.

viking bay broadstairs

beneath the clouds is Belgium – sunset in Viking Bay

Anyway, getting back to the ‘van’, my lovely daughter had moved any number of times in her life, but never a major move besides one some years ago that we would rather consign to the annuls of history along with the jerk who was her husband at the time, and she had acquired quite a lot of furniture and household stuff in the four years we lived at Richmond. So when she got a ‘man-with-a-van’ and his wife in to give her an estimate of volume and cost, both she and they totally underestimated the amount of stuff there was…..and lo and behold the van, when it arrived on moving day, was too small. However, I am very good at puzzles, and did make a really good effort to squeeze everything in, I heaved and moved and shoved and jiggled and juggled boxes and furniture, and managed, much to the amazement of the van man and his sidekick, to get so much stuff in to the van that they were well impressed. In fact I quite simply put them to shame. I did in the process end up with a body covered in bruises and bloodied arms and shins. I looked like I had been to war! They should have paid me for doing their job. Hah!! But unfortunately she had to quickly scout around and order another van to collate and take with her the rest of the stuff left over. We ended up with a truck that cost as much again as the first quote and was that big it could have easily managed the whole bleeding lot. But, since much was already packed in the van and they had a few days ago given her the option to cancel, we felt we had to just go with what we had…and I wasn’t of a mind to unpack the bloody van again.

So everything in and away we went, barring some of my stuff……I hung onto the house as long as I could and since we had paid rent up to a certain date, I was determined to do as much in London as I could before I had to go. Crikey, it’s a long way….not to Tipperary but to Broadstairs. We finally made it and then there was unpacking to do. Firstly, I got stuck in and offloaded the van in double quick time, they really should have paid me….and very foolishly I didn’t get them to take the boxes upstairs, but had them pile the darn things in the dining area. Urgh!!! Stupid. Then they tried to get the bed bases up the stairs…..hmmmmm, yes, well….bearing in mind it was an old house, the people were not only thinner but shorter in ‘those’ days and as it turned out the damn staircase was too narrow and turned at too sharp an angle to allow us to get the bases past the first few steps. Bleeding heck…now what? So the mattress went up and (please don’t tell the landlord) but we took the bannister off the wall the next day and tried again…still to no avail, and to this day they are still stacked in the dining area…..but the boxes…..yes the boxes. Hmmm.

Now you might ask, where was my daughter while all this was happening…..well she, poor baby, had just come out of surgery after having a heart monitor stuck into her breastbone and was incapacitated. So Mama, did her thing….I’ve also had years of practice after having moved house on an average of about once every 6 months before she was born and 14 times in the 21 years after that, I had plenty of experience.

Once the vans were unpacked we set out to explore and have a very welcome cup of tea. Broadstairs is an absolute delight.

beach huts broadstairs

colourful beach huts in Broadstairs

Quirky shops, narrow roads, a rumbunctious pub, all sorts of fantastical items that have washed up onto the beach over the years, fantastic views, long stretches of secluded beaches, unobstructed views of the sunrise over the sea, a history that goes as far back as the Vikings and probably further, hence the name Viking Bay, a chapel that dates from the early 1600’s, little tea shops and home to the Charles Dickens Museum and Bleak House!!! Yes, yer man Charles Dickens used to summer in Broadstairs. Some of his books were written there and of course ‘Bleak House’….sitting for all the world bold as brass on the clifftop.

Bleak House, Broadstairs

Bleak House, Broadstairs

Marvelous. Once I had my girl settled in as much as could be, I headed back to London for my great London walkabout and my goodbye London excursions. Sadly I didn’t get to do or even see everything I wanted but I did a heck of a lot.

travelling in the uk

my luggage – from St Margarets to Broadstairs

 

Once I finally cut the strings that bound me to London I hopped on a train with 2 large, very large suitcases, (one suitcase handle broke before I had gone 10 feet along the pavement to the station) and a reusable bag of groceries…..and made my sorry way to Broadstairs.

First to Clapham Junction, then to Broadstairs and a cab to the house. Not at all sure how I did that journey, but it seems I must have managed because I did eventually get to my destination. Mind you the staff on South West Trains were ever so helpful and the Train Conductor helped me on and off with all my bags, bless him.

And so to Broadstairs.

viking bay broadstairs

Viking Bay – Broadstairs

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