501-504: 100% More Kentish

501 – Sunday 9th October 2016:  Hastings to near Merstham

Oscar demanded that we run with him in the AM along the promenade – scene of my return to racing on the previous morning… Now Oscar’s idea of running is that he runs in front and tangles up Katherine’s legs – have you tried to run with a doggy lead wrapped around your legs and a dog trying to pull you over?  It’s a real skill that K has developed with consummate ease! 

We had booked a campsite near Merstham not far from Leatherhead – to shower and do the laundry with our £99 twin tub…. It’s not good to shower too often – it doesn’t do your skin any good at all!  The usual highly stressed (not on your nelly!) chilled evening.

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View from top of Hastings looking down onto fisherman drying huts and boats … problems with getting pix off phone onto Mac Book!

502 – Monday 10th October 2016:  100%

For those young/mature folks in our readership – maybe your memories are a trifle befuddled at times – fear not – take the NHS Memory test! We had arranged this as part of my overall health MoT for 2016…  The young doctor was very impressive as he took me through the warm up questions – day, date, current UK PM, US President, etc… then the written exam! Words, shapes, numbers, addresses, mental arithmetic and repetition of old wives tales? “A stitch in time saves 9”…  Just as well he didn’t ask me to quickly say “Who’s a pheasant plucker, then?   I usually say “Who’s a pleasant plucker, then!”  Now you readers expected me to say a pleasant something beginning with “f…..” Well, I got you there didn’t I, then… this like conversations we have with Oscar – “Who’s a phleasant phlucker, then…” Thin ice here, James.   It appeared that I scored 100% in the test! The doc was kind enough to say that nobody had ever achieved 100% before in his recollection – but you ask – had he taken the test?   Cause for a celebratory meal later that evening … 

On our ‘woggy dalk’ back at the site, we were joined by a young man who lives locally who introduced us to a lovely walk and showed us the interesting church – see photos below…. fascinating rural history indeed.  Oscar and Hector the terrier had a fabulous romp.

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C11 Fresco in local church.  Protected by white wash until 1800s.  This is just one small area; the rest being the ascent into Heaven the decision whether you go up or down.

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It just rained as we started back and we were treated to a double rainbow.


503 – Tuesday 11th October 2016:  Rochester

AM – the same dogentanglement run with Oscar setting the pace…

Chardonnayed to Rochester – park stroll with his k9nibs – and discover the most vintage/retro shops we have seen in one town… another slice of Middle England in the Autumn.  Rochester is part of the Medway Towns, which also include Chatham and Gillingham.  Lots of naval history.


 Roadside parking for all of £1.40 for 5 hours … a bit of a manoevre to get as flush to the wall as possible, especially with an inconvenient lamp post.  parking attendant kind enough to advise us that one ticket would suffice despite our length.  The Norman Castle is the tallest in Kent.


From the castle walls.


The Cathedral glows post a clean up.  A volunteer inside told me (K) that it is the smallest Cathedral in the UK and has the second oldest foundations (2nd to Canterbury, which incidentally wanted £12 entry, whereas Rochester is free – well worth a voluntary donation!!!).


Normal curved arches.  Some Saxon remnants on the floor.


Gothic pointed arches, and there was a later Tudor chapel addition.


On to the most excellent New Dover Road Park and Ride facility near Canterbury city centre. The closest thing to a continental aire you will find in the British Isles! Separate section for motorhomes, toilets, water, chemical and grey waste disposal – for £4 per night!  15 vans by nightfall – obviously convenient for channel crossings…   Our reason for our return … Maddy joining us on the morrow for a day out – she planned to eat a roll in Sandwich!


503 – Wednesday 12th October 2016:  Maddy Sandwiched between Wingham and Canterbury

M bussed for free (nice driver) to us at the P&R for a sashay to Sandwich – but via a wander down memory lane – K’s Mum Diane’s childhood home at Wingham Well – nostalgic photos and much recollections of K’s young days… when she gambolled through the fields and found a haystack with a willing young peasant phlooker inside for some ‘dalliances’ – which of course you courting couples of a certain vintage will know is a dance with a daffodil stuck in your left earhole!!! 


The pub used to be called the Eight Bells.


Mum’s childhood bedroom was I think the middle window in the white part.  There was no wall here when a pub … a car park, large patch of grass with a huge cyprus tree that Grandad had planted.


A Dene hole had been discovered in the 1930’s which may have been used for smugglers.

We don’t know if the sandwich was invented in Sandwich, although certainly it is reported that in 1762 the 4th Earl of Sandwich requested meat between bread to prevent his having to stop playing cards!    It’s a  hugely interesting town on the river Stour (which used to be 4 miles wide – with 600 ships using the harbour!) – it has one of the 6(?) existing copies of Magna Carta in England – only slightly damaged – the constitution of the country – many people believe the England doesn’t have a constitution but it still underpins many of our current laws…  It was only discovered in 2015, folded up inside a book.

It didn’t have any single ‘wow’ attraction, but the whole added up to a lot.  Our visit was much enriched by the public toilet attendant.  Yes, you had to pay 20p to pee, but you got her wealth of local knowledge and leaflets … she doubled up as a summer time mini Tourist Info Centre.  She was even able to advise Maddy where the Gogglebox (?!) couple lived and which pubs they frequented!  Our town walk took us along the mounds that were the old town wall, where the ropes were laid out to dry – Rope Walk.  This walk became the Butts … nothing to do with bottoms, but where archery practice took place in medieval times – it is said that Henry V’s archers practiced here before their Agincourt win in 1415.  Thomas a Becket landed here from France – days before he was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.  Elizabeth 1 granted residence and the right to work to a lot of Flemish and Huguenot refugees, who brought cultivation skills, thus developing Kent into the Garden of England and influencing some of the town’s architecture.  Kent must have been a hotbed of witch dunking – we’d recently seen the remains of the witches ducking stool in Canterbury and we saw here the site of the duckings and executions in the aptly named Gallows Field!  In older times, if you were elected Mayor and didn’t want to serve – the Council demolished your house – will Boris Johnson please stand up!  



Many many timber houses.


The Guildhall built in 1579, with fully removable furniture so the Guilds could hold their markets here.


This photo is especially for Diane and Grahame – very phlucky people indeed! Have we just been banished from royal Rothbury port???

Back to the Canterbury Park and Ride for supper with M.  Mum, I tried to recreate your chicken with prunes, nice, but not the same.  Recipe please.

504 – Thursday 13th October 2016:  Our Plans went A’RYE

A leisurely start.  One of our moho neighbours told us about a universal tap attachment … if you’re reading this Billy, we nipped to B&Q and got one!

We’d planned to spend the afternoon in Rye, but en route J spotted the signs for the Shopping Outlet Centre … a full circle around the roundabout and in we went.  J is always very attached to his clothing … I have to wrest it from him for washing and at least one pair of walking trousers has seen better times … J came out with two pairs of jeans and two pairs of walking trouser.  Lovely GAP must stand for (not gay and proud) Gorgeously ‘Appy Prices … good discounts with a further 30% off … Jeans were under £30 and my two tops about £8 each.  We’re very ‘Appy too.

We are back at Dungeness for another night wilding … this really is a most unusual place (see previous post).