Chilham, Bluebells and Whitstable

Chilham Castle in the distance…

 

We decided to venture out for a day in Chilham for a bluebell walk which was organised by the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry). Luckily, we were blessed with a warm, sunny day and arrived an hour early due to my husband’s keenness for punctuality! The village is small with a medieval square overlooked by the impressive and imposing Chilham Castle. We wandered around hoping to find a tea shop open for a quick cuppa, but nothing opened until ten o’clock. They maybe missing a business trick here. It didn’t matter, it is wonderful to stroll around and take photos including the Tudor houses and St. Mary’s Church.

Chilham

Everyone arrived and met at Shelly’s tea shop, which was also irritatingly shut, and we introduced ourselves and ventured forth towards King’s Wood. The landscape and woodland around Chilham is truly exquisite and the bluebells just seem to become more impressive as the walk continued.

The walking folks were very friendly and I discussed my interest in health and fitness with a lady called Kate who was into fitness and yoga, and a possible hope to do a charity 10k run in the Autumn. Everyone, was very encouraging, but I’m still considering the challenge because trust me, it will be a massive task for me.

Some scientific conversations did ensue and we heard an interesting story about how nerve gas doesn’t dissipate into the atmosphere and could be doing the rounds on our currency! Then we were told a tale about when currency is scientifically examined, all sorts of drug traces are found…

The walk was fun and it is always interesting to chat to new people and hear their take on life. The views are incredible around Chilham and I’m sure the castle is well worth a visit too.

Whitstable…

 

After we had our lunch, we drove to Whitstable and after eventually parking the car, we wandered along the sea front. My goodness, it was busy. Apparently, this is where London people go to at the weekend. In other words, it has become the trendy place to visit. It shows too. All the old huts and houses have been painted and refurbished and of course, the property prices have, no doubt, shot up.

To be fair, it is a great place to visit with the selection of arty galleries, shops, (micro) pubs, restaurants, etc. We have decided to come back on a week day to explore properly and hopefully it won’t be quite so busy.

All in all a fabulous day out and I can’t wait to go back to Chilham and Whitstable.

Oyster stall..

 

 

Will this be the year of walking and photography?

Unfortunately, I’ve been poorly for much of January and only just getting back to normal. To be honest, it has made me feel low and lethargic. Hence, the lack of posts lately! However, one thing I have enjoyed is copious amounts of walking, as I’m recuperating.

This year seems to be the year for walking, as a form of exercise. The weather can be cold and grey, but it has also been sunny, cold with some beautiful sunsets. Walking is a great way to explore places and become fitter.

If you mix it up a bit, it becomes fun too. For example, you can go to local parks, countryside walks, town or city walks or go around a National Trust place.

Haysden Country Park, Tonbridge

 

London walks are enormous fun. You can discover squares, alleys, lanes, parks, heaths, gardens, palaces, rivers and so on. The variety of terrain is fantastic for the urban investigator and as well as historic areas you can view the visually spectacular as well. Certainly a different way of exercising and seeing the capital!

Another way of making walking even more interesting is to do them in conjunction with another hobby. I‚Äôve recently participated in a photography course which although basic, provided a wonderful insight into the world of photography. So sometimes the camera ūüé• comes with me and I stop and take photos.

Yesterday, I went to Haysden Park and snapped away. The blue sky and sunshine was very uplifting and I was impressed with the improvements made to the paths and area. When we arrived, I was furious to see you had to pay to park which is ludicrous. Yes, I know it may go towards the upkeep, but can‚Äôt help feeling it‚Äôs a bit ‚Äėbrave new world‚Äô when one day, we will only have a few green places left to go to, and will have to pay to enter and enjoy them. Sorry,¬†ūüėź got a little creative there, but paying to enter green spaces is the beginning of the end, isn‚Äôt it?

The park was busy, probably because of the glorious weather. The lake is beautiful and we loved seeing all the birds, particularly the graceful swans. Two swans had a noisy fight, literally a few feet away, which was captured with the Nikon (just).

The benefits of walking are tantamount to other exercise, especially if you do 10,000 steps per day. Rather a tall order to achieve daily, but a worthwhile challenge. If you are not used to exercise, it is the safest form of exercise, a way to lose weight and radically improve your health. 150 minutes per week of exercise, is the recommended amount we should all be doing and walking is something fairly easy to slot into life.

For me, I’ve been enjoying local parks, group countryside walks and solitary dog walks through local woodland and orchards. What I do fancy is some more city walks because it is great to explore new areas. Sometimes I just snap away on my phone rather than take a camera, but I’ve enjoyed wandering around the countryside and recommend to all. Take a good map so you don’t get lost and walk at a brisk pace. The speed you should be walking is 3 mph and be able to talk but not sing.

A great source of ideas is the internet because you can find some simple circular routes near where you live. To pass the time, I sometimes listen to a podcast or music, but this is rare, as I like to enjoy the surroundings in peace. All very tranquil and relaxing, particularly if you are having a stressful time.

My latest passion is putting a few of my photos on Instagram and a great way to learn from other professionals and decide what makes a good photo. Plus, it is somewhere to file your photos and receive opinions/comments from others.

 

Source: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx

Notorious – Bluebells, climbing, photography and a pub that refused to open its front door…

Wondering what to write for my next blog and saw today’s word prompt. Bluebells are notorious during May, in England. They grow in Spring, around now, and remind me of my childhood. My sister and I used to go out into the woods at the bottom of our garden and pick them. You are not allowed to do that now due to environmental stipulations and quite right too.

 

A wild, beautiful blue carpet of bluebells brings a diverse splendour to our woodlands and made a recent family walk quite uplifting. I was invited for a four mile walk and found the loveliness of the scenery quite unexpected and invigorating.  The ancient woodlands were swathed in blue and wonderful to experience. My daughter, tried out her new camera and I used my exceedingly good phone camera. We had a wonderful time admiring the scenery, playing about with photography and of course, climbing over gates and stiles plus a good natter.

The walk surrounding¬†Groombridge, Kent was delightful and staggeringly magnificent.¬†Groombridge Place is a great family place to visit if you enjoy wandering around gardens admiring the cultivated plants. They have a grand selection of different gardens and a forest. My favourite garden area is The Secret Garden because it reminds me of my favourite book from childhood, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett first published as a book in 1911. A great piece of children’s literature. Another memory. Funny how these small life experiences take you back!

The forest has an incredible area for youngsters which includes two tree houses linked together with rope bridges and a central viewing tower. Also many levels with decking and platforms sheltered under sail roofs. All inspired by the TV series Crusoe with some original props.

 

We all enjoyed the walk and decided to go walking more often. I have a birthday coming up and decided¬†a new camera may be prudent. I’ve always fancied pursuing photography as a hobby and feel the time is right. The clearer photography will be good for my blog, any future outings and this year’s travel plans. It may even encourage more walks, etc. and improve my health and fitness. We live in hope. ūüėČ

After climbing a flipping long hill at the end of the walk (and it was very flipping long), we popped into the local pub to imbibe in some refreshment. Unfortunately, we had started the walk early and arrived, gasping, half an hour before the place opened. We ¬†sat in the pub garden and chatted rather than move on and waste time¬†finding another suitable, local establishment. Who else has done that? Can’t have a table for half an hour or so, gone away to locate somewhere else because you are desperate for something to eat, only to realise that you might as well ¬†have waited and been patient because other places are booked up and ridiculously busy!

 

We sat and waited and waited. Went to the front door. Other waiting people disappeared and reappeared in the pub, happily supping their pints. The front door was still locked. Just deciding to move and find the mysterious portal that actually got you into the pub, and DA DAAAAaaa, a man appeared sheepishly admitting they had forgot to open the door. Never been so pleased to order a pint, I can tell you.

 

I was treated to a yummy pub lunch which consisted of a duck and hoisin sauce wrap.  This gave me an idea for future lunches without bread. Devoured in no time and I had earned it after climbing that steep, long hill, I can tell you.

 

Hope you are having a fabulous day and do feel free to comment about your favourite activities. Oh, and any information on photography is very welcome. 

Any follows are gratefully received, as well.

Bye for now,

Andy x

 

Twitter: @mishmashmedia_

Tenterden Folk Festival (Sat)

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We drove to Tenterden for some more music and the procession.

Another glorious drive but today it was pouring with rain interspersed with a little sunshine peeping through the grey clouds.  Typical autumnal English weather.  After purchasing sandwiches and crisps we stopped at Sissinghurst to eat the picnic in the car and drove on through the beautiful fields and villages with the rain continuing its relentless progress.

Upon arriving we found a parking spot along a side road and wandered to the folk tent and watched the amazing and talented Delta Ladies. ¬†Great fun and the group played many different instruments and seemed jolly ’em ladies with a clear penchant towards Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. ¬†I listened to the lyrics and noticed such matters. ¬†Vicky, the lead, joked that they were singing in the middle of The Chelsea Flower Show because of the flower arrangements that surrounded them. ¬†Unusual idea but a good one because the flowers looked great. ¬†The blues/rock/folk music was diverse and well produced. ¬†We were impressed.

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During this show we watched an extraordinary procession of traditional folk dancers and weird and wacky selection of Morris dancers.  Followed by a dancing display of lively, expressive Slovakian dancers throwing themselves around pretending to drink wine.  Great fun and quite funny.

We finished the day with a quick drink and people watching and decided it had been a fantastic weekend of dancing and music and can’t wait until next year. ¬†Or maybe we will return tomorrow (Sun)!

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Tenterden Folk Festival

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Yesterday, caught a bus to Tenterden to visit the above festival.  We enjoyed a ride through the Kent countryside which was truly glorious and helped by the late summer sunshine.  Yes, now it is the 1st October, I have come to terms with the fact that it is now autumn.

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Upon arriving, we walked to the pub, William Caxton pub and listened to a folk sing around with intermittent participation of groups singing and playing various instruments.

The enthusiasm of the participants was truly inspiring and some of the voices were beautiful with little or no accompaniment.

After this session we wandered around the town and I managed to buy some posh, high quality chocolate for hubby’s birthday. ¬†The festival is on all weekend and we may return.

 

Broadstairs (part 2) – Jazz, Art, Cafes, Skeletons, Quirky Pubs and Ab Fab Ladies!

Well, in the first Broadstairs blog, I didn’t really say what happened at¬†Broadstairs and as it was such a weird and wonderful day, here goes… ¬†We found a parking spot (which is amazing luck) and walked to the seafront. ¬†There was¬†a fete with¬†an amateur¬†art exhibition near the bandstand which was a jolly affair¬†selling the usual stuff¬†plus a small jazz band playing on the bandstand. ¬†The art exhibition was an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional art and inspiring to look at as we soak up the community spirit of Broadstairs.

Strolling along the promenade was uplifting as you look across the glorious views. I¬†headed towards town to the cafe “The Old Curiosity Shop” which is¬†fascinating because it has a well in it! If you look down the well you will see, not water, but human skeletons at the bottom! Enjoyed a cuppa and tea cake and carried on exploring the small but bustling town. It’s an enticing place with lots of independent cafes, restaurants, pubs and gift shops. ¬†Broadstairs may be on the small side but full of character and interest.

At lunch time, I ventured into The Chapel Bar to enjoy a pint and check out the craft beers. ¬†The Chapel Bar was an old book shop but has been adapted into a pub. ¬†Really quirky because the shelves are still filled with books on everything from philosophy to literature. ¬†Quite fascinating. ¬†The owners were opening the doors as we arrived and my hubby and I entered the premises eager for a small libation but they weren’t really ready and took about 15 minutes to pour¬†our beers! ¬†A person could die of thirst in that place although the beer¬†was delicious so I suppose it was worth the wait.

During the afternoon, we went back to the car,¬†grabbed some beach stuff and sat on the superb beach.¬† It was lovely and had such a warm, family atmosphere even though the weather was cloudy. ¬†After an afternoon of people watching, reading and snoozing we ventured into the Dickens’ pub for dinner.¬† This is a great place, ¬†commands wonderful views of Viking Bay and is very busy.¬† Luckily, a large party left as we arrived and I managed to seize a table for two. ¬†¬†¬†Then it happened.¬† They saw, they entered and conquered.¬† A group of ladies arrived en masse.¬† The noise was unbelievable and I couldn’t help noticing how most of them were tall and fabulous. ¬†I quickly realised they all had six inch heels on! ¬†Yes, I kid you not. ¬†Never seen such glamour.¬† Hair done, makeup done, fab dresses on and boy they partied on.¬† Squashed next to me, screaming with laughter (not me), I managed to enjoy a scrumptious roast dinner but I was glad to depart.¬† They looked absolutely fabulous though and that is great to observe.

After rediscovering the nostalgic grandeur and quirkiness of Broadstairs, I decided that I must frequent it more often so I can explore the surrounding area. ¬†Possibly a few days away next August for the annual folk festival…

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Broadstairs…

The summer is drawing to a close and it is always a good idea to squeeze a few mini breaks in as you can while the glorious weather remains.  Sometimes it is a worthy notion to explore a place you haven’t visited for a while and so Broadstairs became the obvious choice.

The drive through Kent takes about an hour and a half, especially if you attempt the journey during August.  But it is worth it.  Parking is ok for a start and then the day improves as soon as the first glimpse of the beach is spotted.  Broadstairs has seven sandy beaches and bays and the views are spectacular.

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Viking beach has everything for everybody, including beach huts, deck chairs, windbreaks, rides for children, cafes, a harbour and an impressive cliff top promenade that encompasses a band stand, café and park area.  As you saunter along the promenade you will come across cafes, pubs, art shows, gift shops and of course, Dicken’s House Museum.  This was the home of Mary Pearson Strong, who inspired the character Betsey Trotwood in Dickens’ novel, David Copperfield, one of my all-time favourite novels.

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The quaint buildings are a wonderful sight to behold and to be honest, I had forgotten how charming Broadstairs is with the distinctive architecture, independent shops, restaurants, pubs and nostalgic magnetism.

Also, the community spirit seems very much alive.  It has a great music scene (folk festival during a week in August), food and Dickens events during the year.

I really enjoyed a walk along the promenade looking at the enticing surroundings, then visiting the town and lunch in a café with a wishing well in it!  The food was yummy too.  After lunch wandered down to the beach and enjoyed the sun.

So what are the advantages of a day out in Broadstairs?

  • 7 sandy and safe beaches
  • Array of eateries
  • History (Dickens‚Äô Museum etc.)
  • Quirky town (gift shops/pubs/restaurants)
  • Community (Friendly and has many events and festivals)

Really enjoyed the day out and feel Broadstairs is a celebration of a great day out enjoying some sea air.  No wonder it is known as the jewel in the Thanet crown.