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Category: Kent

A high speed trip.

A high speed trip.

The high speed railway route from St. Pancras Station in London runs down through Ashford in Kent, under the English Channel, and thence to foreign climes. On its way it also passes through Stratford International Station in Greater London and, as I have mentioned before, the rail route from our local station goes through Stratford on its way into London.

Part of that high speed route can also be used to get to other places in Kent so on Saturday we went, by high speed train, to meet two friends of ours, Ian and Carole, in Kent who live very near Rochester and that is where we all met.

We caught our usual train from our usual station and travelled to Stratford then walked for 10 minutes to Stratford International Station and caught the train to Rochester. The run to Ebbsfleet, the next station, is on the high speed line but it is mostly underground having to pass under the River Thames. We were obviously travelling fast but I've no idea what our actual speed was although these trains have a maximun speed of 140 MPH. It took us 30 minutes to get to Rochester where Ian and Carole were waiting for us at the station.

Walking out of the station we crossed a road or two and very soon found  ourselves in High Street.

You can see that the town was expecting us because of the bunting hung across the street. A short distance along and we came across this building – notice the legend just above the doorway in the second picture.

The building is late 16th century and was once a town house but has been converted to three shops. This building was used by Dickens as the model for Pumblechook's home.

The Kent countryside near Gad's Hill Place, Dickens's last home, is the setting for Pip's childhood in Great Expectations, and Rochester is the model for the 'nearest town'.

Mr. Pumblechook was charged with escorting Pip to Miss Havisham's house for the first time. Because of this, Mr. Pumblechook believes forevermore that he had a big hand in helping Pip to his fortune.

A little further on we saw Eastgate House dating from around 1590.

The second picture is the rear view showing the Swiss Chalet, where Dickens wrote some of his greatest works, which was given to him by the French actor Charles Fechter and it arrived on Christmas Eve 1864. It was originally located opposite Dickens' house on Gads Hill.

There are two rather dubious looking Dickensian characters sitting on the wall and some even more dubious characters over to the left. Amanda on the right, Carole in the centre and Ian on the left. This is the middle of June and you'll notice that we are all wearing jackets. We are still waiting for a proper summer.

Leaving Eastgate House we hopped up Crow Lane to the Vines. The Vines used to be the vinyard of the local monks but now it's a small park and a very nice one.

Just opposite the Vines in Crow Lane is Restoration House where Charles II stayed on his return to England in 1660 to be crowned (the restoration of the monarchy). The building is the amalgamation of two medieval houses.

We left the Vines at the far end and emerged into Minor Canon Row. These Canons are not the BOOM BOOM sort but the eclesiastical sort, you understand, and they needed somewhere to live so this row of 7 Georgian townhouses were built for them between 1722 and 1735.

Walking round the corner at the far end and we get our first view of the cathedral.

It didn't take us long to get to the west end and the main entrance where we went in. Entrance is free.

There are more photographs of the interior but you'll have to wait for those to appear on the main web site.

Back in the High Street we stopped for lunch in a nice little restaurant called the Atrium with plenty of wooden beams. Service turned out to be a bit slow but the food was very nice. Well, of course I had the Chocolate Truffle Torte for dessert – I mean, do I look silly?

Whilst we were having lunch we could see, out of the window, this building across the street.

It was the Poor Travellers' House dating from the late 16th century. It was endowed under the terms of Richard Watts' will of 1579 providing a night's board and lodging for six poor travellers. More pictures will appear on the web site later.

A little further along High Street next to Two Post Alley is this rather interesting Tudor building and it really is that wonky.

You may notice a small bit of the castle beyond the end of the alley.

The weather was deteriorating by this time with a very strong wind so we went for a quick look at the castle and I managed this photograph in a quick flash of sunlight.

It looked very impressive but we didn't want to hang around in this weather so we'll have to make a return visit.

Ian and Carole took us back, in their car, to their house for some tea. We had strawberries and cream with some coffee and walnut sponge to follow which was very nice indeed. I'm desparately trying to make you envious here; I hope it's working.

When it was time for us to leave Ian and Carole drove us back to Rochester Station where we caught our train to Stratford and thence another train home.

Rochester was a very pleasant town packed with interest and just 40 minutes from London making a nice day trip destination.


Hungry? Time for a Sandwich.

Hungry? Time for a Sandwich.

We are off on our travels again and, on our way to somewhere, we called in to somewhere else.

This is what somewhere else looks like:

Note the Mote (That's a clue).

This is one of the rooms:

So where do you think it is? I'll give you another clue – it's within a 70 mile radius of where we live.

After seeing that we drove on to where we are as I write this – 'somewhere'. More of that tomorrow and I've given you a clue to that too.

I can see that nobody, thus far, is prepared to hazard a guess about where we are now. This is two of the various locations we have visited.

We came through a well known cathedral city to get here and we have worn our legs down to the knees walking around. So, where are we. You'll have to hurry we're leaving tomorrow.

Well you people aren't much good are you? I'll spell it out for you.

We left home on Sunday and travelled to Ightham Mote in Kent then moved on to Sandwich, also in Kent, where we stayed until Tuesday morning.

It's amazing what the Royal Mail will deliver these days.

We went home via the cathedral city mentioned above i.e. Canterbury.

That's the Quire.

We are back home and I now have more pages to construct for the web site – some for Sandwich and Ightham Mote and some additional pages for Canterbury.

No peace for the wicked. :evil:

Down South – Day 4 – Sunday 27th Sept.

Down South – Day 4 – Sunday 27th Sept.

We go home today but have decided to call in to Scotney Castle, in Kent, on the way but before any of you castle fanatics get overexcited, especially those of you who’s names begin with ‘M’, let me explain that there is very little castle but a lot of garden.

By the time we’d had breakfast, paid our hotel bill and driven to Scotney Castle it was a little after 11:00, they don’t open until 11:00 anyway, but the car park was nearly full; well it was a sunny Sunday after all.

We entered the grounds in a wooded area so couldn’t see very far until we reached a more open bit then went round a bend and saw this …

Nice view! We walked down the slope towards the ‘castle’ and arrived by the moat. The castle stands on a small island in the middle of the moat, which is more like a lake than a moat, and access is via a stone bridge.

The castle was built in the valley of the River Bewl around 1378-80 and, like Bodiam Castle, it had round towers at each corner only one of which remains. Some hundreds of years later a house was built here which incorporated the remaining ruins of the castle.

This shows a bit more of the ruins across the moat and that bright yellow plant, which I thought were flowers of some sort, turned out to be brightly coloured leaves. Very pretty though.

This shows a better view of the house which is, I believe, Tudor.

We went into the house, which is more or less empty, to have a look around but I didn’t find it particularly interesting. I did take this next picture whilst upstairs showing the area in the front of the house. The stone object in the centre of the circle is the old well head and, in the distance up the hill, can be seen the later Victorian Mansion. The mansion is open to the public but we didn’t go in.

We made our way back up the hill which is where I took this picture of the front of the Victorian Mansion.

Just around the right-hand side of the mansion is this little terrace where the old house/castle is just visible below.

As it was now lunchtime we adjourned to the cafeteria for a light lunch and headed back to the car. People seemed to be pouring into the place now and there seemed to be cars parked everywhere and not just in the car park so we were glad that we arrived relatively early.

That was the end of another trip and, we thought, a particularly nice one. We both liked Eastbourne very much and the coastal scenery is not to be missed. I’m sure we’ll go back.

A book cover village

A book cover village

Yesterday we drove to Kent, near Rochester, to visit two friends and, naturally, the weather was dismal. Low cloud with rain most of the time. We had a very pleasant pub lunch in a nearby village and on the way back to our friends house we went through the village of Aylesford. A view of this village appears on the cover of a book we have which is a Shell guide to England so, although it was raining, we stopped for me to take this picture.


Pretty ain’t it?