Saturday, October 31, 2009


Halloween and St Margaret at Cliffe.

Pity about the Tescos bag!
It is Halloween of course.
I would like to say that I don't believe in Halloween - nasty commercial American invention.
But just maybe it is the "Grumpy Old Woman" talking.
We didn't have it my day, so why should people want it now?

Normally if kids ring the door bell I ignore them or politely tell them to go away.
But actually I was enchanted by this group who had obviously made an effort with the aid of an elder sister.
We didn't know who they were - I hope their parents will not be concerned about a strange man taking a photograph of them!
We asked them of course and of course they felt proud.
A packet of my jelly babies ended up in their carrier bag - which they needed because the little buckets that the girls were holding were already full.

This morning the weather could have been the work of the devil himself.
It was dry when we awoke and so we decided to go to Ford.
It really hammered down with rain during our journey - hardly the light showers predicted.
And our homeward journey was shrouded in thick mist swirling across the Downs.
Magically there was no rain whilst we were browsing the stalls.

And browsing is what we mostly did - refusing to pay some of the high prices demanded by the stallholders.
Yes, I know that they had quality - but there would have been no profit, even a tiny bit for us.
We bought very little to sell.

But we did buy food.
A new butcher has set up a stall on a Saturday morning and we bought 3 packs of sausages and a joint of gammon - all for £9. The gammon is in the oven roasting right now along with the roast potatoes. It will last about 3 days at least I should think.
We bought free range eggs.
We bought some little pasties made by a Latvian stall holder - my vegetable one was delicious.
And Bill bought a good loaf of bread and a date cake.

The weather was so gloomy and murky that we decided to drive straight home. The Balaton is shut for the winter and we had pasties and cake to enjoy with hot cups of tea when we got home.

I rather wasted the rest of the morning.

But this afternoon I have been busy with wrapping and sending invoices.
I sold 8 more things on EBay.
I wonder why somebody in Paris, with a French sounding name wants an old guide book to Minehead and Exmoor.
A book on Elizabethan embroidery will be off to Japan.

Soon it will be time for our lovely roast dinner and an evening of naff TV - switching from "Strictly" to the X factor.
I actually prefer the latter - though there are no doubt all sorts of influences at work there.
But I regret that in Strictly Come Dancing the public vote for their "friends" - mostly TV people who they see regularly on the soaps etc. Last week Jade Johnson, the long jumper, was clearly one of the best dancers - the judges thought so - but the public don't really know her and therefore didn't vote for her and she was in the bottom two.
Back to Kent......
Now, I wish I could show some of France.
But you will have to take my word for it that we could dimly make out the cliffs of Cap Gris Nez from St Margarets at Cliffe.

This is what we might have seen on a good day in summer.

We drove there from Deal to explore the bay and get some lunch.

We didn't want a big lunch and the pub down in the bay was serving big and quite expensive meals. We already had plans for a meal at the pub next to the cottage in the evening.
We ordered tea and coffee and sat outside with 2 pieces of cake.

Interestingly our phones alerted to us that we might now want to change to French time!

Both sides of the pub sign for The Coastguard.

It is from this bay - or maybe to this bay that swimmers choose for the journey across The Channel.

Interesting art deco style houses on the beach.

Pattern of breakwaters.

Ship coming in to Dover.

Now all I have left to share with you are pictures of the cottage and the area around. It will be spread over about 3 days I should think!
Tomorrow's weather will be much more devillish than today, so they say. We do not plan to be at a car boot sale.

Friday, October 30, 2009


A day out for us today and 2 weeks ago in Deal.

Today's pictures will take us back to Kent, but there have been more photographs taken today.
We both want to get the Kent pictures sorted first - so the Wey and Arun canal must wait until next week. They are still on the chip.

The day began with me in a quiet mood.
Today is the anniversary of of the surgery to remove the bladder.
It is not the actual date, which was November 2nd - but it did all happen on a Friday.
I really do feel the atmosphere of days of the week and so it is a Friday that feels exactly like that one 2 years ago.
So - happy birthday stoma!

We have both been absorbed with things at home this week - even though there has been good weather which should have taken us out.
Today we decided to rectify this - before the rotten rainy weather predicted for the weekend.
On my birthday we had eaten dinner at a pub next to the restored Wey and Arun canal. Walking the length of the restored part was promptly put on my list of things to do.

So, today we have walked about 5 miles. I will tell more about it when the photographs are ready.
It was lovely.
But there was a mishap.
I leaked! Stoma obviously wished for some attention on its birthday!
I am really pleased that it was dealt with quite easily in the car.
That felt like a real success for me.
And so we were able to continue to Plan B and have some drinks and a snack in The Onslow Arms.

Once we got home, my legs began to let me know that they were not accustomed to walking 5 miles. I have had lots of bad cramps.
Legs! You had better get used to it!

And so back to Deal. People at the next table in the pub at lunchtime were talking of their trip to Whitstable, Sandwich and Deal.
How I wish eavesdroppers could join in the conversations they hear.

The main part of Deal is based around 3 parallel streets.

The shopping street was busy, but not too busy and had all the normal High Street shops - plus some other individual interesting places.
One shop was full of all sorts of retro and nostalgia items.
Most were for sale but there were also items from the shop owner's collection too.
We spent a while there - browsing and chatting.

Here is a cabinet of items not for sale.

We seem to be collectors of stone heads.
We bought the third one in the Deal shop that we enjoyed.
The top one came from Lacock in Wiltshire, the middle one came from a car boot sale and now our "ugly" one from Deal joins them on the garage wall.

It was Middle Street where we really fell in love with Deal.

Middle Street is lined with pastel painted cottages.
They are old and interesting.

This one has an insurance plaque for The Norwich Union.

This is either Gold or Silver Street that links Middle Street with the seafront.

This is a neat and genteel residence nowadays.
But read below of the goings on at The Paragon in times gone by.

I love blue plaques. Houses are homes and it is good to know a little about the people who lived there.
Having walked along Middle Street we turned down one of the narrow streets to the sea front.
How lovely to live in one of the houses here.
Though 200 years ago these buildings were not homes for families, rather they were inns, pubs and brothels frequented by the sailors, fishermen and smugglers of the town.
But now the quiet painted houses make a seafront that is special - with no shops and arcades.

I can't decide which one of these I want. They are all lovely.
Imagine waking each morning in one of these houses and gazing out over the ocean.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Quiet day and a Fair Deal.

How shall I celebrate?
This is my one thousandth blog posting.

Maybe it is time to celebrate a life - this is what we say these days when somebody has died.
Today I read of the death of somebody who has ben a part of almost all my life - Norman Painting.
Who? Some people might say.
Perhaps the name Phil Archer may mean more to you.
Norman Painting has been playing the part in The Archers since 1950.
I can't remember when I first took note of this daily radio serial - perhaps a little later.
But I can remember feeling a little in love with Phil Archer whilst sharing in the daily pusuits of this fictional family with my mother.
Oh how shocked I was when his young bride died in the fire at the stables.

So, one thousand times I have recorded my doings and my thoughts at my trusty computer.
But a blog is very ephemeral - like a newspaper; here today and gone tomorrow.
So thank goodness that Bill has been busy printing pages of Kent photos for an album that we can treasure for all time.

This morning we had a few errands - posting parcels for a start. I wonder when they will arrive.
I am sure that people are hesitating to bid for things and buy online whilst we have disruption to the Royal Mail.
Nevertheless I described and listed a few more things this afternoon.

And this morning took us back to Spec Savers. We walked out yesterday with Bill's glasses and I commented that we wouldn't be going back in for a good while now.
Bill noticed things wrong and the frames needed adjustment.

Then we did a little shopping in Lidl.

And now to Deal - a place that was able to surprise and enchant me.
I had expected Sandwich to be special, but I hadn't realised that Deal also had beauty.

Today I will share with you pictures taken on the seafront and tomorrow we will look at a small part of the town.

It was very windy on the sea front. Bracing, they call it!
The pier is the only one in Kent now and, being modern it doesn't have the old world charm of the original ones. But it was good to walk out on.
It was built in the 1950s.

Even on such a cold day men were fishing off the pier. We saw a fish being caught - and were told that it wouldn't be for dinner, it would be returned to the sea.
The sculpture at the entrance to the pier reflects Deal's relationship with the sea and boats and fishing.

From the end of the pier we could look back at the unspoilt sea front.
There were no shops or arcades, just painted houses of all sizes.

Being in the cafe at the end of the pier felt very like being on a ship at sea.
We enjoyed a hot drink before venturing out to be buffeted by the wind once again.
We returned to Deal in the late afternoon and wandered on the beach by the fishing boats.
I think we chose the wrong spot - here were mostly old boats and rusty chains and tarry ropes etc.
The boats that went out to sea were further along.
But never mind. We enjoyed the beach and the sea.
We also looked at the lifeboat station and Bill bought some Lifeboat tea.

This boat looks like it is active and would be bringing home crabs and oysters.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This Wednesday and also the Wednesday 2 weeks ago.

I slept most of yesterday evening and most of the night.
This morning I woke up, still yawning fiercely and muttering "I feel so tired".
I guess it might be part of the seasonal depression. I have now been on the tablets for a week.
Today I was issued a prescription for other tablets. I saw the doctor again about the urine infection that I didn't know I had.
The first lot of antibiotics have begun the job of clearing it.
They have also cleared another unexplained problem. For over a year I have had blue skin around the stoma. The longer a bag remained in place then the bluer was my skin. Nobody knew what it was - the stoma nurse was stumped, though on my last visit to her she said it has been heard of before.
Well, maybe we now know that it might have been caused by an infection in the urine - which I may well have had for over a year.
So I will take another course of antibiotics and then collect a sample to be tested once again.
I should make an appointment to see Julie, the stoma nurse and report things to her.
After finishing at the doctor's we went into town for Bill to collect his new glasses. He will have to go back because they are not fitted correctly.
And we did a little shopping in Asda.
This afternoon I have been wrapping books for the first time in ages - but only 4 sold. I assume bidding might be slow whilst people fear long delays in the postal service.
The strikes are costing me a bit of money because I think it is best to pay for 1st class post rather use 2nd class - which is all that has been charged to the customer.
But it feels good to be back into the EBay routine, even in a small way.
And now a few pictures of Richborough castle.
It is an isolated ruin - apart from the cooling towers that stand tall in the Thanet landscape.
And being October time we were unable to do more than walk around the outer fencing. It is not open to the public in the winter months.

But first a view of poppies in the stubble that was spied as we walked from the road to the castle.
Richborough is Roman. In AD 43 the first Roman invasion of Britain is said to have landed here. It was at that time by the sea, but is now 2 or 3 miles inland.
There was a huge triumphal arch within the castle - but apparently all that remains of it is the base.
The tall outer walls which were almost all that we could see from the fence were built 200 years later, by Romans to reinforce their defences against the Saxon invaders.

It is presumed that St Augustine landed here and rested before proceeding to Canterbury.
Tomorrow I will share with you some photographs of Deal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Have a Ham Sandwich

Let us start with a smile!
Bill found the photo on a web site of the signpost I had commented yesterday that we had failed to find near Sandwich.
The weather today has been warm.
It is unseasonally warm so they say - but long may it continue.
Bill has worked outside. He has put a new light by the back gate - the sensors on the old one failed to work and that light is important to us, particularly at this time of year.
I spent the morning creating the first part of a blog I am intending to keep about the shop.
This one will be open to all and I hope that search engines will find it and it might bring more people through our door.
I shall add to it once a week with news and more photos.
I feel that at the moment it is a bit thin - but time will give it more oomph.
This afternoon, whilst Bill was at the dentist, I went out into the garage to get more things ready for when we do a car boot sale. Might as well be prepared so that we can do it when the weather is good.
It could have been tomorrow - but I have a doctor's appointment.
But having worked in the garage I remembered just how careful I have to be with carrying boxes; the weight is taken on my body and the wee bag.
You can guess the outcome!

Do you remember my outrage about a negative EBay feedback?
That buyer has contacted to say that the item I sold has now arrived!
There has been a considerable hold up it is true.
But what a shame my Dutch buyer was so impatient and cross.
Ashley has sent me the relevant page to request that a feedback be retracted. I'll see if I get any success.
And now back to Sandwich - its doors and windows.
We both find doors and windows attractive and think they make the personality of the house.
We are not alone.
Whilst I was photographing a door a woman stopped and told us about an exhibition held in the town of photographs of doors.
And Dublin even has postcards of some of the lovely Georgian doorways there.

Next time we will have a glimpse of the Roman remains of Richborough Castle.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Dorking today and Sandwich back then.

What a beautiful morning!
The autumn colours are just beginning to be magnificent and in the sunshine today the drive to Dorking was a delight.
Shame, though that the drive home was almost in the dark. With the clocks going back it is dark by about quarter past five now.

I have not felt on top form today. There are side effects to the drugs I have been given to control seasonal depression. I shall monitor how things seem and if it feels like too much then I shall not do it again next winter.
So far today I have not felt quite as bad as yesterday evening.

And I do have so much to be pleased about in Pilgrims. I have sold well. I was not expecting many envelopes today - after all we were there last Thursday; but I had lots to sort out.

And now to Sandwich. We all know how the Earl of Sandwich, not wishing to interrupt his gambling asked his servant to supply him with food that could be held in one hand and a slice of meat was stuck between 2 bits of bread and the sandwich was born.
There is a signpost featured on a postcard which directs people to Sandwich and the village of Ham. Yes, it points to "Ham Sandwich"
We looked for it, but didn't find it.

Sandwich is a gem - every way you turn the small town reveals beauties and history.

Place where Dutch weavers set up trade in 1500.

The Guildhall.

This was a home of Thomas Paine - writer of The Rights of Man.
We have photographed another home of his in Lewes.

This house is called The Old Dutch House.

The first building we came to, having parked the car at the edge of the town was a church.

It was quite mystical walking into this building - and so unexpected.
The haunting strains of Mozart Symphony No 21 echoed round an empty building.
I don't just mean empty of people - but without pews, without altar or any of the other trappings of a church - just a huge open space.
There was, in fact, one person there.
He was getting the sound system ready for a concert. The church is still a consecrated building and can and does have some services but is used nowadays for concerts of many kinds.
There would be musicians with medieval instruments performing on the following Saturday.

This is the parish church. Note the Dutch gabled house in front of it.
This church too was being used for an event. The East Kent Artists Association had an exhibition , which we enjoyed.

Sandwich was once the gateway to Europe.
The River Stour formed a wide estuary and soldiers, dignitaries, traders etc would all sail into or out of Sandwich port.
But Sandwich is nowadays about 2 miles from the sea and the river has narrowed. There is still some fishing and of course pleasure craft.

Now for a few miscellaneous quirky views,

The old East Kent Bus Company bus station.

I wish I had photographed more of the Shepherd Neame pub signs. Shepherd Neame beer is brewed not far away at Faversham.
We thought we might have lunch at this pub - but inside I was not impressed and we walked out. We were so glad we did when once we had sat at tables in a lovely, friendly cosy cafe close by.

My last picture today transports us to other holidays. It was a painting at the art exhibition. Most pictures were behind glass and impossible to photograph well - but this Thailand beach scene was just on canvas.

Tomorrow I shall share another slightly quirky way of exploring a lovely town with a camera.

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