Monday, 27 June 2016

I'm back - Part 2

I did so much in one short break that it is taking two write ups!!

Dover Castle was my next visit and after catching the Road Train to the top my first visit had to be to the Roman Pharos or lighthouse.  Built in 43AD and still standing after all these years, next to the later built Anglo Saxon church -
The Pharos

Inside the Pharos
I imagined Romans lighting beacons also those years ago.  Then over the drawbridge -

and into the courtyard of the Great Tower built in 1180.

I went everywhere I could inside and recreations have been made of the way it would have been used -
Anyone for lunch??
I climbed a spiral staircase to the very top of the Great Tower and marvelled how people would have run up and down in medieval times.  There should have been wonderful views on a fine day but it was so misty I could hardly see the cruise ship moored in the docks.

The Deputy Constable of the Castle's home in the foreground

Following the highest point I then went into the medieval tunnels under the walls - very clever because this photo shows two slits (there were actually three but I couldn't show it in the photo) where the soldier could see in all directions and could actually fire arrows into the backs of soldiers trying to scale the walls!!  Very clever.
NB:  Not sure whether this photo is in the Medieval Tunnels or not as I took so many!! 
This seagull insisted on being in the photo!!
Peverells Tower
 You can stay in this Tower!
The defensive earthworks going down the hill
Note how misty it still is; I spent most of the day dodging showers!

I walked back down the hill for my next visit and to bring me more up to date. 
The entrance to the wartime tunnels
There are several levels of tunnels underneath the Castle and white cliffs.  This level, Casemate, were used to direct the evacuation of Dunkirk at the beginning of World War 11.  Fascinating and interesting and when I came out the sun was almost shining!!
The cruise ship is now visible
The ferry port but still I couldn't see France!!

So that was the end of a very full day and the fine weather didn't last because as soon as I got on the motorway there was torrential rain!!

Over the weekend I spent some welcome time with the grandchildren and we all went to see the Battle of Britain Memorial.

Winston Churchill's famous words about "The Few"

We walked through the site -
The wall with the names of all those who took part

The memorial statue looking out over the Straits of Dover
the children loving the statue of Bob the Squadron Dog
Is that a real tennis ball?

and the fighter aircraft
The Hurricane
The Spitfire

A wonderful morning out.

With all this gadding about I have not done much in the way of crafty things.  However I did finish this 'Dreamcatcher' that my youngest granddaughter had requested -

and it is now hanging in her bedroom window.

Since coming home I have started a new piece of crochet, almost completed my Mini Mania for June and have washed the fabrics to make a new batch of PJs for Wrap Pyjama Fairies.

So watch this space for some welcome 'craftiness'!!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

I'm back!! - Part 1

Having had a weekend in the Derbyshire Peak District, I had a day at home to do some washing and get ready for another weekend away.  This time however, it would prove more relaxing as I went down to stay with my eldest son in Kent.  As with most of this country at the moment we are having very wet weather for June, when normally it should be sunshine, suntan lotion and barbecues!! 

On the first day I decided to take a train journey from Tenterden to Bodiam and return, on the Kent and East Sussex Railway, a heritage steam train.
The engine would be pushing us there
Tenterden station taken from the train

We're off

Crossing the River Rother

Traffic waiting at the level crossing

Taking on water - it's only a little train!
I have visited Bodiam Castle before so decided to go straight back to Tenterden but first I went to see the Edith Cavell van that was used to bring back the coffin of the Unknown Soldier from France after the 1914-1918 war - very emotional.
A replica coffin

We steamed out of Bodiam on the return journey with the engine now at the front -

past Bodiam Castle  -

and back to Tenterden.

I then drove to Great Dixter to see the house and gardens again.  I visited two years ago but hadn't been inside the house so this was my opportunity.
The medieval part of the house built in the 1400's
The 'Oast'
 The Oast is a very typical Kentish building and can be seen all over the county.  Do follow the link to read about them as they are very unusual buildings.  All are now private homes and mainly round but some are square.
Flowers by the front door
 I toured the medieval part of the house (no photographs allowed), took a turn about the gardens and dragged myself away from the nursery where I could have bought so many tempting plants.
So ended my first day.
Plenty more to do during the weekend so watch out for Part 2!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Walking in the Peaks

This weekend has been all about walking - walking with the 50+ Adventure Club in the Derbyshire peaks, where we had mixed weather.

I met up with the two couples who were sharing our rented house in Tideswell, where I have stayed before.  Very comfortable, but we decided to have a walk on Friday afternoon to look at what Tideswell had to offer.  No sooner had we set off than the heavens opened and there was a cloudburst!!  Where better to get out of the rain than the local pub where others were also sheltering and a good afternoon was had by all.

Anyway next day we met up in the village of Litton and set off walking downhill through Tansleydale
How dressed up are we - it is supposed to be June!!

Nearer the bottom of the dale the going got rougher and there were runners coming UP.  Great admiration for their guts!  We passed these lovely cottages, which were once mill workers' homes, now converted to holiday homes.
'Shilling on the stairs' to let
Completely isolated in the woods.

Their back gardens
On down through Cressbrook Dale where we turned right and walked along beside the River Wye.
River to the right
The River Wye
A coot with babies.  Aaargh!
This is the Derbyshire River Wye and it is a tributary of the River Trent.  Very beautiful and peaceful and we thought we saw a water vole but it was a duckling sitting on the bank!!
Litton Mill

We passed Litton Mill and proceeded to the long (or so it seemed!) walk up Tideswell Dale, passing the only water vole we would see that day -
and so we had completed our first 6.5 mile walk of the weekend.  A convivial meal was had at the pub down the road in Tideswell with everyone attending, except our Chairman, D, who we later learned had been airlifted to hospital after being taken ill before the walk even started.

Next day, Sunday, we all met in Hathersage for the long walk up to Stanage Edge

We walked though glorious pastures full of wonderful flowers including some wild orchids.
"Are we nearly there yet?" Stanage Edge in the distance!
A very inquisitive sheep
 This sheep rushed up to us when we had a break for water and sweets - did he hear the rustling of the sweets?
Looking behind us.

We passed some moorland and were lucky enough to see and hear this bird
A curlew - much larger than I expected,

On we climbed with the promise of our sandwiches when we reached our destination.  However we were slightly disconcerted to see this black sky and wondered whether we would miss it.
Much blacker than this photo shows

This was the nearest that I would get to the edge as I am terrified of heights!!  Then suddenly the heavens opened and a deluge descended and with a rush to put on water proofs etc we packed up the remains of our lunch and tried to find the path down.  I didn't bother with waterproof trousers and so I got soaked, but we saw the lighter band behind the dark cloud and when that got to us the sun shone and we all dried off.  Finally after a wet descent we came out onto this grass path

where we were surrounded by swarms of midges and so back down to Hathersage and a very welcome cup of tea and a slice of cake!  A long 7.5 walk but I loved it.

A great weekend in Derbyshire and one we will never forget as Chairman D, is in Derby Hospital and we all wish him a speedy recovery.