My Picture Story Book of England – Part 1, Staying with Friends in East Kent

After a week of unstable Internet access it appears a window of opportunity has opened up, so I am taking advantage of it to put together a pictorial montage to summarise our month in England.

Waiting to board our Cathay Pacific flight from Sydney to Hong Kong on 10th September. Note the Flying Kangaroo tail fins of Qantas in the background. We were lucky enough to fly Premium Economy on Cathay, but unfortunately couldn't justify the extra expense of using Australia's National Carrier.

Waiting to board our Cathay Pacific flight from Sydney to Hong Kong on 10th September. Note the Flying Kangaroo tail fins of Qantas in the background. We were lucky enough to fly Premium Economy on Cathay, but unfortunately couldn’t justify the extra expense of using Qantas – still regarded as Australia’s national carrier.

Meet one week old Hudson, born in England as we were arriving at Heathrow. He is the first child to our "almost" grand-daughter, S, who stayed in Australia with us regularly in her back-packing days. She'd emailed us the night before our arrival to advise not to visit her immediately as she was feeling a "bit off". I had responded that it "would be nothing a Tim-Tam couldn't fix." The next day S had 9lb3oz worth of baby son, and we turned up a few days later with six packets of the Australian chocolate coated biscuit which is  a favourite comfort food of hers.

Meet one week old Hudson, born in England as we were landing at Heathrow. He is the first child to our “almost” daughter, S, who stayed in Australia with us regularly in her back-packing days. She’d emailed us the night before our arrival to advise not to visit her immediately as she was feeling a “bit off”. I had responded that it “would be nothing a Tim-Tam couldn’t fix.” The next day S had 9lb3oz worth of baby son, and we turned up a few days later with six packets of the Australian chocolate coated biscuit which is a favourite comfort food of hers.

At the beach hut of our English "family" in Minnis Bay, Thanet, Kent. Bill managed to get sunburnt just sitting outside for a couple of hours. Even though mid-September, England was enjoying an Indian Summer

At the beach hut of our English “family” in Minnis Bay, Thanet, Kent. Bill managed to get sunburnt just sitting outside for a couple of hours. Even though mid-September, England was enjoying an Indian Summer

Playing Petanque (aka boules) with more of the English family, at Ickham, a country village in Kent

Playing Petanque (aka boules) with more of the English family, at Ickham, a country village in Kent

We had a day trip to London with part of the English family. We drove up from Thanet, parked near Blackheath, had a walk through the park across to Greenwich, gathering conkers on the way (‘A’ says they repel spiders so she keeps a few in the bedroom), then took the fast boat up to the Tower of London. We wandered along the riverside up to the Tate Modern and had an hour or so looking at the artwork there before returning via the fast boat and Greenwich walk. There is a staircase near the Greenwich Observatory which is a steep uphill climb at the end of a long day! Just a few photos from the many we took that day:

Poppies commemorating WWI at the Tower of London. In this part of the display, the poppies stream down the embankment like a river of blood

Poppies commemorating WWI at the Tower of London. In this part of the display, the poppies stream down the embankment like a river of blood

An unusual view of London St Paul's Cathedral as we walked across the Millenium Bridge

An unusual view of London St Paul’s Cathedral as we walked across the Millenium Bridge

I loved this Sculpture which decorated a courtyard of a restored warehouse along the Thames east London area. Reminiscent of something from a Jules Verne novel. Part boat, part carriage, made with "found" objects such as an old shower head

I loved this Sculpture which decorated a courtyard of a restored warehouse along the Thames east London area. Reminiscent of something from a Jules Verne novel. Part boat, part carriage, made with “found” objects such as an old shower head

We had a day trip to Duxford, part of the Imperial War Museums. We got an early start, as it was about two hours from where we were staying, and we wanted to see as much as possible. IWM Duxford is an operational airfield but it is also an open air museum of WWII air operations and aircraft. We spent about seven hours there all told and still didn’t see everything. Our first stop was to wander through the Concorde they have on display. Immense wingspan on a narrow fuselage which corresponds to a narrow seating area. Not a military aircraft of course, but significant enough to warrant a place in this aircraft museum. Most of the aircraft are displayed within massive hangers, and there are other hangers where repair and restoration take place. There was a Sunderland flying boat in one of the hangers, and then, as we were trailing our tired legs back to the exit, I spotted a Catalina outside, all on its lonesome. These craft are beginning to be an obsession of mine :-). Here is a small selection of photographs from the day.

The next day we went off on a day trip to site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. I can’t put up too many photos of this, as essentially it is a green field with placards which explain what part of the battle was taking place, and how it was proceeding. For all we know, the organisers could have stuck up these placards in any farmer’s field, but since the remains of an abbey are nearby, and history records that “William the Conqueror founded Battle Abbey a few years after his successful military invasion, out of gratitude for his victory and as a monument to the thousands who died there on 14th October 1066”, then we must trust English Heritage that we are in the right place. What we do not dispute is that a part of our Anglo-Saxon Australian heritage, no matter how minute, is linked to the events of this day. Also, I found the explanatory boards help bring the Bayeaux tapestry to life, and one can imagine the artisans working the tapestry as a blow-by-blow description of what transpired on that day.

This looks as if we are talking to each other on our mobile phones but in reality we are listening to the audio commentary on the Battle of Hastings

This looks as if we are talking to each other on our mobile phones but in reality we are listening to the audio commentary on the Battle of Hastings

On the way to Hastings/Battle, we drove around the Kentish coast, stopping at Deal, part of the Cinque ports. We walked out the coffee shop at the end of the pier, jutting many metres out into the sea. On a clear day, one can see France. At this time of the morning though, the drizzly mist (mizzle) was still burning off, and we could barely make out the pretty seafront of Deal itself. I am always astounded at how far the tide can ebb and flow in this part of the world.

Well, I am pushing my luck with the internet here, so will close off now and continue this story another day. My apologies to those who are still waiting for responses to comments on earlier blogs. Several times I have composed replies and then lose them when the internet shuts down. I always appreciate your feedback and will answer as soon as possible!

26 thoughts on “My Picture Story Book of England – Part 1, Staying with Friends in East Kent

    • I am glad you enjoyed them. I wanted to do so much more blogging of our month in England, but most days was too tired to achieve it. We got up to the Lake District and down again to Kent, via Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, Bradford, and Burton-in-Lonsdale. An eclectic mix of experiences.

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      • Sounds like you had a smashing time! I know just what you mean, when I go away I always want to blog along, but most days I’m either too tired or out of internet range. You can always put up some photos later on – I quite often post holiday photos individually from home. Anyway, really love your post. 🙂

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          • I always seem to have so many projects building up that I doubt I will get back to posting more photos of what we did in England, but it was a great time. By the way, I noticed your connection with John Knifton and also his interest in documenting the Nottingham High School. You might both be interested to know that I included two visits to the Crossley Heath School in Halifax on this trip. Two of my ancestors were there in the 1870-1880s when it was the Crossley Porter Orphan School. I was privileged to have a few hours looking through their archives. Another great experience.

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          • That’s brilliant! It must have been great for you to go and visit the place that your family has such a connection with, and it’s lovely that they have organised their archives so that people can come in and have a look around. Did you see much of the surrounding countryside when you were in Yorkshire? It really is breath-taking 🙂

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          • On this occasion my time in Yorkshire was mostly in archive offices and Bradford, although we did have one day trip on the steam train to Haworth, and also a morning at Bingley Locks. After we left Bradford we went up to friends at Burton-in-Lonsdale (near Carnforth) and had several outings to the Lake District. I used to work at Grasmere, and subsequently discovered that other ancestors came from Grange-over-sands and Cartmel. We did follow a very narrow lane up to Cartmel Fell and had a poke around the church and cemetery there. Also visited Ruskin’s house. All of those regions (Yorkshire and Cumbria) are so picturesque, and we love the dry stone walls.

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    • Incredible weather in both England and France, especially when you consider there is barely six weeks to Christmas. Just sitting in a sticky Hong Kong at the moment, on the way home to Aussie spring. Plenty more posts and photos to catch up on. Good to hear from you!

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  1. Pingback: My Picture Story Book of England – Part 2, Cambridge | The Reluctant Retiree

  2. Those poppies are gorgeous – going to be magnificent on Poppy Day! My mother used to talk of playing “conkers” as a girl. The almost-grandchild is precious and LOL about the Tim Tams – I’ve never been a big fan of the traditional ones but liked the Tia Maria and the caramel ones. I introduced our next door neighbour to Tim Tams after she housesat for us, now she expects a packet every time I go home!

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    • Have you seen you can get bulk buy packets of TimTams at the airport? I bought the one with six different flavours, but S didn’t like the white chocolate and another variety, I can’t remember which she said. So next time I will just stick to the classic original. And of course, I should buy them at the supermarket beforehand and bundle them up nicely myself, but that requires planning and pre-thought which is in short supply by the time I have worked out what else to pack. The poppy display at the Tower of London was magnificent and I have just been reading that they have sold all 800,000+ so I can only imagine what the installation looks like now. See https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/buy-a-poppy/ for more information. I am in Paris now and I expected to see lots of WW1 memorials in the streets but no such thing. So either it is already finished as they may have commemorated the outbreak, or there is something big planned for Armistice Day. I must make enquiries.

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  3. Trip sounds breathtaking and stunning. U still write so well and I love the pictures!
    Do enjoy it all. All gt back at the ranch – been cool and gloomy most of time weather wise.
    Big news – Wollongong Central shopping complex opened up by all reports people r very happy!!! Gt fun in the town!!

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    • Great to hear from you Fran. Look out for Bill as he arrived home last night. Hope the weather brightens up for his return. Shopping is not my favourite activity but I am looking forward to seeing the new centre as I hope it gives Wollongong a much needed pick-me-up. I start the course tomorrow, and bet it will be over before I know it, but I hope I come home with much needed writing inspiration. I always appreciate your boost of confidence. Thank you!

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  4. Sounds as if the holiday has been full on. Brings back memories from when we were there, Margot and Co leave today for their around Aussie cruise, JoJo back in 2 week, its sure quiet without her, have taken it upon myself to book you both in for IRT Christmas party at Shellharbour on 12 Dec hope ok. Had some really bad weather last week Golf club was a wash looked more like a lake then course, water went down quick and carts are allowed again.

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    • Bill just home now after six weeks, and when he sees you I bet he will look relieved to be back on familiar territory. Funny weather hey. Last email you said it was 30’c already. I see the Blue Mountains had snow in the same week that they had bush fires last year. Just plain weird. Thanks for the party booking, it was good of you to think of us. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

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