More Kent


How much can you pack into 2 part days and one night? You’d be surprised! When it’s in England, and everything is so handy nearby, the getting there is not such a major issue. And the getting there is part of it anyway.

We had been fascinated by the oast houses on the farms – gorgeous round brick silo things with funny peaked hats on top. We were told that they were oast houses, where the hops for which Kent used to be famous were dried out in readiness for making beer.

Colin’s daughter Harriet and her partner Bertie arrived in time for a dinner out at one of these – they are now disused and converted for various uses. This one was converted into a restaurant. There was a familial comfortableness in Harriet, Bertie was lovely, and I hope their daughter will come and visit us in Aus next year.

We hauled our cases downstairs again after a breakfast of kippers. We waited in vain for a squirrel to appear through the kitchen window and join the blue tits feasting on peanuts and grain at Colin’s generous bird-feeder in their sumptuous garden. It was time to move on. Robin had arrived to take us to Leeds Castle as Colin and Mary had a prior lunch engagement at Hastings (a throwaway name – a mere thousand years of history there, and then some).

leedscastleA Cedar of Lebanon that was 1200 years old; oak trees that made our pithy excuses for oak trees at home look pitiable. Expansive, lush grounds full of picnicking Poms, and overlooking all on a hill in the distance, Leeds Castle complete with moat, swans both black and white, unbelievable woodwork, incredible stonework, battlements, arrow slits, suits of armour, m’lady’s bedchamber complete with maid’s bed in the corner ….. the works; all there for real and practical purposes, albeit bygone.

How many oohs and aaahs can you manage in a week? We contributed generously to the sum total but were out-oohed by a large Australian lady who was talking on the phone to someone back ‘ome, telling her Leeds was the best of all the castles she had seen, describing in vivid detail the huge wooden chest she was currently looking at (as were we) and telling her friend she should come and see for herself. It sort of gets down to that in the end. There’s too much to believe alone. You have to phone someone and tell them, or write a blog, or take a thousand photos.

I have taken the last 2 options. I’m not game to turn on my phone in case Telstra finds me and sends me a bill for $15,000. Well, it happened to someone (and perhaps will to the lady at Leeds Castle?).

©jane grieve

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