Another bout of Sorting Out

The top of my sewing drawers was getting cluttered, so I decided to tidy it up.  Which, of course, led to sorting out one of the drawers. 

As is the way with things, this led to sorting out my eaves cupboard…

A real sense of achievement!  And so to actually doing something now that my sewing space is ready for action:

Kyd Brook

Very heavy rain overnight, though it had eased a bit by the time I took Rocco for his morning walk. We went to a rather muddy Petts Wood & Hawkwood – one of his favourite walks as there is a lot of mud, water and sticks!

Kyd Brook was seriously in spate following the overnight rain – I’ve not seen that much water in it for a fair while:

Rocco lept in as usual, but really struggled to swim against the current, and only just got out again. At which point he ran over the bridge and got in that side. Again, he was swept down the brook and this time, he really did have a hard time getting out. Luckily after that, he treated the brook with a bit more caution!

This bit further down is normally about 6″ deep with a little “beach” to the side:

Further on, Pondwood Pond was a bit calmer, and he had a swim there instead:

Pondwood Pond

Rocco and I regularly walk in Petts Wood & Hawkwood woods; he enjoys it because there are lots of sticks, and ponds & rivers to get wet in.

Last February, a very large tree fell into the pond in the middle of Pondwood:

The trunk was soon cut to keep the path clear, but the branches in the water have been there ever since.

When we visited today, the rest of the tree had been cleared away, and he could have a swim again.

The whole area by the pond has also been cleared. You can see the logs by the fence line:

It’s so nice to have woods that are looked after, even if it takes a while to get things done.

La vendange chez les Wheeler

Well, I haven’t made wine, but… I picked most of the grapes I could reach from the kitchen step stool.  Loads still left on the vine.

So, after about an hour taking the grapes off the stalks (you can’t just squash them if you plan to make jelly), I had to go and do some other stuff, so the grapes took over the fridge.

A couple of days later, I continued… The bowl on the left is the one that started out full of grapes.  And, may I say, spiders and earwigs!

So there was lots of rubbish, but a big pot of grapes, to which I added apple and lemon for a better set.  Well, any set, to be honest.

That evening, the cooked mixture was left to drip.

My jelly bag was too small, so that’s part of Phil’s old brewing kit.

After cooking again with an equivalent amount of sugar: many pots of grape jelly.  That should last until the next harvest!

Oh, and there are still a few in the fridge for me to eat.

Whitstable

Another fine autumn day (though quite misty to start with), so we decided to take the train to Whitstable. Apart from a bit of chaos at Bromley South with a medical emergency on (another) train, an uneventful journey through the Kent countryside.

Crossing the Medway at Rochester is always interesting:

As we pulled into Whitstable, the sun broke through from the clouds. There is a small recreation ground quite close to the station, so Rocco was able to let of a bit of steam. Then off the beach to find a pub, and after the usual rigmarole of signing in, we’re sitting on the beach with a beer:

We didn’t like the disposable plastic glasses, but noticed they had some branded reusable plastic glasses for sale, so we had our next pint in those:

A nice (but fried) lunch in the sunshine, and Rocco was pleased to get a few chips:



After lunch, we found a quiet bit of beach for Rocco to have a swim in the sea, though  unusually, he just had a paddle:

We then walked along the beach to the harbour:

Then onto the quieter beach at the east side of the town:

Rocco took an interest in a large plant container:

Then it was back to the station for our train home:

On the way back, the tide had come in and the Medway looked more inviting in the sunshine:

We sat at the end of the train this time, so Rocco had the corridor all to himself without people trying to get past!

A nice day out.

Shoreham Woods

Rocco and I regularly walk in Shoreham Woods (at least we do when it’s reasonably dry!) so today I thought I’d document our walk in pictures.

The first bit is across the M25 motorway, so very noisy, but soon it becomes quieter and Rocco starts collecting sticks:

This section of the path is on a slope, and can be really muddy in winter:

The view down the valley is lovely:

We then climb into Pilots Wood:

and shortly arrive at the top of the North Downs:

The path soon dives back into woods

and follows the Darenth Valley, with views of Shoreham village:

All too soon, we’re climbing back up the hill:

then down and up across the valley. Luckily Rocco ignores the cows!

Another short break, then it’s back up the last hill to the car park:

A LOT of up & down in a short distance!

 

 

Tonbridge & River Medway

The forecast was for a very hot day, and our respective calendars were clear, so we took the train to Tonbridge.

Rocco is now getting quite used to trains:

Tonbridge really benefits from having the River Medway flowing through the town:

The ruins of Tonbridge Castle are in the background. First stop was a nearby pub, which had a nice courtyard at the back:

After many beers and a nice lunch, we set off for a walk along the river, which consists of many different channels and bridges to cross. It wasn’t long before Rocco had a swim, and luckily, managed to get out again (much of the river bank is quite steep):

Further on, we came across a (very) disused lock:

We headed back through Haysden Country Park and Barden Lake:

and after a bit of a trek through the back streets of Tonbridge, we returned to the station and our train home:

Another lovely day out!

 

Hastings

We finally managed to find a free day with reasonable weather, so, with our masks on, we took the train to Hastings. With an almost empty train, there was less of a problem keeping Rocco out of the way than last year. An uneventful journey brought us to St Leonards Warrior Square station, one stop before Hastings itself, but a shorter (and nicer) walk to  the sea.

There is a nearby park where Rocco could have a run around:

Then it was back on the lead while we walked along the seafront to the pier:

The clouds looked a bit dark, but it stayed dry with very little wind.

We then wandered into the old town searching for a dog friendly pub with good beer. Finally, we found the The Anchor and Pumphouse, a really nice pub. We were only going to stop for a beer, but liked the place so much, we had lunch (Homemade Fishermans Pie) there as well. Rocco was well behaved, and attracted a lot of attention from the female bar staff!

After lunch, we climbed up East Hill to give Rocco a run around off the lead.

Once I found him a stick, he was happy!

Then it was back down to sea level, and a walk back to the station along the seafront:

Unfortunately, the trains were in chaos following some earlier engineering work, so we had a bit of a wait at the station:

But eventually got home OK. Another nice day out!

 

 

Emmetts Garden

Making the most of the nice weather, we booked a visit to nearby Emmetts Garden. We did the usual due diligence and printed out the ticket AND put a copy on each of our phones, only to be surprised when we turned up that they only wanted our surname…

In common with other National Trust places, it’s all been rearranged to be “Covid Safer”, with one way systems and lots of notices. But they do allow dogs!

Rocco was very good on the lead, but needed a run around, so we escaped into the adjacent ‘forest’ at the end of the garden. There is a working ram pump below a small lake there (it’s in a shed, so difficult to photograph) but there was an informative poster:

Then finally, Rocco could let off steam with a stick or two:

Not far along the track was a welcome sign:

So it was back into Emmetts for a cup of tea:

Back in the main garden, some autumn colours were appearing:

The rose garden also looked nice:

as did the rockery section:

A nice afternoon out!

 

Harvesting herbs for winter.

This year, for the first time in several, I have had time to gather some herbs for the freezer.

Here’s a big bowl of herbs ready for sorting.

And here they are sorted.  The lids are from pots I have used in previous years, although not recently.

And here are the stalks, the leaves which weren’t good enough, and a few dandelions.

The herb bed has been particularly good this year, and I have really enjoyed using it.  I even took a bag of herbs with me on holiday, which livened up what is usually very plain cooking when we’re away.