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.

Here’s one I made earlier.

After deliberating for a long time about opening the church sanctuary for private prayer, once we had agreed, we wanted to go ahead quickly and didn’t have time to get a poster printed. I agreed to make one; I am pleased with how it turned out, and there is something very satisfying about doing something you enjoy, but for someone else!

Then again, sometimes it’s good to create things only for your own amusement. Here’s a sketch of the windmill we saw on holiday.  Usually I end up sketching boring landscapes…

Waddesdon Manor

We had a prebooked visit to Waddesdon Manor today. The car park is a long way from the house, and they don’t allow dogs on the shuttle bus, so it was a long trek to get there in the wind:

Eventually, the house came into view through the trees:

Most of the house surroundings are more “park like” than formal gardens, but there was a pretty aviary:

This is the front of the house (closed, of course!):

The formal gardens in front of the house were not dog friendly:

But Rocco was very patient (particularly as he’d been on the lead since we arrived):

We then explored a path in the woods, where he did get a chance to let off steam. Not sure of the sculpture though!

Down the hill was The Stables, a pretty building converted to a cafe:

We then followed another “Woodland Walk”, with odd sculptures on the way:

Neither of us was convinced that this was a reindeer…

Following a spot of lunch, it was the long trek back to the car and home. An interesting day, and we must return when everything is open.

Bernwood Forest

Bernwood Forest used to be a royal hunting forest that covered a lot of the local area. All that is left now is a section managed by Forestry England.

There are lots of dog friendly paths and geocaches there, so we joined Gemma and Paddy for a walk there:

Rocco was in heaven with an infinite supply of sticks, mud and water.

Gemma and Paddy did really well at spotting the geocaches:

There were a wide variety of different paths and habitats:

All too soon, it was time for lunch:

We explored a different part of the forest in the afternoon; this had many large anthills:

And more lovely paths:

Rocco really did enjoy himself:

A lovely day, helped by really nice weather!

Buckinghamshire Railway Centre

A rather damp day today, so it was a good choice to be mainly indoors here… And it’s dog friendly (though Rocco wasn’t particularly interested for some reason):There is a large indoor arena with older carriages and stock on display:And more stuff outside in various states of disrepair:

We then had a short ride on a steam train (the first time I’ve been on a train this year!):

Part of the station showed a livestock platform, with a creative cattle truck:

This platform is on an existing Network Rail (goods) line:

Across the footbridge was another yard and museum:

This area was once part of the Metropolitan Line, so the museum had various ‘underground’ exhibits:

Back outside, a real train came through:

All in all, an interesting place!

Ludgershall Walk

Rocco still needed a walk this evening, so we waited until the next shower had passed and had a stroll around Ludgershall (the village we are in).

A nice rainbow just outside our barn:

And further on, an impressive double rainbow (shame about the wires!):

The village is quite spread out – this is one of the fields in the middle of the village:

It was just a shame that the village pub doesn’t open on Tuesdays…

A ‘Brill’ Day

We drove to the next village south of the barn, Brill – we were originally going to walk, but the stiles on route were not very dog friendly, and had a stroll around the windmill and common.

Rocco ran up and down the slopes as if he’d not had a walk for a week and Tina did a sketch of the windmill.

We’d pre-booked lunch in the adjacent pub, The Pheasant. Average food, slow service and only one beer on (which then ran out!). We won’t be returning there…

Nice views from the garden though:

After lunch, we went for a proper walk. You can see a long way from a small hill when everything else is flat:

We did get caught in a shower, but before long, the sun returned and everything was steaming:

Then home for a welcome cup of tea…