Knepp Estate

One of the reasons for choosing this cottage was the proximity to the Knepp Estate, a large area of rewinding, glamping and ‘safari’ tours (though we didn’t see any lions!)

But first, lunch in the pub in the village. Being Sunday, the choice was largely roast, roast or roast so we each had a roast. Much better than it might have been, with excellent meat and vegetables. And not too heavy, which was a bonus on a hot day.

After lunch and a few beers, we went walking on the estate.

Rocco managed to find some water to cool down in:

Which was useful as it was quite hot!

There are several tree viewing platforms on the estate, we had a quick look at one:

Though Rocco was a bit confused!

All in all, a nice walk, followed by a very welcome cup of tea.

Dog Store

There is a lovely little wooden shed on the patio outside our cottage:

We’ve used this to store all the odd bits for Rocco:

And his lead and collar go in the little compartment at the top!

Little Acorns

We’re now at our holiday cottage just south of Horsham.

The roads were surprisingly quiet (glad we weren’t heading towards Dover) and at first glance, the cottage has everything we need except a teapot!

Free to Believe Conference

I’m spending a couple of days at High Leigh conference centre near Hoddeston, Hertfordshire, exploring various aspects of Liberal Theology.
I have been here before, but always by car. The nearest station is Broxbourne, which is a half hour’s walk away. I was expecting a boring walk along the main roads, but by spending a few more minutes, I was able to use the New River Path.
Broxbourne Station and New River
This was a pleasant surprise!
New River aqueduct There was a bit of main road, but then a path beside the park which I remembered from last time.

Hampton Court & Bushy Park

Continuing our “Holiday from Home”, we were going to go to Bushy Park on Friday, but decided it was far to hot to sit on non air-conditioned trains, so went yesterday instead.

We changed trains at Waterloo – it’s always interested navigating an excited dog through crowds of people going every which way:

There is a small park by Hampton Court Station, curiously named Cigarette Island Park, so Rocco had a chance to stretch his legs:

Then across the Thames:

and a quick look at Hampton Court Palace:

Unfortunately, we found out that it’s the wrong time of year to take dogs into Bushy Park due to the deer (one dog walker we spoke to had been cornered several times in the park by deer), so we retraced our steps and found a very dog friendly pub to have a beer (and a small snack) and consider our options:

Looking at the map, we decided to follow the “Barge Walk”, a good path along the Thames, to Kingston:

The first part of this is along the Hampton Court Palace house and grounds:

Rocco enjoyed himself, but was disappointed that the banks were too high to go for a swim in the Thames (luckily):

Soon we were approaching Kingston:

and in need of another beer:

We then walked to Hampton Wick station (closer than Kingston) and got the train back to Waterloo:

And from there, back to Orpington. A lovely day, a bit warm in places but with an occasional sprinkle of rain to keep us cool.


Continuing our “Holiday at Home” week, we went to Westerham to visit Quebec House. As we were a bit early, we let Rocco have a bit of a runaround in a nearby park:

We toured the house in shifts, so Rocco & I explored Westerham itself:

then the gardens at Quebec House:

We then swapped over and I had my tour of the house:

Next stop was Chartwell for a picnic in the shade:

Followed by a walk around the gardens and woodland:

A lovely day!


Elizabeth Line

The new railway across London opened last month. It used to be called Crossrail, but has now been named the Elizabeth Line, with a distinctive purple colour used for all the signage.

This was a good excuse to “play on the trains”, so we got a fast train up to London Bridge and had a few minutes to explore the increasingly pleasant area by Tooley Street:

Then a short Thameslink ride to Farringdon to explore our first Elizabeth Line station. The murals are supposed to depict diamonds, as Hatton Garden is nearby:

It all seems so new and shiny!

Some of the tunnels and escalators are quite long though:

and the platforms, with the platform edge doors, seem very different to normal tube platforms:

Despite a train every five minutes (or perhaps because), there were very few passengers:

We travelled east to Abbey Wood:

After failing to find a coffee there, we headed back west. Note the rather boring departure board:

Next stop was Woolwich, a brand new station not far from the existing Woolwich Arsenal station:

and time for a beer!

Next stop was Custom House, which mainly serves the ExCel exhibition centre:

While we were there, we looked at Royal Victoria Dock, looking splendid in the sunshine:

Then back underground to Canary Wharf, which had very strangely coloured escalators:

Canary Wharf itself was a bit busy, but the roof garden makes a nice quiet space:

Next station was Whitechapel, quite a contrast from docklands!

Again, very long tunnels and escalators between the tracks and the outside world:

Then on to Liverpool Street Station, again with very long tunnels and escalators:

Rather than walk back to the Elizabeth Line platforms, we took a Hammersmith & City tube to Paddington; the exit of which is right by the Grand Union canal and Little Venice:

After a meander along the canal, we headed back to Paddington, this time to the Elizabeth Line platforms:

and caught a train to Tottenham Court Road Station – passing through Bond Street Station, which has yet to open. Yet again, very long tunnels to get to the outside world…

From there, it was a train back to Farringdon, Thameslink to London Bridge and a fast train home. An interesting, but exhausting day.

Emmetts Garden

We’re having a “Holiday at Home” this week, going out for individual days.

Our first day out was to Emmetts Garden, a nearby National Trust garden we try to visit regularly. Unfortunately, we’d missed the bluebells, but the foxgloves were out in force:

Rocco was less impressed with the plants, but was well behaved as always:

One of the nice aspects of Emmetts is that the far end of the garden goes off into normal woodland so he could run around off the lead with a stick and let off some energy:

After a break for a cup of tea, we explored the rest of the garden:

A lovely afternoon out, helped by some excellent weather!

Shropshire Union Canal – Friday

A much cooler day today, with quite a bit of wind and rain showers.

We turned around in the Middlewich branch and soon rejoined the Shropshire Union Canal.

It was slow progress up the canal with lots of moored boats, but eventually we reached the locks at Hack Green.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a queue at the locks, but we helped the other boats through and stopped for lunch.

From there, it was just a short run back to the marina and time to refuel and pump out the toilets.

10.5 miles on the canal today, and 2 locks.

And finally, Saturday morning, just before we left Rowington: