Monday, April 03, 2006

Kent - 1 & 2 April 2006

Morris galsKent in the spring proved to be a very interesting weekend. We started at Chilham, a village that is reportedly the most photographed village in England, and has been used in films (Moll Flanders) and TV series such as Miss Marple. Morris Men
As we had a cup of tea in the very quaint tea-rooms, we watched with interest as people in unusual costumes kept arriving. We seemed to have picked a good day to visit, as they had displays of Morris dancing. We gathered that 1 April was a significant date in the Morris dancer calendar. (There were male groups and female groups. What does one call female Morris Men?) Leader of the packThe leader of the Morris dancers had his face painted half green & half white to represent spring chasing winter away.

Lunch was a bowl of absolutely delicious, home made, parsnip apple & curry soup cooked by Lady Fitzwalter of Goodnestone, whose garden we visited.

Suitably refuelled we enjoyed a relaxing walk from Sandwich to the coast and back. Sandwich has a prestigious past as one of the original Cinque Ports and remains a very picturesque town, somewhat larger than Chilham.

The Red Lion, HernhillFinally, we then visited two more picturesque villages - Elham & Hernhill, where we had an excellent dinner at a pub with the most popular name in England.

Sunday started with a visit to the St Augustine Abbey, part of the Canterbury UNESCO World Heritage site, which also includes the Cathedral and St Martin’s church – the oldest parish church in England. The abbey ruins with the Cathedral behindSt Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory to re-establish Christianity in Britain. He was granted land to build an Abbey, of which only very small sections of ruins are left. Most of the visible remains are from the later (Norman) buildings.

FavershamNext stop was nearby Faversham, another old Cinque Port, and also a beautiful town, with over 500 listed buildings.

The season for visiting stately homes seems to have arrived with April, so we had a relaxing afternoon strolling around the lovely grounds of Belmont House. The Folly at BelmontThey will be stunning in the summer. We found the brilliant use of espalia type fruit trees very intriguing. This was the first time we had seen apples trained on such low wires, a system is called “step over” for quite obvious reasons. The conducted tour of the house gave a real insight into its history and furnished us with heaps of useless horological trivia as the penultimate resident Lord Harris amassed the world’s largest private clock collection.

1 comment:

Wall Flower said...

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