Posted by: digibirder | September 19, 2007

Playing catch-up again

Time does fly. Seems weeks ago that we went on holiday. Oh wait. It is weeks ago! I was intending to put another post here before this one, but that episode is way out of time now. There is so much I could tell you, but it becomes old news before I get chance to post it. Life tends to get in the way sometimes and time just whizzes by. So, I’ll just crack on with this post about our trip south of Watford – Kent, in fact. Cast your minds back to the beginning of August, if you can.

Sat 4th August:
Set off later than planned and headed in a southerly direction. The motorway was quite busy – lots of queues all the way – and in total it took us 6 hours (including a short break at the services). It didn’t take long, though, to put up the trailer tent, with gasps from fellow campers as the canvas came up and over. After settling in and unpacking some of the gear, we had a light meal (and a G&T!) and then walked to the nearby pub, the Crown Point Inn, for a nightcap.

Sun 5th August:
It was Keith’s birthday. I got up and made a pot of tea and brought him his pressie and card. Keith has quite often mentioned Harry Patch, the only surviving veteran of the WW1 trenches (who didn’t actually talk about the war until he was 100 years old), so I did a bit of research as to whether there had been any books about him. I discovered that he had, in fact, penned his own story, with a bit of help, as he’s now 108 years old! I had ordered the book from Amazon, not expecting it before we went away, as it wasn’t yet published, but it came a couple of days before we went, so I was able to secretly wrap it and hide it away as a surprise. Keith was most surprised, but very pleased with it. He had read it within a couple of days!

We decided to walk to a nearby National Trust property, Ightham Mote, which was actually a bit further than indicated, and we were already a bit jiggered when we arrived, as we had taken a wrong path, and we had yet to walk back to the site. We did relax a bit and have some lunch, but it was still hard work getting back, although we took a more direct route.




Later that afternoon we took a drive to the local supermarket for some provisions and to research the train times into London, and had a lovely fillet steak for dinner (along with the obligatory G&T, as well as some nice red wine.

Mon 6th August:
Drove to Sevenoaks for the train into London for a day of sightseeing. We got off a stop early and walked along the Thames Path to our first destination, the British Airways London Eye. We collected our pre-booked tickets and joined the queue. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.







After the ‘flight’ we wandered around London, slipping over to Hyde Park, where we ate our sandwiches by the Sepentine Lake. Then we walked to the Natural History Museum, where we only saw a very small part of the exhibitions before getting the Tube to the Tate Britain, where there was a photographic exhibition. We passed Michael Portillo at the Tube station.

After the exhibition we walked to Westminster then caught the Tube to Covent Garden. One of the Underground posters was advertising a Mexican restaurant nearby, so we hunted it down and had an excellent meal, along with an equally lovely Margarita!

After an exhausting day, we caught the train back to Sevenoaks and then drove back to camp. My feet were killing me, and so were Keith’s, so we gave each other a relaxing foot massage before crashing out.

Tue 7th August:
Had a bit of a rest day after Monday’s outing. We decided to have a drive and look around Sevenoaks itself. That took all of half an hour, and most of that was taken up in an opticians, to get my sunglasses straightened out following their assault by Keith’s rear end when I left them on a chair! After shopping for some provisions in the local supermarket, we went back to site for lunch, finished off Sunday’s bottle of red wine, and then just sat and relaxed and read our books.

A little more alcohol later, namely a couple of G&Ts, we had dinner, read some more then crawled into bed. We turned in a bit early, as Keith broke the glass shade of the gas lantern trying to change the cylinder. It always was a bit stiff to unscrew the case, so it was a good excuse to get a new one. It had turned a bit cooler, and there was a bit of a thunderstorm overnight – nothing too serious.

Wed 8th August:
Back to better weather again this morning. Drove to Eltham Palace, where I have been before when I went on my jaunt with CherryPie to see Quacky Pete. There was a falconry display by a couple in medieval costume – the only ones in the country, apparently – which we watched after the tour of the house.





Afterwards, we found a camp shop where we purchased a new gas lantern and other requirements then drove back to site.

Thur 9th August:
Drove to Dover, where we wandered round Dover Castle. This is a very extensive site, so we didn’t get to do it all, but we went in the Keep and on the tour of the Wartime Tunnels.




The Roman Lighthouse


Ferries coming in and out of Dover

Then we made a mad dash to Bodiam Castle. This was in a very beautiful setting, but it was getting near to closing time, so we didn’t have very long here, before heading back.




Impressive gateway with holes for pouring boiling oil on any attackers


Murderholes – if you happened to get past the gate you would be doused in more oil through these holes


Someone’s sense of humour!

Fri 10th August:
Sunny day. Decided to relax on site again. There were lots of comings and goings today and the site ended up rather packed by the afternoon. We had a light lunch, and continued to read and relax for the rest of the day.

In the evening we decided to go to a nearby ‘gastro-pub’ that we had seen while on our travels. It was a treat for our last night. It looked a bit pricey, but we decided to stay. It turned out to be nouvelle cuisine, and very nice it was too. We were a bit put out by some other diners. They had ordered the chateaubriand steak, which was for two people, at £45. They had ordered medium rare and when it arrived they were prodding and poking saying it was not medium rare. When the waiter came with the other two meals they made him take it back and have another one cooked. We looked at it and it looked good for medium rare to us. Plonkers. Quite a disgraceful waste. The replacement looked almost not cooked, it was that rare.

Sat 11th August:
Homeward bound today. Not too bad a journey, trying to avoid the jams – took 5 hours. On arrival home we ordered an Indian takeaway and relaxed.

Update on other things:
Sister is now weight-bearing on her bad leg. Still a long way to go, though.

Went to the doctors the other week with this rash driving me quite mad. I told him that my follow-up appointment wasn’t until October and I really needed something to help this itching and irritation. The comfrey cream with added tea-tree oil was helping a little, but not enough. He hadn’t heard anything about the skin scraping results either, but he told me to ring the hospital and get an urgent appointment, and if I had any bother I was to inform him. Well, they managed to get me in the following week, and when I arrived the doctor asked me if I had received her letter. At my blank look, she was a little put out that I had not received anything. Not half as put out as I was!! Apparently, it is a fungal infection, and I was supposed to have gone back to my GP for further treatment. She prescribed some strong anti-fungal pills and I am keeping the original October appointment as a follow-up for this emergency visit.

Then, last Saturday, what should arrive but a letter telling me that I had a fungal infection and should see my doctor!! Anyway, the tablets are working a treat, along with continuing to use the lotions and potions in my arsenal.

I also went to see a nutritionist a couple of weeks ago and she recommended a dietary regime to try and assist with my most urgent problems, such as the rash, insomnia and mood swings/depression. It’s not too restrictive a programme, and I do feel a bit better. She thinks it could be adrenal fatigue. I am not taking the HRT any more, but have started to try some progesterone cream. We’ll see. I had a couple of good night’s sleep recently, but it went a bit pear shaped again last night. I am trying some magnesium powder supplement, which is supposed to ease stress and help sleep, which may be having some effect. I go back to see the nutritionist in a couple of weeks.

So there we are for now. Hopefully I will get myself organised to keep more up to date.



  1. looks like a nice trip. Bodiam is lovely and I really must go to Dover Castle. I have been before but I was 11!!

  2. Sounds like a good holiday(!) London for the day sight seeing is always very tiring! Thats why those of us who live here go to one thing at a time!(Unless we have visitors – but we do as little walking as possible as you always walk miles whatever!)
    Kent is a lovely County – can you tell I am from there! No incidental birding?

  3. Pete: Dover Castle is very nice. Lots of interest from different periods in its history. You need plenty of time, though.

    Corinna: If we’d had time to do it over a couple of days, that would have been better, but we were only down there for the week. There were probably lots more places we could have visited, given more time.

    As we had only visited Kent on that one occasion when we all met up at Dungeness, we thought we’d take a better look, as it’s not been on our ‘to see’ list at all before that previous trip. There are indeed some lovely places there.

    No, we didn’t make any specific time for birding, although it was nice to hear (and see, occasionally, from a distance) Green Woodpeckers in the surrounding woodland. Obviously, when out and about we did see the common birds.

  4. Beautiful photos! Except those London Eye ones kind of make me want to throw up a little. 😉

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