In search of bluebells

In a week that had snow, rain, sleet and thunder, it was a bit of a surprise to wake up yesterday to blue skies and sunshine (on a Bank Holiday weekend – what?!). And just as well, because my friends and I had planned to head out for a walk and find some bluebells, after an aborted attempt a few weeks ago when we were still in the depths of winter.

We started in Chilham, a village between Ashford and Canterbury, with a pub lunch in the sun at the Woolpack Inn (no, not that Woolpack). Then we headed off on a six-mile walk inspired by Jane Austen, who apparently used to visit the neighbouring village of Godmersham and dined regularly at Chilham Castle. In fact I think the route was even called Mr Darcy’s Chilham Walk, although unfortunately we didn’t run into him.

It all started well; we set out from Chilham Castle, admiring the beautiful houses we could never afford, and into the woods where we finally found some bluebells. We crossed a pretty river, disturbed a flock of sheep and climbed over some very wobbly stiles. Despite a few wrong turns, we were well on track to make it back in the estimated three hours… and then we went quite spectacularly wrong. After climbing the world’s steepest hill* and continuing for quite a long way at the top in the stubborn belief that if we kept going long enough we’d eventually find a right turn to get us back on track, we realised that what we’d identified as a fence might actually have been a gate. (It was a gate.)

So what was supposed to be a six-mile walk ended up closer to nine, we ended up power walking the last mile (the last bit of which was also uphill), and my legs hate me today… but hey, at least we worked off the pub lunch.

*possibly an exaggeration

Photo Sunday: Bank Holiday highlights

Woohoo, it’s Bank Holiday weekend! Is there anything better than a three-day weekend? (Apart from a four-day weekend, or five-day… You see where I’m going with this.)

This bank holiday has been a particularly action-packed one so far, in a great way. Starting on Friday evening, here are a few highlights…

First up, in an attempt to reach 10,000 steps on Friday as part of my ‘do more exercise‘ mid-year resolution, I took a detour on the way home. And because I came out the wrong exit at Westminster station, I found myself right next to Big Ben. And it seemed rude not to take a photo…

Big Ben in the sunshine

Then I got off the train at home, and needed a few more steps to hit my target. Fortunately, there was a pretty dramatic sunset developing, so I took a wander down to the river. I’ll never get bored of this view (although you might. Sorry about that).

Sunset over the Dartford crossing

On to Saturday, which began with a baby shower for a friend. It was really fun (and very pink), and there was tea. And cake. I’m easily pleased.

Afternoon teaStraight from the baby shower and on to a train to London for a David Ford gig. For anyone who’s missed him (which is most people), this is a musician, who my friend and I have been fans of for years. This is the ‘One-Man Full-Band‘ tour, in which David plays a multitude of instruments, breaks a lot of stuff – not intentionally – and makes pretty intense use of his looping pedal whilst singing sad songs and angry rants. It’s more fun than it sounds. Here’s a rubbish photo:

David FordDespite the best efforts of the train company, I made it home (although not before midnight, oops). And then today, my mum, sister and I headed back to London, to see The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theatre. We love going to the Globe, even though it has the most uncomfortable seats in the world, and the play, which starred Jonathan Pryce as Shylock, was brilliant (if you get the chance to see it before it closes, go). We also realised as we were leaving, that we’d been sitting next to the director; fortunately we said nice things…

The GlobeOh, and bonus – I’ve been published! Here’s one of my other sunset photos, taken last summer, in the June issue of Dartford Living magazine, which arrived this weekend. Today – Dartford Living. Tomorrow – the world! (Maybe.)

sunset photoHope you’ve all had a great Bank Holiday so far. And if you’re not in the UK, sorry to gloat. But it’s Sunday night, and I don’t have to get up early tomorrow, so woohoo!