Hello, Lavender

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Anyone remember Miss Kitty Jim Jam’s Cat of the Week? In honour of her, I present a guest cat: Lavender. Lavender lives in one of the big houses surrounding the beautiful Dane John Gardens. I’ve been told that she is very friendly and what you can’t see is that she has a diamante collar on with “PURR” in diamante lettering. Isn’t she beautiful?

It’s all in a name

Stolen from Tink – please don’t spork my face off! I’m just too tired tonight 🙂

MEME-Tastic: One that has been making the rounds quite a bit lately. As usual, I’m late.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (your first pet and the street that you live on)
Tiger Saffron

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your mom’s side, your favorite candy)
X Peppermint*

3. YOUR “FLY GIRL/GUY” NAME: (first initial of first name, first two or three letters of your middle name)
S Jad

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Black Cat

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Jade Wroughton

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom’s maiden name)
Osbsach

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (“The”, your favorite color, favorite drink)
The Black Baileys

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first name of both your grandfathers)
John x*

9. FUTURISTIC NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name brand of your favorite shoes)
So Nike

10. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: ( mother/father’s middle name and the next name you hear on the tv/radio/talk)
Lankester Stephen

11. STRIPPER NAME: (favorite dance and favorite snack)
Embarrassed Shuffle Crisps

* I am embarrassed to say I haven’t got a clue what my mother’s father’s name was!

Dash dash dash

My blogging moments are limited again this week as I’m designing an album cover and a website for a folk music group… which (as always) need to be done yesterday!

…must dash now…

Prizes and parcels will be posted out at the weekend.. I have a few makings to do before then but as the house has swallowed the doings and time seems to have gone into warp speed, I’ll be lucky if I get to makings before Friday evening. Thank you for your patience!

Ta-da!

I embarrassedly took part in the Knitblogger’s field trip back in March and flashed part of our truly unruly garden. Well, a lot has happened since then, we’ve had new fences put in to replace those which had fallen down and I started growing some beans.

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The garden was a huge mess. This are two photos of it before.

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The beans have been coming along nicely. The runners have some beautiful flowers on them.

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And I noticed today that there are some beans on their way!

A chance conversation with a colleague meant that we had someone willing and happy to come and garden for us. What a transformation!

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He even took down the die-hard bay tree that blocked out all the light.

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I’m astounded by all the work he’s done – he only came round for two days and it looks incredible already. I’m off to buy some broad beans to sow.

Ultimate Wish List

I’ve been thinking about things I’ve always fancied doing over the last couple of days and here is my ultimate wish list:

1. Go on a helicopter ride.
2. Go up in a hot air balloon. I’m not sure how practical this would be for me – I get vertigo going to the top row at lecture theatres so being in a basket with hot air to keep me up high.. mmm. Saying that I did once swear that I wouldn’t go in a cable car but I did and enjoyed it so there is still scope.
3. Eat in a traditional American diner. We have cheap imitations here in the UK and they are not ok. We tried to find a diner when we were on honeymoon and the closest we found was a place called the Olympic Restaurant in South Yarmouth. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind and we didn’t find anywhere that was obviously a diner in Boston but then again Boston is quite posh.
4. Visit the Emily Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, Mass. I am a huge fan of her poetry and I am interested in seeing the house she lived in. Oh, and I also want to see the famous black squirrels.
5. Visit the Grand Canyon. I know it is a cliche but it sounds and looks amazing.
6. Visit Niagara Falls – again a cliche but I bet close up it is incredible.
7. Go to Maine. No where in particular. I’ve just always fancied going there.
8. Revisit Boston for a longer visit. We only stopped over a couple of nights at each end of our trip so we didn’t get to visit the Aquarium or the Boston Tea Party replica ship. Now I’m into walking – walking the Freedom Trail would be fun too.
9. Have afternoon tea at the Ritz with a bunch of friends. I remember one of the boarding moderators at school who was a friend had booked into a night at the Ritz just because she could and made it sound like the most amazing place. I think she opened my eyes up to the possibility of just doing things for the heck of it. We were already on the outskirts of London anyway so she could have easily stayed at home.
10. See a real live koala in Australia. I went to Australia with my parents and didn’t see a single koala. There would be the bonus of buying some of Marta’s yarn – you see I’d just have to it – it’d be rude not to.
11. Visit the Eiffel Tower with pao. I’ve been to Paris twice before. Once with my parents when they really weren’t getting on well and then on a church camping trip when it was pouring with rain and I was tired and wet.
12. Dress up in a medieval costume. Just for the heck of it.
13. See the autumn foilage in New England. I just think it is beautiful.
14. Stay the night in Hampton Court Palace. I heard from someone I used to work with that you can hire a cottage within the grounds and it is amazing to walk round the palace when all the visitors have gone home.
15. Go to the Chelsea Flower Show. I’ve seen it on TV quite a bit and would love to go there or to the Hampton Court Show.
16. Own a tiny kitten. We have had all our puss cats from when they were medium to full grown. Merlin and Ophelia were babyish but not really really curtain climbing tiny.
17. Visit the continent of Africa. I don’t really mind where – I’d be as happy in Egypt visiting the pyramids as I would in Kenya snapping pictures of cheetahs. Cheetahs make me think of Ernest Hemingway for some reason – no idea where that strange idea came from.
18. Visit Tintagel Castle in Cornwall for sunrise or sunset. I just love the name – it sounds so enchanting.
19. Visit the Alhambra Palace. I learnt Spanish at school and it was in our text books. I saw a miniature of it at the Pueblo Espanol in Mallorca and this has just made me want to visit it in person.
20. Go to a cricket match. It is a game which slightly intrigues me. We learnt how to play it at school very roughly.
21. Visit Buckingham Palace.
22. Live in an oast house or part of an oast house.

But most of all?
Meet all the great people I’ve met through blogging in person.

What’s your ultimate wish list?

5 things about Ophelia

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1. Ophelia is my cat. I fell in love with her immediately when she was brought in the house and the two cats were left on their own with me when pao and his friend went for a pint. She didn’t run and hide like Merlin but came up for cuddles straight away. Given a choice, Ophelia will mostly come to me rather than pao.
2. Ophelia doesn’t eat a lot but she has a great fondness for cat treats which she can put away by the handful if we’re not careful. We call them ‘sweeties’ and if you say the word ‘sweeties’ she will come running from wherever she is for them.
3. She can be a bit of a pain to get in. Ophelia plays with us when she thinks we are trying to catch her. She will come up really close but not quite close enough to grab her and when we make a lunge for her, she runs away just in time.
4. Her favourite game is ‘Mousie, Mousie’. This is where we throw a mouse and she chases it, knocks it under the coffee table, we retrieve mousie and the whole process is repeated until she is tired out.
5. Ophelia always looks pretty even though she has longish fur. We never have to brush her and people always comment on how beautifully groomed she is.. if they only knew. Ooops, I’ve just let the cat out the of bag….

5 things about Jasper

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1. Jasper is also fondly referred to as Mr Sausage or M. Saucisson. Don’t know why but we do.
2. Jasper minces when he walks – e.g. he looks like he is walking on tip-paws. He does look dainty but is quite a hunter.
3. He is very popular and especially likes women. He hops into people’s houses via their open windows and scared the life out of a female guest who was staying at a friend’s house by hopping into bed with her in the middle of the night.
4. He’s treats us like minions. Jasper only ever comes to see us when he is hungry.
5. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve overheard strangers talking about the black cat with the orange collar who comes to visit. I smile – one cat = so much joy.

5 things about Phoebe

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1. Phoebe has a rasping purr. She sounds like she is going to explode when she purrs.
2. She has excellent hearing. The sound of a tin opening will get her running from wherever she is.
3. Phoebe is an indoor cat. If it is sunny or we are in the garden, she will venture out. Otherwise she stays in.
4. Paul’s nan calls her the Ugly One. I’m hoping that is an affectionate term as I think she is very pretty.
5. Phoebe has a very definite stare. It is a bit weird to find that you are being stared at at length!

Not Cross in Charing

On the way back from Pluckley last week, we were lucky to drive through Charing a very beautiful village and saw that our book of Kent walks had a trail tracing some of the route that the pilgrims would have taken. Charing would have been the last stopover before the pilgrims arrived at Canterbury.

We now have a pattern to our walking: we arrive, have lunch then go on our walk. The guidebook recommendation for Charing was excellent and they were really keen and accomodating as I had asked for no cream or butter etc. If you ever find yourself in Charing, The Pilgrim’s Table is well worth a visit. We could hear the sound of horses’ hooves on the road and looked up to see a carriage of four white and grey dappled ponies with big long maroon feathers in their browbands pulling a carriage up the middle of the High Street. It was a fantastic sight so we decided to delay the start of our walk a little so we could try and catch a glimpse of the bride when she passed.

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She looked extremely nervous.

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The walk started off in Charing High Street.

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Which only needs a candlestick maker.

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Ludwell House which was owned by Elizabeth Ludwell who made made bequests to the village.

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Sherborne House which was once a shop in the 16th century. Now there is a big display of teddy bears in the window.

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The Swan Inn which looks like it has been converted into flats now. The plaque says it is an early 16th century hall house with 17th century additions. In the 10th century, it as a posting house – perhaps some of the Canterbury pilgrims rested their heads here?

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We headed back out of the centre of the village and spotted this Anderson shelter in the garden of a local school. I am so impressed that someone at the school spent time building something like this.

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We crossed a main road and arrived at our first stile which took us into a field where it looked like horses were trained for show jumping.

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The first pull was uphill. I found it pretty hard going – my legs were tired straight away and I had to stop for water as soon as I got to the top. pao convinced me to climb over the stile at the top before stopping and I’m glad he did!

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The view downhill was amazing though.

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A canopy of trees hung over the Pilgrim’s Way which we followed until we came to some houses then a long road.

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We saw a lot of horses on this walk. Here are a couple which we came upon unexpectedly in the woods.

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Some of the Pilgrim’s Way was paved and quite easygoing.

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That just eased you into the rocky bridle path you had to traverse.

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This wall made me think of the play that the rude mechanics put on in A Midsummer’s Night Dream
In this same interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
And such a wall, as I would have you think,
That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show
That I am that same wall; the truth is so:
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.

I could imagine that Hippolyta and the Duke might have lived in a house like this one which we found when we came to the end of the bridleway.
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But there was a grander one than that still!

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In order to get back to the car – I had to cross a field of cows. After last week’s incident, I was ready to run if they started moving. Thankfully, they didn’t move a muscle.

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And we arrived back at the church

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and the adjacent Archibishop’s Palace.

Charing appeared on the BBC Restoration programme but as it is not open to the public, it would seem that they did not win in 2004. The site does give a bit more information on archbishop’s palaces.