Canterbury by Boat

It was such a beautiful day last Saturday that it seemed perfect to take my friend on a boat trip along the rivers of Canterbury.

I’d taken this tour before and it was interesting to see the sights again and hear about the different places. This is a pilgrim’s hospital which I pass by on the High Street every week. I discovered from the guide that it wasn’t a hospital in the sense we think of hospitals but really it was a place of hospitality so pilgrims could seek a night’s shelter on their pilgrimages to Canterbury.

We also passed this beautiful gate which I’d never seen before. It is interesting how people decorate their houses – this was nice because we could see it from our boat.

This weir is part of Canterbury’s milling heritage. It is a lovely place to sit and listen to the water on a summer’s evening.

I just love the Old Weaver’s building. It has stood in the city for so many years unchanged.

The ducking stool – a shaming place for dishonest business men and nagging wives. Also a place where they tested if you were a witch – one of their criteria was if you had too many cats.

Lucky I was whisked away from this pretty stray we found in the car park at the hospital when we were visiting our friend’s mother or I might have been accused of having too many cats. She reminded me so much of Jeanne’s lovely Pudd and was very friendly too.

In the door

“In the door
Pick up a jacket
Out the door and off you go”
is how a Norwegian friend described knitting with two hands to me so I’ve been giving it a try this weekend. I didn’t like it very much when I tried it by myself but with my friend’s patient tuition, I started to get the hang of it. I think this is called Continental knitting as the yarn stays on the left hand and is lifted up. I have been shown how to knit English with two hands but never got the hang of it so I’m rather pleased to have learnt a method that once mastered will really speed up by knitting!

When purling, you have to go through the back door but I’m not quite ready for that yet!

She also showed me how to do some colour work and generously gave me some of her alpaca yarn so I could make the Edith mittens I have a pattern for. They are a bit big so I’m going to practice with these and start on some afresh for real with smaller needles. I am really pleased with how they are going.

But I really don’t have to worry about knitting mittens in a hurry because Mama Tulip really kindly sent me some gold dust mittens 🙂 Thank you so much! I love them!!!

Stumpy and Ringtail in Rye

We’d been meaning to make a trip to Rye for a while. It is a place which we like nipping down to as there is a very good fish and chip shop there which sells a very tasty skate and chips. The sun was shining all lovely and warm and we took a walk with charity shop diversions as necessary. The Landgate is one of the major landmarks in Rye and when you walk through it you reach the heart of the town.

An old waterworks building.

This was an old school building which is now a record shop.

Something we like about Rye is the traditional shops like this old sweet shop which sells sweets out of these big jars

and lovely delicatessens which sell local cheeses. You can tell pao is impressed.

Rye has many literary connections. Lamb House is where Henry James and then E.F.Benson, author of the Mapp and Lucia novels, lived.

The cobbled streets are really charming.

Rye Castle

is where I encountered and befriended this ringtailed cat.

We had lunch at this place – great name but it was a bit odd. The food was nice but I found the waitress wittering on next to our table about how bored she was a bit off-putting.

We had a little look round St Mary’s Church after lunch

which has the most beautiful stained glass window

and someone had brought this little dog into the side chapel.

Behind the church was an amazing old water tank.

We laughed at this funny cat with his stumpy tail which strode up to say hello just as we’re getting ready to head off.

Wanderings in Whitstable

We had a visitor on Thursday and took her for a trip to Whitstable. It was the most idyllic day – the sun was shining – not too hot and there was no breeze so it was just right.

The sea was blue.

We were able to sit outside and eat fresh fish sandwiches from Wheelers and eat Italian ice cream looking at the sea on Tankerton slopes.

We marvelled at the creativeness of beach hut owners before heading back into Whitstable to Tea and Times for a cuppa.

The cats certainly enjoyed the sunshine as much as we did.

Springing into Country Living

I went to the Country Living Fair a couple of weeks ago and it was lovely. We were ushered through a different entrance than we had been through before but were treated to a lovely view of the stained glass window of the Business Design Centre. (Yes, I am aware of the irony of visiting London for a ‘country living’ fair)

We would have missed this cow- entitled Til the Cows Come Home – part of the London CowParade in 2002.

It also meant that we found ourselves where the classes take place and were encouraged to have a go at making a fascinator. It is harder and more fiddly than it looks.

Rachel’s came out a bit better than mine.

We saw this old bike which had been washed up from the sea at the Beyond France merchant

and lovely bunting.

I loved the knitted cats.

But it was really nice to see and smell the flowers. At last spring is here!

The Under Gardener

Sirius is a very attentive under gardener who likes to watch from his perch.

He isn’t content to look from afar and got straight down and checked out the self-watering troughs which will hold miniature carrots to make sure I had just the right amount of water in the bottom.

He was very interested in the Miracle Gro compost. Perhaps he thought if he played in it enough he would miraculously grow too.

But he particularly likes the propogator and is always getting in it. Perhaps he thinks we will grow another kitten for him to play with.
NB No kittens were harmed in the taking of this photo. The air vents were fully opened and he didn’t struggle or fuss in any way and didn’t really want to get out of the tray after we took the photo.

Season of green (and purple and black)

I was given five purple sprouting broccoli plants last year by some friends and thanks to the good advice at The Cottage Gardener’s blog I didn’t hoik the plants out in the autumn and waited patiently for these gorgeous purple taste sensations. I was given five plants – two didn’t make it due to pigeons but these last three soldiered on and I’ve just had my first taste sauteed with some leftover beef from lunch yesterday and a bit of spinach in some chilli and garlic sauce stuffed in toasted pitta breads.

pao and I have been doing a lot of work in the garden today. pao has been tidying it up and I have been potting on seedlings. I’ve been using cheap plastic cups rather than buying pots – an idea I got from Mrs SJT’s father-in-law. I’ve already used about 100 and still have large numbers of seedlings to repot but I know I’ve already got some takers for the plants as I’ve already had requests. I’m growing all sorts of tomatoes, chard, aubergines, spinach, leeks and spring onions. I’ll worry about where exactly they are going to go when they are big enough. I’m quite determined to grow peas this year. I’ve tried and tried but always been thwarted by slugs so I’m going to start them off in the conservatory and have been saving egg shells as they proved a good deterrent last year.

I’ve seen other people using wooden sticks and thought these wooden coffee stirrers were just the ticket to label plants with.

Sirius is taking his role of under-gardener very seriously and is always keen to help. Every time I go out to the conservatory to do some potting on or water the seedlings, he appears from nowhere ready to help.

PS I was so impressed by this garden plan by My Tiny Plot. I wish I could draw something like that!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you all! We received a box of 50 (yes, 50) Easter eggs. Lucky us.

I like to decorate the house a little bit for Easter.

I like to cut a few branches with buds ready to burst forth with greenery to hang my ornaments.

I’ve had these a year or two.

I love the little bunnies

and birdies

and bunnies 🙂

I think it is pretty nice.

Sirius just thinks of it as another kitten toy 🙂 Happy Easter!