Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Rochester High Street

This ancient cathedral city has attracted Norman's, Roman's, pilgrims and kings and queens over the centuries and has inspired some of the greatest men in history.

My interest is Charles Dickens who spent his final years near Rochester. Many of the historic buildings in Rochester today were an inspiration to him.

So having visited first the castle and then the cathedral
we are now walking down the High Street

Eastgate House built 1590 is steeped in history.  During the late 1700's it was used as a young ladies' boarding school. It was also associated with Charles Dickens and featured in The Pickwick Papers and his unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Making our way back to the car
This day in August we were on our way to our 3 night break at Rifleman Cottage the B & B of a fellow blogger
We will be passing this way again on our way home
so more to come

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The End of January Musings

I am sure that I am not the only one that is amazed that already a month of 2012 has passed
As January can be a quiet month my thoughts had been to take a little time out to do some writing and possibly some de-cluttering in my home. January always seems a good time to see what I no longer need or use.
So far it has not happened as apart from Alan's surgery and all the usual hospitality and daily life it has been an extremely busy month.

Firstly I have taken on extra responsibility at Pilgrims Hall

 and another highlight has been to be part of the launching of
the Conservative Christian Fellowship in my town
An amazing evening where people from all denominations met together at our town headquarters to support our member of Parliament and with a desire to see more and more of a Christian presence in Parliament
It is exciting to know that we have Spirit filled Christians in 
The House of Lords and to hear such a heart of humility shared by one of our Baronesses
So many people turned up that it was a pack out and with the number of windows that had to be opened our worship could be heard by passers by

Then there has been further Hebrew studies (at Pilgrims Hall) with Rabbi Alan, a Jewish Christian that we have studied with a number of times before. When studying in Hebrew (translated of course, I am not that clever!) I always feel like I never really knew the Old 
Testament before. It's like every passage relates to everything in life today.

 On a lighter note I have had to drive our new car (the one that was the replacement for the one stolen when our house was burgled)
It is not that I can't drive but that Alan likes to drive and I had hardly got to grips with this new one when he was not allowed to drive for a month after surgery, nor go out for 2 weeks.

 Centre of town shopping in this country can be quite a challenge at any time. Car Parks fill up quickly, the traffic can be bad and we don't get to park outside the store as in the States.

So, I got in early, found a suitable parking place fairly near to the exit and proceeded to visit the various shops I needed around town. Eventually having struggled back to the car with loaded shopping bags I could not see my car anywhere. It took some minutes to realise that there were 2 exits to this car park (it is quite a complicated lay out and we usually go up the flume to the next level - cheaper there!)

 Then before going into the grocery store on the edge of the car park to buy the weekly groceries I needed to collect a shopping trolley (cart for the USA) and when I put my £1 coin in it immediately shot up into the air and vanished. Did not have another one so had to get a staff member to get a special key (she also found my coin)
I finished my shop and after loading the car I realised that I had forgotten to have my parking ticket validated in the store. Spending a certain amount in the grocery store means 2 hours free parking. So back to the store to have that done.
Soon I am sitting in the car at the barrier wondering why the machine keeps throwing my ticket out. When eventually pressing the help button I am told that I have not paid. 
How could I have forgotten to go to the pay station - there are signs everywhere! OK - line of cars behind me,  back-up and re-park, go to the pay station and begin to wonder if I should ever be allowed out alone!!!!!!!!!!

I had to see the funny side but it was also a day when I was glad to get home - it was raining too!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Rochester Cathedral

Walking away from the castle grounds round to the cathedral

Passing the outer castle walls

as we enter the cathedral grounds

where we pass this ancient tree

We go inside

and out again under the organ archway

into the inner gardens where we see here the 12th century
Chapter House briefly incorporated in a Royal Palace for 
King Henry VIII

We will be walking back into the town next

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Rochester Castle in August

Looking over the Medway River as we walk up to Rochester Castle
First timbers were built in 1066 after Norman (French) invasion

One of the best preserved castles of it's kind
The keep, seen here is 113 ft high and a notable element is it's one round tower set against three square towers. This is the result of a siege in 1215 by King John. 

We climb up and up and round and round
stopping off at each level

At the top now looking down on the cathedral which we will be visiting later

Looking down from the very top

I have to lean against Alan while I take photos up here as I do not like heights

Lots more to see in Rochester, the town associated with Charles Dickens, although he did not actually live here but a few miles away
Alan progressing well but still not allowed to drive for 2 more weeks
More because of insurance issues while he still has dressings on his legs

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Day in July

Some time ago I posted on a visit to Heybridge Basin on the coast
On that particular day in July we also visited this old Steam Pumping Station which is now a museum
It supplied water to the Southend district with giant steam engines pumping up to eight million gallons of treated water every day and became obsolete in the 1960's

The tea room (where we had morning coffee) was very much a part of the museum

As you can imagine this was far more interesting to Alan

I guess they needed the phone closed off because of the noise of the engines

Miniature steam railway

Later after our lunch and walk in Heybridge Basin we drove to the river estuary at Maldon

Where we see the old Thames barges moored on the River Blackwater that were used on the River Thames in bygone days

Contrasting with modern times

Alan is doing fine and healing well but still well bandaged up for another week. Can move around the house now but still not allowed to walk outside
Fortunate that house church is next door!