When we left Leamington on Friday afternoon it was still unseasonably mild. Not so on our return tonight - the only word is BRRRR! Winter really is here. It's hard to feel too put out by that right now as I'm wrapped up in a dressing gown and blanket on the sofa, with a hot water bottle next to me. Also, I feel thoroughly rested and happy after a wonderful long weekend in Kent, visiting Nic's family.
After all of the excitement of the Aspire launch party on Thursday night, I worked from home on Friday. It meant I was able to have a bit of a lie in and sort my things out, as well as getting some work done in peace. We scooted off out of Leamington early and had an easy and uneventful journey down through London to Kent. It was livened up a little bit by the girl sitting behind me on the train from Reading, who was not only listening to James Blunt on her mobile phone but singing along. I know I shouldn't judge, really, but it made me laugh so much. She seemed completely oblivious to our mirth and while I normally find that kind of thing annoying, she just seemed so harmless and happy that I found it charming. The journey was also enlivened a little by meeting Mariella Frostrup on the circle line (she's really petite and very charming) and spotting Vic Reeves in St Pancras (although seeing Vic Reeves on these Kentish holidays is starting to get a little old hat now) We had a quiet first evening in Folkestone and got an early night ahead of an exciting day on Saturday.
Our good friends Dan and Victoria Deloria recently moved to the gorgeous village of Wye, and invited us to spend the day with them. We hopped on a train in the morning and were with them by lunchtime. Unfortunately we missed Wye Farmers' Market, but we did arrive in time to bag the last loaf of tea bread from Wye bakery. Wye is really gorgeous. Village life appeals to me anyway, and I could see myself living somewhere like this, nestled under the beautiful North Downs. Nic was intrigued by a sign advertising The Jazz Police, maybe we'll get the chance to see them the next time we're in Wye:
Nic and The Jazz Police.
Dan and Vic had lunch ready for us - a delicious butternut squash soup:
Vic spent the morning hollowing this gourd - apparently her mum bought it at auction!
With our tummies happily full of soup and bread and then tea and cake, we joined Dan's parents for a walk on the Downs - up to The Devil's Kneading Trough, which is a glacial valley. It was a beautiful, bracing walk and the scenery was incredible:
Seen from The Devil's Kneading Trough
Nic brooding on the hilltop
Vic meeting some of the local wildlife
A bridle path worn through the hills
...and me, enjoying the ramble
The Devil's Kneading Trough restaurant - a very strange place.
This wasn't to be our only walk on the hills that day. Wye Bonfire Society organises a bonfire and fireworks display every year on bonfire night. The people from the village (and the surrounding areas too, judging by the crowd assembled) gather outside the church once darkness has fallen and walk up through the hills to the Crown to watch the fireworks. We joined them, and it was wonderful. It was a mild, dry and clear night. The Crown was alight, which looked spectacular from the village. Once we were up on the hill we could see right across the Kent coast, and a little bit of Sussex as well - Hastings is just about visible from the hills above Wye. While we waited for the WBS fireworks to be let off we were able to see fireworks going up all over the county. It was magical. The sky was full of stars, and the bonfire was blazing - and it was ever so Wicker Man-style surreal.
The rest of our weekend was quiet. Sunday was cold and wet, and the most exercise we managed was a walk on Sandgate seafront in between showers:
Me on the beach
Nic looks great when he's moodily lit
...and so do I!
That evening we watched the fabulous Mildred Pierce - my second James M.Cain film of the past few weeks, and the first time I'd watched a Joan Crawford film. She was amazing! When I finish the book I'm currently reading (David Kynaston's Austerity Britain. I cannot recommend it highly enough, by the way) I'll be picking up the novel of Mildred Pierce.
Over the next few days we pottered around Folkestone and Hythe, watched some Doctor Who with Nic's brother and generally just lazed around. It was so good to spend time with Nic's parents, and to be by the sea.
I know this has been a picture-heavy blog post, but I'm going to leave you here with a few more. It's time for me to have a hot bath, then go to bed to eat bread and butter pudding and watch The Apprentice. Good night, all!
My new slippers, a gift from Nic's parents. They know me well, clearly!
I met this wee man outside the Saga headquarters in Sandgate. He only had three legs, poor wee thing! He wasn't shy, but wasn't keen on having his photo taken.
A walk by the seafront at dusk
The sun came out again today for our last walk on the seafront. I loved this path of sunlight on the water.