Saturday, 28 February 2009

Jelltex Vs. the Christian Party

It all began last year when uber-atheist Richard Dawking paid for an advertisement on a bus stating that God PROBABLY does not exist, but carry on and enjoy your life. This to me was fair, he did not say for certain.

However, a couple of weeks ago, a political organisation called The Christian party did a bus ad as well, but in theirs it says that God defiantly does exist, so carry on and enjoy yourself.
Piqued, I wrote to the ASA, the advertising standards agency in the UK, saying that this was a bold claim and should not be allowed.

It seems that political advertising does not have to adhere to the usual rules and regulations and the ASA can’t intervene in political advertising. But then I guess that is why it was done as a political advert, just to get round these rules. But, as I have said before, I am still waiting for proof.

The Weekenders Part 2 (written the 22nd February)

Here I am, sitting in what grandly calls itself the Elms Country Hotel, Horsham St. Faith, Norwich. Now, it maybe a hotel, but it’s not in the country, and in truth it qualifies as little more than a barracks in truth be known. But, it has a bar, and I have my own room and in the bathroom, there is a spa bath; and in the main room I have the choice of three beds. I don’t feel I’m gonna be that lucky in this town. There is no wi-fi in here, but there is in the bar; kerching! Maybe tomorrow. I think I should have a quiet night before the dunking begins tomorrow.
And so my weeks without work and living the life of Reilly are over; for now I must earn my pay rise and the new job. That don’t make the thought of being away from home any easier, even if it is the job that makes all that life possible. So, here I am away from home about to go on a survival course which is needed for my life at sea to start again. This one involves being dunked in a pool in a mock up of helicopter.

Oh well, that is for tomorrow, or in the next three days, anyway.

So, for the past two days we pretended that life was going to go on like this forever. And we lived life, went shopping, ate out and generally had a great time, whilst ignoring the elephant in the room, which was manifest in the hire car sitting on the drive, delivered on Friday
Friday night I cook dinner as usual, we drink wine and make small talk and all the while the cats mill around our legs; music plays quietly in the background; and life is still pretty good.

Saturday we headed out in the car to Hythe for some more shopping; a few bits and pieces for the house, and maybe a wander through a bookshop or two, and maybe breakfast in a nice café. Hythe is at he beginning of the Romney Marsh, and is blessed with beaches; whilst inland the town spreads along a narrow high street mostly filled with busy independent shops. The town spreads up the chalk hill to the impressive parish church as it looks out to the sea and beyond to France. We found a café, had scrambled egg with crispy bacon or mushrooms with rocket. We went into a bookshop, bought some vintage maps, something on local history, before heading up to the tranquil church and its quiet graveyard. The sun came out, the birds sang in the trees, and passing walkers exchanged pleasantries. I took pictures, and all around life was still good.
We drove to Canterbury, party for the enjoyment of driving through country lanes over chalky hills and through leafy lanes leading to typical Kentish villages with greens and pubs.

Sadly, most of Kent had the same idea of going to Canterbury, and so we turned north and headed back out to the coast and to more country lanes and more pubs. We stopped for lunch in what turned out to be Charles Dickens’ local, or was at some point two centuries ago. The whitewashed coaching in was so many hundreds of years old. I took some pictures of the outside and promised to put them on line. We both had ploughmans and me more real ale and took in the sheer pleasure of just sitting there looking at the world passing by.

It was then back home to sort through more mail and the usual stuff that accompanies a house move, and to see if our scaredy cats would venture outside as we are fed up clearing up the tray.

Sunday morning sees us walking across the fields between the house and the cliffs which we can see from our upstairs window. What seems like maybe a 15 minute walk turns out to take nearly an hour, but walking beside fields and along hedgerows was pleasant enough, and soon we could see the shimmering sea glinting in the morning sun. We went into the old Dover Patrol building, now a café, for a fry up and a couple of cups of tea whilst looking out over the channel to France. The food is wonderful, fresh and local; and all the while the chef is bringing out batched of scones and cakes for later in the day.

At Home With the Cats; (written 19th February)

So, here we are, nine days in the house and now the final part of the settling in process; letting the cats outside. So far just two of the cats have seen the back door open, and Sulu was straight outside, and he went off exploring for about half an hour, and then just as I began to panic there he was scratching at the cat flap which for some reason does not open inwards. So, he’s in. And then take little miss brave, or so I thought, Molly to the door and open it, thinking she would be keen to get out and explore, but she froze and then ran back upstairs. Seems like some work needed there.

At the moment I am seen as a living cat blanket during the day, and as soon as I sit down two of the three try to find space on me and settle down; whether or not they are blocking the tv or not. It is good to be home with them, though.

Just about all boxes are unpacked; just the seven inch singles now, and I am hoping for a juke box at some point to put some of the better ones in. That might be hoping for too much of course. There’s always the rack they were in back in the flat. There are two boxes of assorted computer cables and leads; quite what goes with what is a question. Do I just try one in the external hard drive and hope for the best?


We have made contact with one of our neighbours, and have been invited round for drinkies on Saturday night. Kay even brought a bottle of wine round when we moved in, or when we were surrounded by boxes in here. It would be nice to have friends living next door for sure.
In the interests of research I have made trips to each of the three pubs in the village; the Smugglers we used to go into before as their food is always great. Some nice beer and friendly staff and the beer was nice and cold. The Kings Head I went to yesterday and had two pints of Ruddles Country and a ploughman’s whilst sitting beside a large open fire; that was another of those good days. Even better than that was that I started to get paid from yesterday too; so I am no longer a drunken bum. Not that I drink too much, just the odd pint purely for research of course.

Our road is quiet, and so sleep is wonderfully easy, instead of the revving engines of the boy racers’ cars as they sat at the lights outside the flat in Dover. That does not count the ear-bleedingly loud techno music that used to keep us awake in the summer. That bloody dawn chorus can be loud though; I’ll get Molly on the case!

From our back window we can see the line of the edge of the white cliffs; and some quick calculations show that in a few hundred years we will have a house with sea views before our place too will topple into the English Channel from a great height.

The View from our new house.

Oh well.

We can now ‘entertain’ visitors here; which means we can have friends over to stay now we have a spare bedroom. The rubicks wardrobe taunts me with it’s array of odd shaped pieces. It’s all very well the removal men taking it apart when we moved it from Suffolk, but I did not pay attention or they write down what went where, and now there seems to be way too many bits and pieces that have no use or where they go. Oh well, I’ll call it a conversation piece and see how that flies.

I have managed to learn the black art that is lighting the wood burner; we now have flickering shadows to entertain us as we listen to Radcliffe and Maconie on the radio; although the sounds of the kindling splitting does worry the cats some. It does save money firing up the heating for the whole house anyway.

Sadly, now just as I am getting used to being in the house, real life beckons and I must head back to sea. I have a course to go on from Monday; quite why sea survival is being taught in Norwich which by my calculations is some 25 miles from the sea. Maybe they’re hoping global warming will speed up and it’ll be on the Norfolk Rivera in no time. Going back to Norfolk allows me to visit some old friends, and maybe even take in a game at Carrow Road on Tuesday night if City are at home. If I want some misery in my life, of course.

You are What you Eat

A few years back, during my last stay in deepest Arkansas, I bought some fast food to keep me going whilst helping on my friend Jason’s propane route. We stopped off in downtown Ozark at the gas station, just down the street from the Oxford Hotel, which having been to Oxford I can tell you it looks nothing like that, and opposite where the Hardees burger joint used to be, and almost next door to the oddest commercial venture I know of.
I can’t remember the name, but it’s a frozen food store that also offers tanning. Yeah, that’s right, tanning. What on earth made them think of that gap in the market? Thinking of buying shrimp? Think that their pinkness will make you look pasty? Well, have 10 minutes in the tanner, and then you will be right1 remember to take the turkey baster in with you to get that all over golden tan!

Anyway, back to the fast food; something called Hot Stuff Foods XXL Taquitos; Spicy Nacho Beef . I kept the wrapper and lost it, and it wasn’t until I was about to throw out Bill Maher’s New Rules that it fell out; The ingredients list. I mean, it should be simple; some beef, a tortilla, some veggies and bam! Thank you mister.

But, the list goes on and on. And then some.

Here it is: Enriched bleached wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononirate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, tortilla flour blend (salt, baking powder, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, sodium aluminium sulphate, monocalcium phosphate), sodium stearoyl, lactylate, sodium metabisulfite (dough conditioner), modified cornstarch, cheddar cheese (pasteurised milk, salt, enzymes, annatto (color), seasoned beef topping (cooked beef, water, dehydrated onion, salt, chilli pepper, spices, sugar, sodium phosphate, garlic), partially hydrogenated soybean oil, batter mix (yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, spices, salt, paprika, jalapeno pepper, leavening (sodium acid, pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate) natural flavour(!), guar gum, oleoresin paprika, turmeric), beans, jalapeno pepper (jalapenos, salt, acetic acid, calcium, chloride) tortilla flour blend (salt, baking powder (sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, sodium aluminium sulphate, monocalcium phosphate), sodium stearoyl, sodium metabisulfate (dough conditioners), chilli pepper, modified cornstarch, salt, spices, garlic, chilli flavour (canola oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavours).

Needless to say I had quite severe heartburn after that. Not that food is any less modified here in Britain, but I do like to know what I eat, even if I do eat too much still, I know what is in my food.

Enjoy your lunch!

Monday, 16 February 2009

The weekenders

Ahh, the weekend. Jools off work, and we get to do the final few things with the house, as well as getting out and about.

There were many things we felt we needed for the house; and so we set off for Canterbury to
a great cookware shop for things for the kitchen, another place for bathroom things, before the crowds go too large and we headed out to Whitstable for some objects to scatter around the house from a shop we had noticed called Craftmaster.

It was a wonderful bright winters day, and driving through the Kentish countryside was a joy. Whitstable was also full of people, not that is good to see, really. We stopped in a greasy spoon for a spot of brunch. I had a bacon roll with Dijon mustard. But it seems they had run out of that and used English instead. Lots of English. And it was like eating fire. Not amount of tea would take the taste away, as they had used so much. And I decided that the best course would be beer.
So, after a pink of foamy ale we did out shopping before heading along the coast to a ruined church at Reculver for a walk and for me to take some pictures; it had been nearly a week since I took some!

Once back home, we put our purchases out, and the house looked ever more like a home. And the cats were feeling more at home as each day went by.


I got a call to see if we wanted to meet with a Flickr friend in Deal for breakfast on the pier and then a wander to take more pictures. It seemed like a great idea and so we set off at nine to meet them at Dover for the drive to Deal.

Nothing quite like a full English breakfast to start the day, and we set off on a walk around the town, snapping away chatting as we did so. Matt and Dadi also became our first guests in the new house; we deciding it was cheaper to go home for coffee than using one of the local cafes.

And so, we are just about moved in; the garden has yet to be touched, but we are getting there, and it does feel like home. It has all worked out so well; I begin the new job this week and earn money again before heading off on the course next week and the unknown and a new ship in the weeks after that.

Life is still good.

Did the earth move for you?

Monday 9th February.

After dropping Jools off at work it was a day of waiting as I stood by the phone to find out that the final part of the move went through, and both sets of solicitors agreed that all tees had been crossed and eyes dotted and we could get our hands on the keys and go in owning the house.

The call came through just before midday, and I could pick up the keys at half one to be there at the house for the carpet layers. The house was empty, just about; The previous owner left us a couple of bottles of wine and a few items of furniture.

As usual, the worment were late, but did the job well enough and the bedroom looked great with a dusty pink carpet.

Time to go by to pick Jools up from work and then back to the house and after mooning about the rooms it was down to the more serious job of working out where everything we owned was going to go.

Time to draw a deep breath and get ready for the bug day ahead.

Tuesday 10th.

We were all out of milk and most food, so we went to the local travel inn and had breakfast there before meeting tghe man with a van and friend at the storage place to fill said van with our stuff. They said they worked best alone, and so Jools went to the house to prepare things, and I to the flat to pack up the final items.

I guess I could go on as to how each load went and how the house was soon filling up with furniture in bits and boxes and boxes of stuff. But, by three in the afternoon, most of it was in the house; it was just daunting as to know where to start.

That was easy, as we needed a place to sleep, so we put the bed up and moved stuff to the bedroom before we called it a day and went to the local pub for a deserved dinner and a drink or two.

Wednesday 11th.

Another day of unpacking and repeated trip to the tip of old electrical items and boxes for recycling. Sadly the piles of boxes never seemed to be going down, but the shelves filled up with stuff, and it was a little easier as we had well marked each box as we packed. We also collected the cats, and after some trepidation, they soon settled down into their much larger new house.

One thing that did make it better was seeing our stuff fill the house, and for me, stuff from my old place I had not seen in 18 month reappear and then what to do with the multiples of thi ngs we had.

Thursday 12th.

A quiet day for shopping.

As well as shopping, Jools' dad helped us mopve the last stuff from the flat with his trailer and we now filled upthe driveway of the house with our gardne stuff and bbq.

Afterwards, Jools and I went shopping; first to the country butchers we us. I got racks of lamb for Friday nights dinner, as well as a guinea fowl for Sunday lunch; just hoping that the cook books would raist their head before then.

In the evening, the camera club proved to be harder to get to now; instead of walking down the hill to the mill, it is now a 15 minute drive, and then transport back at the end was needed. A friend said he would do just that, and so to my delight they had Adnams Old on draught, and I filled my boots with the ale as well as the more serious job of looking at others pictures.

Friday 13th.

Jools went back to work, and I got down the the job of unpacking the final boxes at the house. I positioned the boxes in the right place and set to work, and by three in the afternoon it was all pretty much done; or as much as I was going to do. So I settled down on the sofa and listened to the movie reveiews on the radio with Mark Kermode whilst covered in cats.

That evening, I cooked the two racks of lamb with sauted potatoes; the lamb was crusted with herbs and was wonderful. By the time we finished the meal, we were both shattered, and there was just time to wash up before heading up the stairs to bed.

BT have repeatedly messed up our phone and we are now on our sixth number of the week, and cancelled our broadband order! After speaking with people in Dehli for the umpteenth time I decided I couldn't be bothered and swapped ISPs, even though it would take a week longer to arrange. Anything was better than BT and their appalling sevice.

So, we will not be online until the weekend, when it is time for me to head back to work. My first trip is back to Norwich on a survivial course, and the chance to meet old friends as well as a possible drowning in the helicopter dunking pool.

Oh well. I had better start earning some money again.

Monday, 9 February 2009

It all Happened

Yes, today was the day when all the legal wheels and stuff reached the end of their tracks, and indeed just before midday I got the call from our solicitor that all monies had been transeferred, confirmation had been recieved; and indeed, the house was our.First thing this morning was to round the cats up to put them in the cattery for a couple of days just so we didn't have to worry about them. Jools got up on autopilot and put Molly out after breakfast.

And so everything was put on hold until she came in, and as feline twentieth sense kicked in and she knew there was something odd happening. A rustle of the bag of her favourite treats swung it in my favour; and as soon as she was in the house and in the kitchen; all doors closed and the basket ready.The other two were already in confinement in the bedroom, and in the baskets with them, and out into the wilds of deepest Kent to drop them off.

Rush back here and find out the expected chain of events from our solicitor, and then wait.

And wait some more.

As a little light effect, BT showed that they have not improved since I last used them as my phone company, as they rang to triumphantly tell me thay had arranged the phone and broadband; at my old house in Suffolk!

Oh, how I laughed. In an ironic way of course.

The phone rang again before lunch, the money had been transferred, jut have to wait some more. And half an hour later, all confirmed. Ring up the estate agent; and the seller has not moved out yet!

More waiting.

And at half one I got to pick up the keys from the agents office; and that was it.I went to the house, checked everything out and wait for the carpet fitters as we wanted the bedroom carpet replaced before we move in. That done, all is set for tomorrow.

How wonderful.

Even BT chipped in with that the order had gone through, with a fifth change of phone number in two days; and it could change again. But they promised me, crossing their heart that this was it, they had it sorted.

We shall see.

But that does mean that we will be offline for a week, which will mean I will not be sidetracked by MD or Flickr, and might actually get some work done.

I have checked, and the small cupboard in the living room is the perfect size for wine, and I reckon that I could get 50 of them in there! And there's a shelf above for the whisky.

I have arranged Sky TV, which will mean football by the weekend, and something to divert my attention! Maybe.

But, it all seems to be arranged, and tomorrow is the big day; the move. There's a man with a van and a friend coming to help, and I hope to have broken the back of it by mid-afternoon. But we shall see.So, until next time, this is jelltex signing off

.Nanu, nanu.


Saturday, 7 February 2009

Super Saturday

The question was did I want to meet up at the Dover Beer Festival? I struggled to answer yes or to ask where the beer fest would be. I was told it was in the old town all, Maison Deu. The House of God, and a quick look on the old interweb showed that is was to be a festival of winter ales.


And indeed, yum.

My intention had been to go to the gym first thing, but the best paid plans and all that meant I laid in bed for an hour and then suggested we go back to the new cafe on Deal pier as te breakfasts looked so darned good last week, and I thought something substantial before the beer might be a good idea.

Jools agreed and we set off over the tundra that passes for the Garden of England these days. In fairness, the snow was only about an inch deep, but was pretty enough; and as we did not get caught in any drifts we did not need the police and arrived in Deal safe and sound.

We got the parking space nearest the pier, and wrapping up warm and taking our appetites with us we strode off over the sea to the cafe; passing the fishermen casting their rods out laden with lug and the such. Sounds of the Sixties blared out of ancent radios, and they seemed happy enough to be here and not in the bosom of their families. Or maybe they were looking for some free food.

The breakfasts were indeed wonderful; full english with extra toast and marmalade and a pot or two of tea; all rather spendid I have to say.

Dover CAMERA Winter Ales festival

And then it was back to Dover in time to be there when the doors opened so I could meet one of my contacts from Flickr, Mr Fugunumbmouth; this is not his real name. He told me two of his names, neither of which I am sure was his real name; But we bought pints of dark and nutty and strong warming winter ales and retired to fill in a few details of our pasts.

Dover CAMERA Winter Ales festival

All the while the hall filled up, and each pint seemed to be getting better and better, but we were due to meer more of the Flickrati at two on one of Dover's piers for more photographs.

A brisk walk to the seafront brought us out into the bright sunlight of a winters day, and as we waited for the others to arrive we made do with watching a young guy do backflips from the seawall down onto the beach; in time he progressed to double rolls, which was very impressive.

After a time the others arrived, and after introductions and much handshaking we made our way along the Prince of Wales Pier and towards the small cafe at the end; all the while we took pictures and exchanged tales of photography trips past. Once again, all rather good.

Dover Flickrmeet 7th Feb 2009

At the end we gathered round the small lighthouse to photograph it to death; it seemed rude not to join in.

Prince of Wales Pier, Dover

As the light faded, we made our way back to shore and bid our farwells. I made my way home and turned on the radio to learn that my team had somehow managed to lose to a team of less no hopers. Again. And so the pattern continues.

Later I fired up the griddle pan and I cooked thick steaks along with butter fried field mushrooms and Jools went to the chippy for chips with salt and vinegar; all washed down with a bottle of Cava.

Another one of them good days.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

I know you got Sole

A gloomy, grey Thursday in East Kent. With the tribulations of the pat few weeks with not knowing about whether we would be buying the house on the cliffs, or not, I had neglected Jools' Nan. And so today, I took her out for a drive and a meal.

After a quick visit to the farmer's market and a quick purchase of some large field mushrooms for the steak on Saturday night, it was a short drive to pick Nan up. She was already waiting, just thrilled really to be going out.We headed north towards Preston and the butcher and game dealer that we use. It's a while out of our way really, but the meat and service is so good, and the drive out there is so pleasant, I don't mind going.

On the way I filled in Nan about all our news and plans. It was all really rather pleasant. I picked up two thick steaks, some beef sausages laced with red wine and sage as well as some chicken thighs; and ordered two racks of lamb for next Thursday, and what I hope to our celebration meal in our new home.

A couple of days ago I went to the British Red Cross shop to buy a dining room table and chairs, as it was the best one we had seen anywhere; not that shopping really is our thing, but it looks rustic enough to make us both happy. Anyway, we will be eating herb encrusted rack of lamb along with a bottle of red or rose in a week.

We headed off then to Ramsgate; the weather which for a while had looked as though the sun was going to break through the clouds, but in time the rain came down, and it got quite dark. The marina filled with yachts did not look to inviting, and the steet cafes looked like they were doing worse business than last week when the sun actually shone.

I decided that we would go to the old inn where Jools and I went on Sunday; this involved a drive through the Kentish countryside through Canterbury and Ashford before stiking out across the Romeny marsh.Nan loved going through Canterbury, the cathedral towered over all other buildings; for me the traffic was bad enough I had to be watching my mirrors for rougue drivers and lane jumpers.

South of Canterbury, the traffic thinned out, and even with the rain it got all the more pleasant again, and our conversation flowed, and Nan told me of days gone past and holidays or friends she knew in the villages we passed through.

The Woolpack Inn.

The Woolpack was a little emptier than on Sunday, and we took up the same table that Jools and I occupied on Sunday, and a quick look at the menu we boith chose Dover Sole.

Dover Sole is a quite rare flat fish, famed for its buttery taste and crumbly texture. I can confirm that this is indeed the case, and was well worth paying the premium, and a dish that Nan had not had for many years, and that I was happy enough to share that with her made her quite happy. As we sat there, wood, sorry logs, sorry chunks of tree were thrown on the open fire; farmers swapped stories and walkers told tales of wildlife seen. Nan and I just sat there and took the scene in.

Nan went home happy, and me back her to open the letter confirming all details of the purchase of the house have been completed, bills have been payed and solicitor happy.

As are we.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Latest News

I have kept quiet about news of the house move an all that.

There was a couple of technical problems and it hung in the balance for many days. We have not known whether we had the house or not, and with each passing day I was running out of time before I started the new job. I am quite calm about it, or thought I was; Jools was more upset by the delays, and it came down to the fact that either we move in next week or never.

Anyway, we got the news this afternoon that all problems had been sorted out, the latest being that either one or both of the fax machiens were broken in our solicitors or the mortgage company's. But that is fixed;And we have the house!

It's more of a relief than a moment of triumph to be honest. We should move next Tuesday, hopefully. And only now is the scale of what we are going to have to do. All the people to let know, organise this, that and the other.

But for now, relax. There are two bottles of champagne in the fridge for this moment. We may go out for dinner tonight, or we might have the pasta thing I threw together.

But we're moving, baby!

Saturday, Sunday

And so, it's another onday morning. Of course as I write this the country outside has ground to a halt as up to a foot of snow has fallen and caught England by surprise, and so trains are not running, neither are buses, schools are closed and any hill is being used for slides and sledges.

Saturday was much different; the sun shone and the wind did not blow. Jools had a beading class in Deal, a seaside town just north of here; and so we drove over and went for a walk along the pier to the new cafe they have just opened.

Deal Pier New Cafe

So, we sat in a modern, open plan building and ordered coffee and bacon butties. All around us outside, seagull circled as people cast lines into the sea below.Whilst she went for her class, I wandered around the town taking pictures and doing some shopping. Nothing interesting in the cool record shop; I bought a bag of organic vegetables in a produce shop; a couple of cakes and a canonbert cheese from another independant produce shop; a round cob loaf to spread the cheese on, and I was set. I bought a copy of the Times and found a pub overlooking the beach and the pier; bought another pint of foaming real ale and waited for Jools to finish.Then back home for some wonderful coffee to go along with our cheese and bread, and then sit and read whilst cats slept on our laps; the sun set outside, and all was right with the world.

Deal Pier

I also bought a large scale OS map for the Romney Marsh, as there is a really photogenic church right in the middle of the marsh with no houses or buildings within miles. We poured over the map and Google Earth and found where St Thomas a Becket church, Fairfield was, and made plans to head out there, park a way off and walk there in the morning.

Sunday dawned grey and cloudy, but undaunted we set out along the coast road through Hythe, Romney and Dymchurch before heading into the marsh. We parked inbetween other cars; owned by fishermen who were trying their luck in the drainage ditches. We pulled on our layers of clothes, tightened our belts and set off down a wndy country lane.

The Romney Marsh is a flat area west of Folkestone, and a little piece of Norfolk in Kent. It is criss-crossed by drainage ditches, and full of wildlife. Most land is given over to farm animals. We passed the occasional farm, and a few isolated houses. Coming out of a small wood we saw the church, sitting on an island made by drainage ditches. It looked tiny under the huge skies, and as we got closer I took pictures.

Fairfield Church

A few centries ago, there was a town here, but after an Elizabethan storm the nearby river changed course, and the town seemed to have died and ther eis now no trace. Apart from the church. It is quite famous, at least for being so isolated and photogenic. Turned out there was a service going on, so we kept quiet outide, and just relished the quiet and the uniqueness of the church.

Fairfield Church

Near to where we parked the car was a country pub; The Woolpack was built in 1410; yes, 1410, and it looks it. It has tiny doors, low ceilings and is hopelessly small, but enough room for a few tables. From the wooden beams hops were tied up, slowly drying. At the other end of the bar from our table was an open fire; in the chimney brest there was a bench each side, and four people cupped pints of winter ale whilst they kept warm. There was no music, just a few editions of the quality Sunday papers, but that was enough.We ordered steak, ale and stilton pie; and waited for it to come. I drank from a pint of porter; a rich dark nutty real ale. The food was simple, but wonderful, and just perfect for a winters afternoon. Outside the snow began to fall, and we made plans to head home.

The Woolpack Inn, Brookland, Romney Marsh

The journey back was through as near as a blizzard it gets over here; it made the trip back even prettier. Once back we put the coffee put back on, and plunged into a cup of Creme Brulee to go along with the white chocolate cheesecake I stopped off at Waitrose to buy.