Kent countryside walk 21/10/18

Needing to keep ourselves in good shape for the planned trips, we opt today for a ramble in the lovely Kent countryside around the pretty little villages of Ringlestone and Harrietsham. Well that’s one reason, though the main one really is the continued terrific weather.

England’s autumn continues to hold back and the unseasonably warm weather goes on; today is wall to wall sunshine, gorgeous blue skies and temperatures at 20 degrees, all in late October. There is real warmth in the sun, the leaves are still predominantly green as autumn colours delay, the buzz of insects fills the air almost like a summer’s day. The corner of one field has stray rapeseed plants and cornflowers, both implausibly in full bloom as they enjoy what we presume is a second flowering season. The cornflowers are alive with bees, busy pollenating, all so unusual for the time of year.

The walk is therefore lovely, it’s dry underfoot and the clear day presents wonderful views across Kent’s rolling countryside. On a day as lovely as today we need to see the sea too, so we take a quick beer at The Ship on Herne Bay seafront before we return home. A great walk; a beer by the sea; home for a venison dinner. Our kind of day.

And there’s more…

So this autumn Sunday sees some more flights booked, some more adventures in the diary, excitement building as our travel dreams continue. The diary looks like this now…

November – a weekend in Geneva

December – 3 weeks in Mexico, including Christmas Day in Puerto Escondido and New Year’s Eve in Oaxaca city.

February – a weekend in Budapest

April – 10 days in Jordan

June – 10 days in Puglia, including the other worldly city of Matera.

Not quite living the dream yet, but we’re moving closer….

Climate change?

On a trip to a Kent vineyard last year, we learnt that one of the effects of global warming is that the warmer climate is creeping Northwards at a rate of several kilometres per year, one of the effects of which is that the South East of England now has precisely the climate of the Champagne region of the 1960s. No wonder English wines have a burgeoning reputation! Tenterden is the new Rheims; Chapel Down is the new Moët. This year’s wet spring and hot dry summer has reportedly yielded a grape harvest beyond the English growers’ dreams.

And after this oh so unusual long hot English summer, autumn is dragging its feet with its arrival and unseasonably warm weather continues. Last night, in mid October for goodness sake, we took an outside table at our favourite Turkish restaurant (A La Turka, Herne Bay), and sat in shirt sleeves on the seafront all evening. Unheard of, but we’ll take it.

What to bring home

We doubt anyone could fail to spot that our house is the home of people who love to travel, the clues are pretty obvious. It also means we are constantly surrounded by reminders of wonderful places, fabulous trips. The stuff we bring to our home kind of falls into the following categories:-

House things. Walls and shelves have plenty: a lizard from Lipari, ironwork from the Baltics; elephants from Sri Lanka; a blowpipe; Massai warriors; Moroccan lamps; Turkish light fittings; blankets, throws, tapestries on walls; Greek pottery; there’s quite a lot.

Charm bracelet. Michaela buys gold. Small charms, almost always the classic symbol of where we’ve been, to attach to the bracelet (there’s two now), creating a great set of travel mementos.

Christmas tree. Our tree is a bit offbeat, given that we seek out cheap and quirky equivalents of the gold charms. This may be a similar symbol, something relevant to the destination, a symbol of the country or city, small and lightweight enough to hang from the branches of our Christmas tree, which to a large degree now has precious little to do with Christmas.

Music. With Shazam’s help, we bring home music from locations; but this is music we don’t previously know, either traditional (India, North Africa), or something we heard in bars (Zanzibar, Paris). Doesn’t half enhance the playlists..

Food. Of course! Readers of the blog will know we love discovering and enjoying local cuisine wherever we go, the more esoteric the better. Write down the name, Google the recipe, re-create the dish at home. This is one of life’s true pleasures.

And one way or another, life, and our home, fills with memories and reminders of wonderful places and experiences.

Love planning

So while we’re walking along the coast path, our conversation keeps returning to planning our next trips. If you love travel, you know the excitement that planning brings, in a sense, it’s where the next journey starts. That’s an understatement, it’s where the excitement begins, it’s where everything starts. It’s where the love kicks in. It’s inspiration. It’s real. It’s where your heart starts racing again.

We have Geneva in the book; we have an awesome 3-week Mexico trip at Christmas. And so the conversation turns to 2019; we have Budapest booked, but after that… how about Jordan in April, how about Puglia in June, and then…..who knows??

Padstow continued

Photo bombed by a seagull

Joy & Charlie head off home after breakfast at The Old Custom House to leave us for a quick mooch around the harbour before the rain stops and we decide to take another walk along the cliff path. So it’s across the fields to Trevone, a quick hot chocolate at the beach cafe, then all the way back to Padstow along the coast path, up around Stepper Point and along the estuary shore into the harbour.

It’s more grey and it’s cooler than yesterday but the rain doesn’t return and the walk is magnificent; the Atlantic once more moody as it crashes against the foot of the cliffs with that distinctive roar. One last pint of Tribute at The Shipwrights, a late lunch (or is it early dinner now?), and it’s time to leave this favourite spot once again and head home ourselves.

We left at 3am a few days ago; we arrive home 2.15am now, so we guess we’ve lost a night’s sleep somewhere in there! We’ve walked over 27 miles of coast path, drunk in 9 great pubs, and had a wonderful few days, as we always do in this fabulous corner of England. Guess we weren’t born to sit still.

This is Cornwall


We really don’t know if it gets better than this. Beautiful clear blue sky and some late season warm sunshine, the crowds of summer long gone, the North Cornwall coast in all its wonderful glory. We’re here with Phil’s sister Joy and her husband Charlie, we all share a love of this place which will stay with us for as long as we live, it’s wonderful. So after doing real justice to Tribute ale last night, we take a longer walk today, leaving the car at Harlyn and then taking the bus to Porthcothan, then walking back to Harlyn along the coast path, through Treyarnon, Booby’s Bay, Constantine Bay, Trevose Head and eventually Harlyn.

Mother Ivey’s Bay

The sun is warm, the Atlantic cobalt blue but calm by its own standards, the waters clear and the day as still as can be. We breathe clean clear air, the warm sun on our faces as seabirds and falcons circle above our heads, this wonderful place embracing us and reminding us just why we love it. It doesn’t matter how far we travel or what we might see, this stretch of coastline will always remain one of our favourite spots. And today we are presented with it in all its outstanding splendour.

The pub tour continues with the Harlyn Inn and the Farmers Arms at St Merryn as the debate over tonight’s destinations starts…