Suffolk was our first stop, staying with Dan’s parents in the wonderful countryside and enjoying the most amazing English sunshine! We spent the first weekend celebrating Dan’s 38th birthday, we enjoyed an awesome lunch at 'The Dennington Queen' on the actual day and for the weekend Dan's brother Jared and his wife Keely visited for a BBQ which was great for the kids to catch up and play with their cousin Jack again.
There is always plenty to do here, mow the lawn, chop the wood, paint the shed and of course, our favourite chore, harvest the wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables for our dinner! The kids loved digging up ‘treasure’ and became quite partial to french beans and new potatoes, Sophia especially loved the figs, picking and eating them straight from the tree.
It was an awesome experience and so incredible for the kids to see first hand how real farming is conducted and how much effort goes into breeding and looking after the animals that our food originates from.
Wait........ 5 bodies, 4 heads?
In the museum we learnt about London through the ages. The roman invasion, medieval times, the great fire (as seen by the twins in the pic below), london at war and modern day London were all on the learning list, not to mention the roman ruins of a turret and wall, giving the street the name of 'London Wall'.
Canterbury is a beautiful city, the Cathedral is quite stunning and the old charm of the whole town has been upheld very nicely, lots of old buildings, winding alleys, old pubs and local family run restaurants. We did the classic tourist trip of punting up and down the river stour, a 40 minute trip with commentary from a young knowledgable local guy who was super cool and informative.
From Kent there are plenty of National Trust properties to see, so we started to really make the most of our membership. At last count I think we are up to 8 different places already, with more planned! One of the best places we have seen by far is Bodiam Castle, which is in nearby Sussex.
We were almost there before we run into modern day trouble, the local police had closed the road leading to the castle as a car accident had blocked the road. We were instructed to wait for 20 minutes whilst the emergency services dealt with the crash scene ahead in the long winding country road, rather than get lost in the detour. Samuel sensed an opportunity, eager to stretch our legs we jumped out and were soon invited into the police car to play with the lights and loud speaker system. The policeman were super cool and eager to show us the car, gadgets and learn about our travels.
Outside the castle grounds a mock medieval village was set up where tradesmen were hard at work. The armourer is only one of 4 in Europe who remains true to the workmanship of that time, he was more than happy to answer our hundreds of questions and demonstrate to us how he was making a helmet, which would probably take him 10-12 days to complete. The insights were amazing and he showed us some past items he had made too, one outstanding helmet had been intricately hand twisted and polished in the traditional way, the polishing alone took days!
Hhhhmmm there is a Julian Clareyesque joke in there somewhere....
We walked into the nearby Knole House estate, yep, National trust. The kids climbed trees, ran races and chased dear all over the place.
They are are humans dear.
Humans dear? Hhhhhmmm nosey lot aren't they!
Our first day was spent with our new found friends the Clarkes and Pearces, they arranged a meet up via the Facebook group 'Families on the move' that we belong to, the Clarkes had just returned from their adventure and kindly invited us over to their wonderful home. Between the 3 families there were 10 kids all of various ages with only 2 boys. Everyone had a great time, the kids hit it off immediately and it was great to hear about the travels and adventures these guys had experienced over the last few years as they travelled all over the world criss crossing paths along the way. Of course we agreed to stay in touch and check in on each others itineraries from time to time to see if we could meet up again somewhere else soon. They were also kind enough to smuggle in a cake for another early birthday celebration for Kaitlyn!
In the words of Gordon Ramsey......Birthday..........Done.
Regardless, the National Trust membership needed another beating, so off to Rudyard Kipling's house we did venture...
Quite the man Mr Kipling (not the cake guy, even though I'm married to a Bakewell), In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, making him the first English-language writer to ever receive the prize, and to this day he remains the youngest ever recipient.
Bravo old chap, bravo indeed!
The house is great to wander through, its so easy to glimpse into the past and imagine him sat at his desk, writing his great poems and stories, undoubtedly the most famous being 'The Jungle Book', of which there is an original copy on show.
There is also a very insightful exhibition to the Kipling's ordeal during WW1, in which their oldest son John Kipling fought and died at just 18 years of age. The story is depicted by the film named "My Boy Jack" starring Daniel Radcliffe and is certainly worth watching.
The beautiful gardens are scattered with games such as Croquet, Chequers and Jenga and Rudyard's favourite restored '534' boat is still afloat and fully operational on the pond that he had designed with the money he received from winning the Nobel prize, a firm favourite for the kids to board, and circumnavigate the pond!
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. Since its inception in 1901, Churchill is the only British Prime Minister to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honuorary citizen of the United States.
"We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender..."