Monday, June 30, 2014

Wingham Wildlife Park

Ruth and I went to visit the Wingham Wildlife Park last week. I always have mixed feelings about seeing the animals in wildlife parks, on the one hand I really enjoy seeing them but on the hand I wish they were not in captivity. There were also a lot of birds like the ducks with their ducklings that were just free to come and go.

Here in the Wingham Wildlife Park the enclosures were all pretty good. They are investing in upgrading all the facilities for people and animals since they took over the site.
Website here

I liked the fact that their two lions were rescued from a French circus and that they are involved in other conservation projects.

There is a little bit of everthing in the park including animals like lions, tigers and meerkats, owls and birds of prey a tropical house, otter enclosure, penguins pool and peacocks wandering the site along with exotic chickens.

I found quite a few feathers on the paths walking around, lovely huge goose feathers I think, an owl feather and some from the tropical birds and others I can't identify.

The peacocks seemed to enjoy showing off their beautiful feathers when not chasing the chickens from potential food.

You could buy food for the meerkats, which we did and you can look over their enclosure and drop the food in. I liked that you could get quite close to some of the animals with warnings of course about putting fingers near them.

They have various experience days including one where you can help feed the tigers or be in with the lemurs and photography sessions too.

Monkton Open Gardens

The village of Monkton holds an annual Open Gardens each year. I really love the idea of opening your gardens to the public and several organisations promote them, including the National Gardens Scheme link here  Monkton has some lovely old buildings and a lot of their gardens were looking  beautiful even if they were not part of the Open Gardens.

It was a bit too hot on that day for me, but a brilliant blue sky and bright colours.  I liked the fact that these were ordinary gardens, so not immaculate, but still lovely.  The owners were all keen to talk about their gardens and plant varieties, something I'd have a problem with, as I forget all my plant names. It is good to see where particular plants thrive in the gardens, what conditions work best for them.

Most of the gardens had plant sales so we had a boot full on the way home, resisting giant cacti and focusing on perennials. It seems a fitting activity to take away a bit of the gardens you like for your own garden.

The Village Hall sold refreshments and the popular home made cakes to take away and they were doing a good trade with all the visitors. We were all walking along the village holding the guide maps in our hands.

I have managed to nearly fill my garden this year so can only buy limited plants now, but I enjoy seeing all the variety and remembering where I bought them from.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sandwich Le Weekend

Ruth and I went over to Sandwich for their Le Weekend event.    The small station is one of those places where the platforms and surroundings have flower beds and the ticket office has books to read, just lovely.  Walking up what I think would have been the ramparts I was struck by the amount of yew trees and a lovely sense of ancient place.

 Sandwich is a picturesque town and apparently is one of the best preserved medieval  towns in England. The centre is a maze of streets with lovely buildings everywhere you look.  Sandwich was also a main Cinque Port until the river Stour silted up. Boats are still moored along the river though. Sandwich website here

It's a bit confusing though at first finding your way around, but as the town is quite small you can walk around easily. We went into St Peters Church for a brocante just as a thunder storm opened up.

Fortunately the sun came out not too long after and the stall holders were able to fix their stalls.
Down by the river Stour were vintage cars and bikes, a medieval camp and food tents.

The Barbican anf Tollbridge are well preserved buildings  and people had to pay tolls to cross the bridge till 1977.  The toll charges are still listed inside the Barbican. It's a bit of a competition with cars around there and single file along the bridge. The streets are pretty narrow of course but there is a square in front of the ancient Guildhall, where on this weekend there was a French Market, the best place for baguettes and croissant.


Monday, June 02, 2014

Margate Meltdown, The Motorbikes come to town.

The annual Margate meltdown went ahead on the last bank holiday Monday in May. The Ace Cafe in London, organizes the bikers coming down for their seaside trip. Ace Cafe website here   The event also raises money for the Royal British Legion Riders Branch. RBLR website here

Ace Cafe's facebook page has some photos from the event here

There are hundreds of motor bikes parked around the old town and sea front, stalls and music. The weather was fine apart from a tiny shower which still had the effect of covering the bikes in raindrops.

I was photographing the bikes, the people and Margate engaging with the event.

There's something about the edginess of some of the bikers, their alternative society that is interesting to me.

 Bikers are often given a bad name but there is a large group of bikers against child abuse in America for instance, where their intimidating looks work well to protect children.  Link to the story here