2012 is the bicentinary of the birth of Charles Dickens. He was an English Novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. His own story is one of rags to riches which provided the vivid characters and exhaustive depiction of contemporary life so evident in his books. Watch the animated story of his life here (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/drama/bleakhouse/animation NULL.shtml)
Charles Dickens had many associations with Kent, as did his characters, including his death on 7 June 1870 at Gad’s Hill Place, Higham, Kent. (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/drama/bleakhouse/animation NULL.shtml)
The photograph to the left is of St Thomas a Beckett Fairfield Church on the Romney Marsh in Kent which was used in the recent BBC televised adaptation of Great Expectations. Reputedly, as the film crew were setting up machines to reproduce the infamous marsh fog nature had the last laugh and rolled in on cue!
Kent Wildlife Trust was founded in 1958 and is the leading conservation organisation charity covering the whole of Kent and is dedicated to protecting wildlife and their habitats. One of the local areas being The Blean.
Lying between the cathedral city of Canterbury and the towns of Faversham, Whitstable and Herne Bay, The Blean is one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in England – over 11 square miles.
The woods have been shaped by local people for over a thousand years. Today, our woodsmen and conservation teams continue to manage this unique landscape, rich in wildlife, that we enjoy today.
Why not take a visit to the New Wildart Trail in Thornden Woods?
The first pieces of artwork have been installed on the Wildart Trail, an art and sensory all-access trail in Thornden Wood, between Canterbury and Herne Bay. Two wooden posts carved with images of wildlife found in the woods, drawn by children from Herne Junior School, can now be found on the trail, scul and more images have been routed onto coppiced tree stumps.
The trail will use natural, local materials to create sustainable, non-invasive artwork which will blend into the surroundings. The use of sustainable materials is essential on a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and means that the artwork can evolve and change through the years; as pieces begin to decay, new artwork can be created and installed.
There is parking available on Thornden Wood Road, with space for blue badge holders and people with young children to park on the same side of the road as the all-access path.
For more information, please contact Kent Wildlife Trust’s Blean Project Office on 01227 719506. (Photo by Kathryn Barton)
Canterbury is to play an exciting role in the build up to the London 2012 Olympics (http://www NULL.london2012 NULL.com/). It was announced last month that the city has been included on the route that the Olympic Flame will take on its 70-day journey around the UK.
The Flame will be in the district on the afternoon of Thursday 19 July 2012, just eight days before the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
Torchbearers will carry it through local communities including where Iffin Lane/Hollow Lane (the Roman road Stone Street) joins Wincheap prior to a photo shoot in the Cathedral Precincts.
Seven local sports stars are hopeful of success including our window cleaner’s daughter, in the rhythmic gymnastics – Go for it Keziah (http://www NULL.activecanterbury NULL.org/olympic-and-paralympic-hopefuls/keziah-gore/)!
Saturnalia is the Roman version of Christmas. Visit the Canterbury Roman Museum between 17 December 2011 and 2 January 2012 and discover how sacrifices, presents, games and a big banquet formed the basis of the popular Roman festival. Take part in fun, hankds-on activites, try on colourful costumes and make a pileus or freedman’s hat!
Where else to start the season than the Advent Carol Service at Canterbury Cathedral (http://www NULL.canterbury-cathedral NULL.org/), a world heritage centre, the Mother Church of the Anglican Community and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Following comes the arrival of St Nicholas to Canterbury, culminating in a small parochial service around the life size crib. The image on the left is a stain glass window depicting St Nicholas at St Nicholas Church (http://www NULL.barfreston NULL.org NULL.uk/) Barfreston, near Dover.
Onward then to the Carol Services on the 23rd and 24th December – an increasing exceitment in the air for congregation and choristers alike, until
Christmas Morning when the bells peel for services from 8am through to Evensong at 3.15pm.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Ps Dont miss the Pantomime at the Marlowe Theatre (http://www NULL.marlowetheatre NULL.com/page/3009/Pantomime)
Dear Sarah & David
I captured this view from your breakfast room. Happy memories All good wishes
Shiny Happy People (http://www NULL.redbubble NULL.com/people/angel1/art/7546501-lavender-view)
I always feel there is something beautiful, but poignant about the heavily laden golden ears of corn waving in the gentle breeze, fields outlined starkly against the azure skies.
Summer is coming to an end, the daylight hours are noticeably shorter and the rich green leaves of the summer trees and shrubs have given way to hints of yellow and orange.
The few remaining apple trees in our paddocks, once soldiers in acres of orchards, are now heavy with ripening fruit soon to be picked. The Blackberries, abundant in the wild areas of the garden, already are being bagged up and frozen for winter pies.
The swallows nesting in the barn are gathering in the evenings in preparation for their long journey ahead.
What a wonderful place we live in and share with our guests!
The snowdrops and crocus have been and gone, daffodils are a glow of yellow, the magnolia is about to open it buds and the wonderful aubrieta looks fantastic as it cascades over the wall in the garden here at Iffin Farmhouse.
Although the aubrieta produces delicate simple small four petalled purple flowers, in an abundance they look stunning. Not only are they beautiful the flowers have lots of nectar for bees!
This morning we found: Lady birds (5-spot ladybird Coccinella quinquepunctata) – Lady birds help by eating Aphids, Black fly and Green fly; Honey Bees and; the Garden Bumble bee (marked by the distinct double band of yellow at his thorax) and the red tailed (distinguished by the red hindquarters – they often make nests under stones or slabs).
Bees pollinate crops and flowers and are an essential part of the food chain – no bees no food! Albert Einstein reportedly said the human race would last just four years in a world without bees. Bees are in danger of dying out. In the winter of 2008, one in three hives were lost. Did you know there are 27 species of Bumble Bee in the UK? As well as the Honey Bee and Bumble Bee who are social creatures there is also the Solitary Bee (who live in pairs!)in narrow holes in walls and in decaying wood.
All three types make honey by mixing nectar from flowers with enzymes and then evaporating much of the moisture by fanning the mixture with their wings.
They use the honey to feed their offspring and to fuel their wing muscles – a honeybee flaps its wings about 230 times a second and would get about seven million miles out of a gallon of honey!
Gardeners can deploy a range of bee-friendly plants to keep the bees in nectar and pollen throughout the year. You would think nothing of giving a bunch of flowers to a valued friend so why not say it with flowers to a bee!
Life as a dog at Iffin Farmhouse is great – fantastic family, full English breakfast (left overs – not so keen on the tomatoes!), loads of 4-legged friends come to visit (anything from a Dachshound to a Great Dane – but that’s another Blog) and plenty of local walks. All I have to do is just be myself.
Sadly, Grannie has recently been diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease (http://www NULL.lewybody NULL.co NULL.uk/index NULL.php) so sometimes I take on a caring role (quietly sitting beside Grannie looking at her with compassion and understanding with my big brown eyes and always being available to have my tummy rubbed). The disease is a sort of cross between dementia and parkinsons so Grannie is rather forgetful and we only fill her teacup half full otherwise there is sometimes fallout!
I always travel up to St Martin’s hospital with Grannie in the car on Thursdays – what fantastic folk they are up there – brilliant (they even spend time chatting to Mum as she needs support too) I spend a lot of my time listening and just being there.
Mum says, we are going to make it our designated charity so look out for any fund raising events or giving boxes. You can of course make a donation directly (http://www NULL.lewybody NULL.co NULL.uk/donations NULL.php#Donations).
Apparently, it is not a very well known disease so “The more people who know, the fewer people who suffer”
Grannie says she’s going to donate her brain for medical research (http://www NULL.ncl NULL.ac NULL.uk/biomedicine/news/newsitem NULL.htm?id=increase-in-brain-donations-needed-in-the-search-for-a-cure-for-dementia) to help in the search for a cure for Dementia (I dont think mine would be of much use as it is rather small!)
On Sunday 17th April, Chris Wilkins will be pounding the streets of London to complete the 26.2 mile Marathon course in aid of The Pilgrims Hospice (http://www NULL.pilgrimshospices NULL.org/), a fantastic cause!
After months of training in what has been a particularly long and cold Winter, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for Chris, with only a matter of weeks left to go until Race Day.
If you would like to sponsor Chris and help support The Pilgrims Hospice please click on the following link Virgin Money Giving (http://uk NULL.virginmoneygiving NULL.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage NULL.action?userUrl=chriswilkins)
PS I’ve just sponsored Chris from some of my monies from guarding the house (it’s a dog’s life)- She’s a great member of the team and the Charity, Pilgrims Hospice a great choice. Crotchet