Don’t ask what happened but we quickly found another assignment in Kitford Mead

Don’t ask what happened but we quickly found another assignment in Kitford Mead

We are settling in at our second house sitting assignment, Kitford Mead.  Instead of being in Scotland as we had scheduled, we are in Kent, southern England, as the Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, house sit petered out the day we left the US.  Don’t ask what happened, but we quickly found another assignment.

A 16th century country house in Kent

We’ve moved from a red brick house in a suburban community near Reading to a 16th century country house in Kent.  What makes it that? For starters, the kitchen where this is being written has on the interior wall, a boar’s head, three sets of deer antlers, two ancient shotguns, a portrait of Cordelia II, the all England ewe champion, 1837. 

Hanging from the ceiling are a stuffed grouse, copper pots and pans, peppers, baskets, shells.  Ledges display stuffed rabbits and pheasants, ceramic bulls, wooden pigs.  Helen’s school hat and tie hang from antlers. Christian’s first ski boots sit on a beam, along with his father-in-law’s army boots (a POW for seven years). A hay rake and old broom lean against a wall. A final touch is a church hymn board with the numbers of the three hymns sung at the wedding of the owners.

But the house and numerous out buildings are much more. Exposed wall and ceiling beams in most rooms are more than 400 years old; one wall that once was exterior is decorated with comb art and is reputed to be the oldest existing example of this art form in England.

Busby and Poppy

Don’t ask what happened but we quickly found another assignment in Kitford Mead
Busby
Don’t ask what happened but we quickly found another assignment in Kitford Mead
Poppy

The one thing our new place in Cowden, population between 800 and 900, has in common with our previous house is the garden.  Both are spectacular and we enjoy sitting in them and doing some low key maintenance.

And instead of a three-legged dog, we have three dogs — Poppy and Busby are long-haired dachshunds and Mimi is a rare-breed beagle. We’re also in charge of a large flock of white doves. The owner wondered aloud what they did all day and I told her confidently they were out making peace! Horses come and go also, but we fortunately have nothing at all to do with them.

But before we left the Reading area for two days at the seashore on our way here, we had a visit, not unusual for us, to the local accident and emergency room (A&E).

This will not cost you anything.

One of the first things the clerk at the Accident and Emergency ward atRoyal Berkshire Hospital said was, “This will not cost you anything.”  And it didn’t, save for some of the dignity swept away by my flying fall across the threshold in Wokingham our last week, caused by my slipper catching. The nurse practitioner was able to patch up rather large lacerations on leg and wrist quite smartly and sent me away swathed in gauze less than an hour later!

Preparing for the return of our hosts, the Newsons from their month in Thailand found us busily deadheading the garden, harvesting blackberries and vegetables and mowing. Inside, we were glad for the Hoover. A Welcome Home brunch with Nettie’s French Toast, buttermilk syrup  fresh scones and liberal amounts of Prosecco, and then we were off in our new, slightly larger Nissan vehicle that  is an odd shape.

The King’s Hotel may  be a little tattered around the edges

After a few hours on a big carriageway, we were by the sea in Brighton. Along with what seemed like most the people in the rest of the world. Such a joy to join the throngs in vacation mode. The King’s Hotel may  be a little tattered around the edges, but our sea view room couldn’t have been more glorious.

We could see most of the way to Normandy out our three large windows facing the English Channel. As we unpacked, we heard the Brighton City band playing in a Victorian bandshell just down the beach.  A few braved the cool air for a swim as we walked to the pier amusement park.

Brighton version of the Taj Mahal

Monday we strolled on the seafront  to the Brighton version of the Taj Mahal, built by George 1 before he was king. Just down the lane from there, we stopped in at the Friends Meeting House. Another five blocks landed us at The Walrus, an ancient pub where preparations for a wedding later in the afternoon were underway.

Don’t ask what happened but we quickly found another assignment in Kitford Mead
I am the walrus: I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob

Could it have been the couple we passed two blocks away?  The young men in matching Scottish plaid pants holding hands, trailed by two sets of parents in party clothes, the mothers carrying bouquets?

Picnicked at the site of one of the largest Monasteries

On our way to here in Cowden, we stopped in Lewes and picnicked at the site of one of the largest Monasteries in the country before Henry VIII confiscated and destroyed many church properties.  For fans of Hillary Mantel’s books, Henry’s enforcer Thomas Cromwell  later built a large country house on the land.  It has not survived either.

Stand by for upcoming reports on visits to Anne Boleyn’s castle, Standen House & Gardens, the Churchills’ home, Chartwell and various horticulture shows and a Muck Spreading competition.

Don’t ask what happened but we quickly found another assignment in Kitford Mead

Don’t ask what happened but we quickly found another assignment in Kitford Mead