Sunday, 1 August 2010

Maidstone, Kent

Bishop's Palace, Maidstone, Kent

Castle from the river - where Henry VIII used to meet Anne Boleyn
The brand new Travelodge where we stayed - very comfortable!

We've had a couple of days away - Thursday we left home about 5am headed for Maidstone in Kent.  We arrived around 11am and found our Travelodge in the centre of town alongside the river Medway - very picturesque.  A few minutes walk away from Fabric Warehouse and Hobbycraft.  We couldn't check in until 3pm so we set off out of Maidstone to find somewhere for lunch.  it was pretty countryside and we came upon The Bell Hotel in Staplehurst and decided to dine there.  It was a good meal and we'd definitely call there again if we were passing.  Then back towards Maidstone, checked in and had a freshen up.  We walked along the riverside and took the river cruise from Bishop's Palace to Allington Lock and back, just an hour.  We walked up into the city centre and picked up a picnic type tea from M and S then back down the riverside to eat - the weather was beautiful and the river was livening up with lots of very posh boats arriving.  Apparently it was the River Festival coming up at the weekend and we were wishing we could have stayed on.
Up early Friday morning and moved on to Ashford in Kent where I had a volunteer speaker training day booked with the Macular Disease Society.  Paul went off "sightseeing" around Ashford and got stuck into the training day.  It was really interesting meeting other people who are living with macular disease, hearing how they are coping and the ways they are adapting their lives.  In between the information sessions there was a lovely buffet lunch after which we each had to deliver our pre-prepared 5 minute talk.  I'm not usually bothered about speaking in front of other people but found this quite nerve wracking as each person's efforts were discussed and the audience fed back upon content, clarity, posture, positiveness of content and I can't remember what else, straight after your talk.  I was really busy trying to remember what those who went before me had been pulled up on and trying not to do the same myself.  I got away quite lightly, with the main comment being that what I said had taken a little more than 5 minutes, and it was supposed to fit exactly.  Now we all await a phone call from the person in charge of volunteer speakers, who will feed back further on our efforts and then tell us whether or not we have been accepted.  So fingers crossed for the next two weeks!  It was a really interesting day and I'm pleased I went.  One lady lived in Brighton so I offered her a lift home as that was our next destination - she gladly accepted instead of catching the train back.  The Garmin took us on a very pretty 2 hour drive home and we delivered Sylvia safely back before arriving at our son Tim's house.
Tim has been packing his belongings as he is moving house this year - we are taking him and his worldly goods home for a sort out and then taking him back to Brighton in a couple of weeks to move into his new place.

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