I actually started working on this report a month ago after having met and talked with
Donald Knuth! It was about midway in our stay here in Canterbury (September 17). (Two of the Computer Science professors, Peter and Heather Brown, here at the University of Kent are retiring and Dr. Knuth was an invited speaker at the symposium that the department held in their honor.) Now, we're already moving on to Bristol for a visit at the Computer Science Department at the University of Bristol in less than two days!
One thing I should mention is that only the "here" links are directly to things from us, so you'll know which links are extraneous, albeit interesting. I don't really like web pages that say, "click here", but it seemed the least confusing approach in this case.
We've been really fortunate to have had a lot of sunny weather while we have been here, unusual as this is England! You can find some of Walt's shots of Canterbury here .
Shortly after arriving on campus, the campus store got a shipment of Beanie Babies in, including several Britannia's. I saw them on the way into work and made a list of which were available. I didn't buy any because I thought Henry might have already bought one. (Now if you're into Beanies, you know this is dumb!) I sent him e-mail and after his response a couple of hours later went back to the store to get the six (different) Beanies he wanted. The Britannia's which were selling for 3.99 pounds were GONE!
At that point I started looking around on the web and discovered that Britannia sells for more than $100 (!!!) in the States. The more I looked, the more I kicked myself for not having grabbed one, because as I shopped around, I could not find one here for less than 60 pounds.
Anyway, to make a long story short, a lot of my shopping has focused on Beanies and when I'd just give up on Britannia, Walt was in the right spot at the right time and bought two of them for 3.99 pounds each! I just shipped the Beanies shown above to my bother.
They are really cute, but the stores run a real racket. In order to buy the Beanie you really want, you are often required to buy others, from 1 to as much as 11! Fortunately, Melanie wanted some and bought all the ones shown above from me, but here's my current collection of bears.
Canterbury is very close to water on three sides. In fact, it used to virtually be on the shore with it's river being tidal. It's interesting that the northern coastline of the peninsula that it sits on have eroded away, while the eastern and southern coasts have silted up over the ages.
Sandwich was a Cinque Port one of five (:-)) cities designated crucial to southern England defense in the twelfth century. It now is about 2/3 miles from the coast. But it is still a charming village with lots of half-timbered houses as the one shown above. It's about 20 minutes from Canterbury.
The Romans successfully invaded Britain in the AD43 century and their invasion began near here. After they got a foothold, they built two forts on the opposite ends of the bay that Canterbury was at the back of. One of them was at Reculver, about 7 miles from Canterbury; the other was at Richborough, near Sandwich. (More about Richborough later.) Reculver was on a coast line that eroded away. About half of the fort lies at the bottom of the sea. Not much remains of the fort besides a bit of wall and some foundations except some towers of a church that was built from the stones in its wall and was a critical landmark for sailers. These are shown above.
Two seaside towns, Whitstable and Herne Bay, share the same phone prefix with Canterbury; they are about 7 miles away. We stopped here for fish and chips at the end of the day.
When we drove to Canterbury, our car was SO FULL that not another thing could have been put in it. Since we have bought some things to make the flat here livable (and, of course, there's the Beanies. :-)) we knew it would take two trips to move all our things to Bristol. We decided to take a couple of big suitcases full of stuff there early. Not only was Ann McNamara generous enough to agree to store them for us, but she also threw us a dinner party! (Thanks again, Ann!) Ann is in the front above with Katerina Mania. Also shown are Rhona and Alan Chalmers.
Bristol looks like an interesting place. It has a lot different feel from Canterbury. It's definitely a big city. It should make for a pleasant change of scenery.
One of the things I enjoy are the markets. We'd read that there were markets in Ashford (15 miles SW of Canterbury) on Sundays; there are, but only one Sunday a month, and not the Sunday we chose to go! Oh, well. We've been to Ashford a few times now, but never without having difficulty either getting in or leaving! The church in the center is pictured above.
Since nothing was open in Ashford besides food places and real estate offices, we decided to visit Chilham which we'd driven through with Peter and Maria on our way to Rye. It is a quaint half-timbered village with a castle and a church. We had lunch at the Copper Kettle pub and walked around for a while.
Every time we visit England, Walt is fascinated by the chimneys. He keeps threatening to visit on his own and only photograph them. Here's an example from Chilham.
I noticed on the map that there was supposed to be a long barrow (a neolithic burial mound) nearby and we decided to try to find it. We weren't successful, but later discovered that we'd been very close and did get back another day to see it. It was only 150 feet long as compared to the West Kennet Long Barrow that we visited years ago (340 feet long) and there was less to see as this one is not currently excavated and is simply a mound in the middle of a farmer's field.
Not to be deterred by not finding the long barrow, we decided to look for some other ancient ruins in Parry's Woods near nearby Stelling. Needless to say, we didn't succeed here either, but we did enjoy driving through the countryside!
We celbrated my birthday with the Welch's at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Café des Amis du Mexique (Is this Mexican or is this French? :-)). Peter also brought me a cake which Walt got into before I could take this picture.
The restaurant has a lot of paper machete artwork for sale. A couple are shown above. Notice the copper tubing. This is used as conduit for the electrical wiring and track lighting. Looks a little dangerous, but it really isn't hot.
Deal is a quiet Victorian fishing village and resort town a little south of Sandwich. It is still on the shore!
Walt is pictured here in front of the Time Ball tower which was used to calibrate ship clocks in the nineteenth century. The ball dropped every day at exactly 1 P.M.
Deal also has a small castle, a shore battery built by Henry VIII. There are several other similar similar castles in nearby villages.
From the Wells, we visited Hever Castle where Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII's seven wives was born and raised. The castle contains a lot of memorabilia from Anne Boleyn as well as from the Astor's who owned it much later. It was Astor who put int the current gardens (1905ish). The gardens reminded us a bit of Hearst castle with all of its ancient artwork.
Speaking of ancient artwork! (By the way, Walt is able to get a "concession" on the price of entrance tickets; he's considered a senior here!)
As you may have guessed, this shot is not ours, but it does show a nice overview, including one of the mazes and the guest village built by Astor instead of expanding the castle early this century.
Our final trip in this area was to Rochester (of course) where we visited the Castle and Cathedral and
Walters of Rochester! :-) Afterwards, we visited the Chatham Boatyard where many of Britains warships were built in the time of Nelson's admiralty, mid-eighteenth century. We then went onto Bluewater, the "largest Mall in Europe". It is pretty big - 320 stores - and is built at the bottom of an old quarry. Can't help but wonder about flooding potential!
Nan Schaller's and Walt Bankes' Sabbatical Page