Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A trip to Kent

Sunday of the 29th August saw our whole family (including Dang and Deng's family) travelling to the county of Kent. It is more than a year now from the time I have my major operation. I just want to have a sort of thanksgiving for all the blessings that came mine and my family's way. I requested that a mass intention be said for my thanksgiving at the Carmelite Priory called The Friars in Aylesford, Kent. The mass was a bit early for us (10AM) considering we were at a concert the night before. But we were on time with lots to spare.

The grounds of the Priory is very pretty and looks peaceful. As you can see in the picture on the left there is a pond teeming with swans and ducks and weeping willows at the edge. We found out that the place is a pilgrimage place since the 13th century. No wonder there were rows and rows of outdoor seats in a sort of ampitheatre fashion.

We attended the mass in one of the chapels. The choir was quite good and with the added bonus that there were 3 additional Carmelite priests visiting from Belgium celebrating mass with the local priest. We were looking around the chapel after the mass and found this strange pyramid structure in one of the alcoves (see picture above right). I wonder what that is? After the mass, we ate our packed brunch from the back of the van. We then proceeded to ...

Leeds Castle

A very pretty moated little castle in a beautiful setting. It was one of the residences of Henry VIII - you know the one with 6 wives. But it was only in the early 1920s that it was restored to its present state when it was acquired by Lady Baillie whose fortune apparently came from her American grandfather.

Is indeed very lovely but I think the price of £12.50 per adult seems a bit steep considering Windsor castle only charges £12.00. And it is by all accounts much more historic and bigger and with more things to see than Leeds castle. Well at least they put in an aviary, a nice restaurant, lovely landscaped gardens, a maze, and kids sandpit and playground (probably to make up for the high ticket price).
I wonder why they called it "Leeds" when it is hundreds of miles from the city of Leeds itself.

As you can see in the picture above left, they've got lots of different birds roaming around - that one is a peacock. On the pix above right, KC and J3 tried talking to a baby swan (or was it a goose?) they thought it was talking back when I told them the hissing means it was getting annoyed with them pesky kids.

We got amused with the exotic birds in the aviary. I especially like the toucans. They looked too good to be true. They in fact looked something out of a cartoon page with bright orange bill, vivid blue eyes, jet black feathers, white throat. Then the kids went thru the maze. I was hoping they would get lost there for hours to give me some peace of mind. But no, within 10 minutes they were back! It's a good thing they got busy with the sandpit playground. It says on the gate "Playground is for children 5 years and below only". All of them got in but only J3 is below 5 yrs., the eldest among them J1 is already 13 ! Nakikipag agawan pa kay J3 ng lugar na lalaruan. (And he's still having a row with J3 on who gets what area on the sand.) Susme!

On the way home in the evening we stopped by and had dinner at Tai Tung restaurant in Purley Way, Croydon. We had our usual egg fried rice, steamed sea bass, beef mami, mixed meat fried noodles, stirfried choisum, prawn fooyung and roast duck. Yum yum !


iskolar111 said...

We visited London for two days last year. We may go there again next year since it's only 3 hours by the channel train from Paris. The plan is to stay in Paris and Lourdes for a week and then London or Belgium for 3 days or more.
How far is Kent from London?

celia kusinera said...

Hi Iskolar,

Aylesford, Kent is about 2 hours' drive from central London. Are you more interested in pilgrimage places or castles? If you like castles, the Tower of London is right in the centre of it. While Windsor castle is only an hour's drive. As for pilgrimages, besides The Friars there's another one in Walsingham, Norfolk see here: http://www.walsingham.org.uk/
BTW, I left a comment in your 'Day 2' post in your blog.