It is two years ago that I first visited Caffe Vista in the Summer of 2014. I made a spontaneous visit and discovered this great place in Tenby which drew me back this year. I was lucky on all occasions to get a seat on their small balcony. There is plenty of seating inside which is really nice and a variety of food which I have not yet sampled. I enjoyed a strawberry, raspberry and mango smoothie followed by a hot chocolate on my first visit of the day while I sat reflecting on the beauty of Tenby and thinking about life. I then returned for a strawberry, banana and yoghurt smoothie to take another break from ambling along by the beach and through the narrow streets. A lot has happened healthwise during the past two years and I felt blessed to be able to return. Next door to the cafe I noticed that there are some holiday apartments which enjoy the same views – what a wonderful place to stay!
I’m excited to be back on WordPress after spending yesterday helping my friend Artist Julie Bradshaw with her own blog (more on that in another post). It’s given me the incentive to get back on here, I’ve really missed it. There’s been a lot going on in my life keeping me busy, mainly getting back to university after my debilitating illness throughout 2015, trying to catch up on what I have missed and keeping up with working on my modules so that I can complete my second year and progress to my final year. But … one of the most exciting, heartwarming and life changing things has been having the new addition to our family, Jasmine our chocolate labrador puppy.
It had been a possible intention to do a separate blog, or create a YouTube channel, for my puppy and tell her story from when she was born throughout her early days and beyond. But the reality is that when Jasmine arrived home, I can only liken it to having a new baby with all the routines and care of looking after a new life. Jasmine is a joy to look after but much as I wanted to take lots of beautiful photos, most important is to enjoy and be with her and the camera sort of goes out the window a lot of the time (and has luckily escaped the clutches of Jasmine’s teeth!). I have taken quite a few photos but they are not the ‘perfect’ puppy photos I had imagined – but then Jasmine to me is perfect in every photo because it is her. So at various points I will share some of the earlier photos and I’m sure she will appear in future posts as we enjoy the summer together.
So for now, here are a few photos of our trip the other day to the seaside on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. It was a glorious if slightly chilly day and there were surprisingly few people about. I do enjoy finding these gems of places that are not so far away from my home and I wonder why I don’t visit more often. I love the seaside and Jasmine really enjoyed her visit, despite having her nose to the ground most of the time. But perhaps that’s a sure sign of happiness for a dog!
This photo was taken from my hotel room in Brighton when I escaped with my daughter for a couple of days before returning home for my last cycle of chemo treatment which I am having today. I have very mixed emotions and hoping that I don’t end up back in hospital.
My post today was prompted by the realisation that people were still reading my blog and if I left it much longer I might never return. I realise how much I have missed the blogging world but I have taken time out to get out and about as much as possible before I am restricted again. I have also been experimenting with other social media, Twitter in particular, but there is no comparison. I find Twitter fascinating but there is not the same sense of community that I feel might be gained from being part of the blogging world. I would be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this. There’s a lot of social media options out there and for me they each serve different purposes and it’s finding a way to use them without social media taking over your life.
I’m just going to leave it there today. I’ve still been taking photos which I will catch up on and blog about. My Apple desktop is a scattered mess of photos which will no doubt give me inspiration. I’m keeping calm and relaxed and there is just something about the photo I have chosen for this blog that takes me to a different place.
I had a few hours to spare so went for a drive in the Kent countryside with nowhere particular in mind. I was on a busy dual carriageway and waiting for something to lure me away. A sign for Hucking Estate showed a place for walks and picnics, so I flicked my indicator and headed off into the narrow lanes and tree tunnels. A nightmare I usually avoid, dreading coming face to face with a vehicle that will be obstinate and refuse to back away. I hate reversing especially if someone is edging towards me impatiently. But thankfully that was in my mind, it didn’t actually happen. I stopped by the roadside to take photos which on their own do not do justice in conveying the splendorous views that surrounded me amidst peace on that cool sunny autumn day.
I noticed a sign at a vague crossroads to an Art Studio. Intrigued, as I love discovering unexpected places, I followed the sign until I came to a dilemma. A choice of a no through road or turn off to the right. Well, I thought, it is perhaps most likely along the no through road and at least I will come to an end, whereas the other road could take me who knows how far. Mere seconds along the no through road and I was regretting my choice. There were no passing points, nowhere to go if another vehicle appeared, especially if it was a tractor, and no way I could reverse unless I could manage a straight (or curving) line. Recalling a theme within a book I am reading*, I tried to convince myself that it was less boring to follow this road and that I must let my fear ride alongside and ignore it. I eventually arrived at a farm where there were lots of tractors and the people living there came out to see me. It was good to meet a friendly face and I was reassured that there were no tractors due to arrive and if another vehicle did appear, it was possible to somehow squeeze past. I was kindly given directions to the Art Studio which was but a few minutes away.
And so I came to arrive at This Art of Mine Arts & Craft Studio. I was welcomed by a friendly dog from the neighbouring house and discovered that the Studio was in fact closed but there was someone there. I was welcomed in and had a guided tour, discovering a wonderful place that offered workshops (which included decorating pottery and jewellery making) and also an area dedicated to open access to just turn up and pay as you paint pottery. It was really spacious and light, with plenty of examples of work that had already been done.
When I left, I decided to carry on and head back to the main road. In doing so, I ended up arriving at one of my favourite restaurants, The Black Horse Inn at Thurnham that I had not visited in a long while.
I wasn’t hungry when I arrived so had a lemonade and sat outside on the terrace in the sunshine. Enticed by the daily special menu, I lengthened my stay and enjoyed a tasty three course lunch ending with a luscious Creme Brûlée.
I was full and sat relaxing, reading my book in the cosy historic atmosphere of the Inn.
The Black Horse Inn is licensed for Marriages and Civil Ceremonies. It is a beautiful place with a special landscaped area for ceremonies. There is also accommodation that can be booked. Ideal for wedding guests or if you are having a special celebration and want to be able to have a drink and not worry about driving home, or if you are visiting the area and want somewhere different to stay.
I am including the following photo as it shows more of the immense outdoor areas available. The sun was so bright that the angle I took it has affected it but in black and white it does provide you with a picture of what it is like – perhaps it adds a hint of romance.
The Black Horse Inn is a very friendly and welcoming public house and restaurant (with accommodation) and I thoroughly recommend a visit if you find yourself in the area of Maidstone in Kent, England. Their website can be found here.
I never ended up on the Hucking Estate but information on this Woodland Trust area, and other areas within the Kent Downs – AnArea of Outstanding Natural Beauty – can be found here www.kentdowns.org.uk.
This Art of Mine Art & Craft Studio – information can be found here.
The book I am reading is Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear, written by Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat Pray Love. Here is a link to The The Guardian Q & A with the author.
The other day I was at Chatham Maritime with time to spare and decided to take a few photos. The people who live at the top of the blocks of apartments must have an amazing view. There is much going on in the area to appeal to different interests and it is continually growing. There is a large university campus with three universities, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Dickensworld, cinema and numerous restaurants.
Walking around the grounds of The Friars, I came across the Peace Garden and nearly didn’t go in … a long strip of walled garden and rain was threatening. So glad that I did, it felt really special. The flowers and plants were beautiful and I loved the mosaic artwork.
The Friars is a great place to visit and just have a quiet wander around the grounds and some of the chapels are open to visitors. There is a pottery, tearoom and restaurant to have lunch, as well as a conference centre set attractively within the grounds.
Today I decided to go for a drive and see where I ended up. I have driven through Aylesford many times and never taken the time to stop and walk around. It was well worth it.
Just got back home after another spell in hospital. I realise I have missed the blogging world which is out of reach where I stay as there is such a bad mobile connection and no Wi Fi. I thought about writing blog posts while I was in hospital but for me it isn’t the same. I like to be spontaneous. To write and post the same day if I can. There may be some snippets of writing that I can share but I tend to look back later at any writing I do in hospital rather than revisit it straightaway.
Anyway, the week before I was admitted to hospital following my third cycle of chemotherapy, I had taken a gentle walk in a couple of different places. So some of those photos will be appearing here. They are not brilliant photos, a bit blurry in places, but for me they represent days spent enjoying just being in nature on beautiful sunny – yet cloudy – days.
Living in a mainly urban area, I sometimes forget how easy it is to escape in less than 20 minutes and find tranquility, something I should do more often. It was wonderful sitting by the lake reading my book and I hope to return to do some writing soon. It gave me a chance to try out the panorama facility on my phone and I quite liked the black and white filter effect for the last photo shown here.