I left around 11:30 for Kent but I knew I would be early. I could have gone around but I decided to go via the Dart crossing as it was 30 mins faster. Trouble was I forgot to pay until after the 24 hrs and then I couldn’t use my card as it wanted to send me a code to my  Aussie phone number.

I emailed and got a reply which said, phone, so I did. They said I was too late to pay as it was more than 24 hrs and that any payment I made would go towards the next time I crossed. They would be sending a letter and when I got the letter saying I hadn’t paid then I have 14 days to pay. How silly is that! Further complicated as it was a rental. I tried to pay them but it all got too hard so I’ll just pay whatever the rental company charges for admin and try not to look how much it is.

I arrived in Kent a good hour early so I went to get a coffee and check if there were any National Trust places but I couldn’t find one close by. I went to a place where there was a walk but there didn’t seem to be one so I gave up and went to the house.

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Loki at the pub

Hugo, a son was there with his girlfriend, Kate. I met the dog, Loki and the 3 legged cat, Sherbert. She had also lost her tail! Kate was really scared of dogs, even Loki who is very friendly. Had a chat to them and assured them that Aussie wasn’t infested with snakes and spiders. A very friendly young couple who were both studying accounting. They were leaving at 4:30 to get back to London.

After they left I got my stuff in and found my way around the house and kitchen. All very nice and plenty of food!

Their bed is really hard and I couldn’t sleep. I tried another and eventually slept. Same happened the next night. I thought maybe it was too hot so I changed the heating to timed so it went off over night and that seemed to do the trick.

Loki, the dog I was house-sitting with, was very energetic and I took him for a walk in the forest every morning. I should say I walked and he ran, and ran, and ran…… He never seemed to run out of energy. 20170213_loki-forest-off-cranbrook-rd

I went for a drive to Maidstone to get some groceries. I tried to find a large park I could see on the map but not much luck. I found the canal and a lock which was very nice but nowhere to park.

Next day I was up around 8 and messed around for a while. Took the dog for a long walk and he got really wet and muddy so had to give him a good rub when we got home. Can’t get all the mud off but he seems to get clean somehow.  Lots of dirty paw marks on the floor though and my boots are filthy. Did a bit of exploring and went through some bush today. What would I do without maps!

We stopped at Sissinghurst and had a walk around. Just a small village but quite pretty as are all the villages around here.

Usual walk in the forest the next day, I do try and use different tracks. This time I just followed the main route which took me from one gate to another. Not on opposites sides though as the road was almost a circle. Didn’t go through too much mud but I did go through some as I didn’t want to go back the same way.

Went to Biddenden after our walk but I didn’t stop as it was very small and not too much to see. Still had the dog in the car too. Decided I would go to Sissinghurst Castle Garden.

Took the dog for yet more walking and found out he was frightened of little people (toddlers). Maybe he thought it was a cat as the cat definitely rules the roost at home. A little girl, who could just walk, wanted to talk to him but he cowered away from her. Did a couple of walks to see what they were like and it was a change from the forest walk I have done for 4 days straight.

I like variety but walking in the forest means that Loki can run..  and run…  and run!

Came home and had a cuppa a a read and then remembered I had to get some veggy “meat” for FP so headed out again to get some. Limited choice at the local supermarket but I know FP likes Linda McCartney stuff and there were some sausages.

Home again and a shower. Fed both animals. Loki goes straight for food after his big walk. I walk at least 10,000 steps with him each day.

On Friday TP came and I took Loki to meet her. I have never known a dog poo so much. He made a mess in the middle of the gravel drive at home and as I was walking him around waiting for TP’s train he did another.  Grr. Had to find something to clean it up with.

Loki was very pleased to see TP when we met her off the train at Headcorn.

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Headcorn

It’s as though he knew which person was coming to see us. We went to the forest and took him for a walk and got back in time for lunch. Very healthy lunch of salad.

TP had to work in the afternoon so I prepared dinner, roast lamb and veggies.

FP headed down after work and we all went to pick him up from the station, including Loki. He was excited to see FP too. We all had a stroll around Headcorn before picking up some softdrink for FP and heading home for a wine and dinner.

Saturday morning and bacon and egg breakfast for TP and myself, raw porridge oats and milk for FP. Strange boy.

We went for a walk taken from TP’s walk book but it seemed to go across ploughed fields. It was around the Pluckley area, not far from where I was house sitting.

Loki is not much fun on a lead  although I did let him off in the fields. We went by a house and I didn’t put him back on the lead and he went into the garden following smells and wouldn’t come when called. TP suggested we just walk and he would follow which was probably true but the man was in his garden and I would have felt even worse if Loki hadn’t followed. It was very embarrassing.

Fortunately, no harm done and we continued. We went passed a couple more houses. These houses were in a field. A bit like the place I stayed. Just a piece of land cut out of a field with a house on it.

We looked through the fence and saw a row of Indian Runners (ducks) standing in line waiting to have a drink.

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Indian Runners, queueing

They were queuing very politely, it looked so funny. Their owner came to chat and said they had a whole bath full of water if they wanted it! He also told us where the foot paths and bridle paths were so we went on the road and tried again.

We found a path going through some orchards so we followed that and went to the “most haunted pub” where we had booked for lunch. It was the Black Horse. There were heaps of apples on the ground under the trees.

TP and I shared a huge piece of beef and ale pie but it was tasty. We would have been hard pressed to eat it all on our own.

The manager was very friendly after we asked why it was so quiet. We had tried to book elsewhere but it  was full until about 3pm. She told us about the ghosts in the place, swearing that she had seen two with her own eyes and experienced another who had knocked some glasses of a table on his way to the loo. Apparently he drinks in the pub often.

Loki was really good, just sat or stood with his head on my knee or looking around. He was no trouble at all.

Having had enough walking we went back to the car which we had parked at the railway station. TP has walks that start and end at stations as they usually don’t have a car.

Sausages for dinner that night, ones I had brought from Spalding the week before. Veggie ones for FP.

Sunday morning we we decided to take Loki into the woods again so that he could leap about and run free without me constantly telling him to heel. The owners were due back around 3 so we planned to give Loki a good run, tidy the place up and then head off.

When we got back I used the downstairs toilet and all I could hear was a cat “yelling” come out! Come out! She was sitting outside the door or the toilet. FP came down the stairs and saw her there looking at the door and “yelling”. It was really funny, she had great character.

After we had washed and dried the sheets and remade the beds etc we packed the car and went to find some lunch at Cranbrook, a nearby town.

We skipped the first pub as there were a couple smoking om the step outside and it didn’t look crash hot. The second one seemed OK though and we went in for the Sunday roast lunch, a favourite of TP’s.

We tried to get into the Three Chimney’s which is very old and very popular consequently we didn’t go there.

Unfortunately, we chose badly. TP and I  had belly pork and it was I would say 75% fat which neither of us eat. We were a bit disappointed but the roast veg and yorkshire pud were ok.

We look around Sissington Castle Gardens, This time I went inside as I didn’t have Loki although not much was open. Very interesting buildings there though. They also had some pigs, Saddlebacks

I think, which TP liked.

We took FP to catch his train at Ashford and then went to check in at our hotel. SO disappointed. The idea was to have dinner and a few drinks with my girl for her pre birthday and then go upstairs to bed.

Even though it was a pub, when we sat at the bar with a wine menu and a food menu , the girl at the bar said that she should tell us that food finished at 6 and it was already 6. TP asked what time the bar closed and that was 7. I picked the place as it looked really cute and old and the food etc looked good.

Expressed our disappointment and then had to leave and go somewhere else for dinner. It also said it was in Ashford and in actual fact it was in a village outside Ashford so we had to drive to find somewhere to eat.

We went to Wye and had to cross a railway line to enter the village. Why do I mention this you may ask but it was actually gates that a PERSON had to open and close. It’s a long time since I’ve seen that.

Dinner was good although they wouldn’t let us share as they were so busy.

Went back and turned the TV on but we both went to sleep so didn’t see much

 

 

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