September ramblings

Autumn berries

The month started with a writing research trip to see the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital in Westbrook, on the edge of Margate, the focus of part of the sixth book that I’m writing. A fascinating building, now turned into flats, but once home to a sea bathing cure for the consumptive poor of London. The hospital was open for part of the year only, as the cure involved sleeping outside and spending as much time as possible in the open air – as well as sea bathing, long before the days when this was a tourist activity.

A few days later, my middle son got married in London, with the ceremony at Islington Town Hall, followed by a prosecco-fuelled Routemaster ride through London to the venue, canal-side in Hackney Wick in an area surrounded by street art (with some inside, too). An amazing day in an amazing place – still waiting to see the ‘official’ photos but there were plenty of smartphone snaps to keep us going until then.

Back home, I gave a whistle stop tour of the surrounding area to visitors from London and the US, culminating in dinner at The Pig in Bridge Place, just outside Canterbury. What a fabulous venue – the interior of the hotel is just amazing. Dating back to the 1600s, it has been through a few different incarnations, the recent restoration costing several million pounds. I could imagine settling into one of the cosy sitting rooms and being inspired to write a few thousand words… It’s winning plenty of plaudits and I just wish I’d taken more photos of the interior – the veg garden is apparently stunning, too, but it was dark when I was there! It’s in a beautiful pastoral setting – (photos courtesy of Tom and Alina Levy).

It was a little difficult to get back to normal after all the excitement, but the weather decided it was time for its last hurrah, and the Deal Braderie, blessed with a hot sunny Sunday, drew the crowds. A street or two away, the sea sparkled peacefully under blue skies.

Deal braderie day

The garden put on its final show of roses and salvias in perfect September light, even as the apples were being picked in the orchards and the berries were mutiplying against the brightest of blue skies (top).

The Canterbury Food Fair took place over the last weekend of the month, on a Saturday of lovely sunshine and a Sunday of rainier skies, but the uncertain weather didn’t deter the crowds. There was plenty to feast on – Korean, Italian, Greek, Venezuelan, Spanish, Argentinian (I may have made that last one up…) but whatever you thought you might like to eat (or drink) – it was there!

Canterbury Food Fair