Day 9 - Karen's Canterbury Tales

Saturday, April 04, 2009
What a great sleep! The best I've had since arriving in England. The spare room at Chez AsteRed is so charming, painted a light green with white trim and a cozy little bed nestled under a window overlooking the back garden area. After a week on the too-soft, sloping B&B bed, I slept like a log. I know this because the door which had been propped open to allow Cat in and out was closed when I awoke in the morning. Unfortunately for my hosts, I snore even when I wear a Breathe Right strip. My gracious hosts claimed that the noise wasn't too bad. Considering I've managed to wake myself up from snoring too loudly in the past, I somehow doubt this. We had a lovely light breakfast of toasted mini baguettes (mine with honey and butter, yummy!) and delicious milky coffee. And though I'm not normally a coffee drinker, I had a cup and enjoyed every drop each day I was in their home. Mmmm, goood stuff. I miss my morning coffee now. The Admiral's version just doesn't compare. After a quick brush of the teeth, we were off on another exciting adventure!

The plan for today, Friday, was Canterbury to see the Cathedral. The drive there from the AsteRed's hometown took us through some absolutely beautiful bits of the English countryside. Sigh. I want to move there. Now. When we arrived, we were once again confronted by mobs of French school children. They're everywhere. Are they following us? Perhaps. It's getting creepy. Admission to the Cathedral is only £7 (I would expected a bit more) and your ticket is good for a year so if you want to head back again within the next 12 months...your next visit is free!!!! Since I'm likely not going to make it back within the next year, I left my ticket with my hosts for the next time they have a houseguest. The Cathedral is simply amazing. Brilliant architecture, breathtaking stained glass, the murder site of Thomas Beckett... Its difficult to find the words to describe what I saw when the oldest buildings I'm used to seeing are maybe 200 years old.

We wandered through the various parts of the Cathedral proper, down into the crypt and all the little side chapels. At one point we became seperated but *Asterisk saw my bright red coat and started following me. A few minutes later he realized...nope, not the Captain. Seems that the style and colour of my coat were quite popular with a number of tourists we encountered this weekend! Eventually we found each other and headed out through a back door to the cloisters. The close up views of the outside which you get from the cloisters and the grounds behind the Cathedral, give you a real appreciation of the outside and the work that went into it's construction. As we made our way along, just outside the chapter house, we met Laptop, an orange and white tabby who looked like a stray. He was wandering the corridor, meowing like a mad-cat, and looking for attention. After a few scratches behind the ears and allowing him to rub up against our legs we began to walk away. Laptop followed. When it became apparent, we weren't going to give him anything, he sat outside one of the closed doors and stared at it. At that moment, one of the Cathedral employees walked past and explained that Laptop is the Cathedral cat. And apparently quite the mooch; he'd already finished his dinner but was looking for more! Relieved to know that he was wanted and cared for, we moved on. It makes me smile now to think of all the people he encounters throughout the year and how many others have cute memories of this little furball ( for canterbury cat on Flickr!). A couple of quick highlights for me were the mini-shields on the ceilings of the cloisters, the Hales Memorial, and the windows. Oh the windows...

The town of Canterbury is also quite lovely despite the mobs of French school children. As we navigated our way through backalleys and sidestreets, we came across the Roman Museum. At only £3 each, it seemed like an absolute bargain. While the content was interesting, the hands-on display at the end had been taken over by a school group and the displays were outdated and simplistic; it seemed as though the museum were designed with a younger audience in mind but interesting in it's own way. The rains started up again, then stopped a few minutes later. Started again and then stopped once more. Seemed like a perfect time to head out of Canterbury. We pointed the car in the direction of the sea and started driving.

Destination: Whitstable. Those of you who read my regular blog know that I've been dying to visit Whitstable since I first mentioned my vacation. Its been far too long since I visited the sea shore so despite a full day already, I was excited to hit the beach! After a drive through a number of adorable English villages and more countryside (sigh), plus droves of sheep (with a few lambs), we made it. Whitstable is my new home away from home. If I win the lottery, I will buy myself a house here. Without question. I loved it. We strolled along a paved walkway between the beach itself and the rows of vacation beach huts in every colour of the rainbow (and some that you'd never find in nature). It was too nippy to dip my toes in the water and the wind was stronger (and chillier) here than in town but perfect for a walk. Just about everyone we encountered along the way was walking a dog. It took everything I could muster not to run up to each of them and start playing catch. The perfect end to a great day. Lots of sunshine and fresh air, we were pretty worn out by the time we made it back home. Ok, truthfully I think I was the only one worn out...they seemed to have plenty of energy!

*Asterisk cooked again - this time a yummy caribbean inspired chicken/bean/rice combo with an absolutely fabulicious sauce. Let's leave it at that and just say I'm a really fussy eater - how fussy, I hadn't realized until I arrived. Tonight's meal though inspired quite the debate on Facebook regarding breasts vs. thighs. I'm never going to live this down... ;-) However, *Asterisk still hasn't adequately explained this fascination the English have with tea towels (the decorative kind, not regular towels) so perhaps we'll just call it even?


Red said...

I love that there are so many pictures of Laptop on Flickr! I especially like the one titled: I've seen better. Hahaha!

* (asterisk) said...

I'd agree about the Roman Museum, even though it was an interesting find. At least it was cheap!

Chicken = chicken, whether thighs of breasts, imho. But you know that now

* (asterisk) said...

*or* breasts, that is.

Wandering Coyote said...

I've always wanted to get to Cantebury but have never really seen any of the Eastern UK. The cat is gorgeous!

S.M. Elliott said...

Gooorgeous. The closest I've come to the cathedral is assembling a 3-D puzzle of it.

Adrian Beaumont said...

I regret to announce that Laptop, our cathedral cat, was suddenly taken ill yesterday (11th September 2013) and died later in the day. He was buried in his favourite spot in the gardens at the cathedral today (12th September). He had attended the service of Matins as usual on his last day. He was very old.

* (asterisk) said...

Oh, that's very sad news, Adrian. I was hoping Laptop might still be around for our next visit to the cathedral. I was talking about him with a friend with a connection to the cathedral only last week, funnily enough. Thanks for letting us know via Karen's blog.

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