Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sea defences at Deal


Yesterday I went for a walk...


...following the footpath that runs alongside the golf course.  In fact it really looks lovely these days even if the golfers probably don't appreciate the new water hazards.  They don't appreciate walkers either.

We really have been very lucky in this area not to have had more trouble over this winter.  We did have a huge tidal surge in December but the defences in Deal coped relatively well.  They didn't in Sandwich and the lovely Salutation Gardens have had to close after the floods.

 They started our new sea wall way back in 2012.  They did complete it but the beach washed away.  There was too much sand in the shingle.  I told you so.  So they came back in September 2013 to do better.  The job was supposed to be finished before Christmas 2013so seeing the big machines working yesterday made me wonder if they just hadn't finished or if the beach was once more washed away.


This was the first time I saw the dredger actually pumping the sand/shingle mixture towards the beach.



Then it's sieved by the shuddery-juddery sieving machines much to the delight of the nearby residents.



Everyone was so pleased to see better weather for half-term, they were perfectly happy to ignore the machines to play and paddle on the beach.



Sunday, 25 August 2013

Breaking the silence


Yes, I did manage to leave the splendours of Canada, and I did take large numbers of photos but I have been silent because life has become ... let's say "full" ... ever since I returned.

A day or two after I returned, work started on my bathroom.  Why I thought I would have recovered from jetlag within a day or two I really don't know.  I never believed anybody's stories of only being able to snatch 30 minutes or so of sleep on an 8 hour flight.  I do now.  Oh, and my son plus family arrived for a visit.

Before the bathroom work was finished, scaffolders were swarming around the outside of the house, preparing for the outside maintenance needed every few years here by the seaside.  I appear to be the only resident of these flats who has the required talents (sight, hearing, and an almost functioning brain) to direct proceedings so I struggle on pretending I understand what is happening.

At some point while the woodwork was being repaired, my sister arrived from Canada to stay until such time as she finds a house of her own.  Her family comes to visit from time to time and I'm running out of beds and sheets.  My second son is threatening me with a visit over the next few weeks and the first may return for a rematch.

All is not bad though. I have had a couple of days out - Dover Castle, London - and a good few walks.  There's nothing like the countryside to bring balm to the soul.

It has been a wonderful year for butterflies

Chalkhill blue
And, I think, a good harvest.  We haven't had much at all of the rain that others have had though I thought there was a downpour last night.  This field doesn't seem to have suffered.  I can't believe that there is a planning application in to build on this land.  It's an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) but is that enough?






Then down the cliff (going down is easy enough) to find people enjoying the end of summer sunshine, dodging the waves.


And swimming to France?


So, I'm sorry I haven't kept in touch with anyone.  It has been all I can do to keep treading water, not waving but not drowning either.
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Monday, 3 June 2013

Wrecks on the Goodwin Sands


I've mentioned before about the wrecks on the Goodwins but I was then referring to the wrecks of all sorts of ships.  Relatively recently they found the wreck of a Dornier 17 bomber which came down during the Battle of Britain in 1940, and for the last month or so divers have been attempting to salvage it.

The idea was to surround the plane with a cradle to raise it gently from the sands on which it was resting but the project has been plagued with difficulties.  The currents on the Goodwins are strong so the divers can work only at full tide or low tide when the currents are at their least.  They estimated four week's work but didn't reckon on bad weather interrupting play.  The sea crane seen above keeps disappearing for a day or two at a time when the weather is just too bad.

Added to that, they have found that the plane isn't resting entirely in sand but at least some of it is resting on the chalk bedrock.  That has meant that the cradle can't easily be inserted under the wreck because they are having to drill through the rock.

So, they are very behind schedule and are abandoning the idea of a cradle to lift what's left of the plane.  They are now going to attach cables directly to the plane.  They were working most of today but this afternoon I noticed the crane has disappeared yet again.  It's very windy here.

Read all about it.

I'm going to disappear myself for a few weeks while I visit family in Canada.  If I discover how to upload photos directly from a phone, I will do that, but if not there will be a three week silence.  Not that that's anything especially unusual. 
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Monday, 27 May 2013

The sun has got his hat on

On Saturday the sun shone and the crowds came out.

I could see traffic jams and elderly buses from the back window.



And people doing cartwheels along the front.



So I had to follow and find out what was happening.


Cars were happening.  All sorts of cars:


Police cars


And Porsches


And bubble cars


And mail vans

And we had celebrities:



And plenty to eat.



A good time was had by all.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Under an upside down boat

In the centre of Bourges in France you can find the building known as Palais Jacques Coeur which was built in the mid 15th century as a "grand maison", just a larger than normal residence. The word "palais" or palace started to be used in about 1820 when the royal courts of justice moved in. Unfortunately Jacques Coeur never saw the building completed, and it passed from owner to owner until 1923 when the state bought it. By then it was in a sorry state and massive restoration had to be carried out.



I've seen the palace from the outside more than once but early last summer we decided to see the inside. I remember the day well.  We arrived too early and had to wait for the doors to open, but it was exceptionally hot and trying to find a shady spot to wait wasn't easy.

Many of the ceilings inside are magnificent but these two at least are reminiscent of upturned hulls of boats.  I don't know if it was by accident or design but Jacques Coeur made his fortune from trading and commerce and owned twelve ships.  There are references to his ships in a number of places so I like to think the ceilings reflect his dependence on ships too.



This second picture shows the attics which would once have been an area for storage and for servants' rooms.  The ceiling is apparently unique in that it's made entirely of rafters. 

A two-in-one post for the Photo Hunts. 


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Monday, 29 April 2013

A whole month

Riverside path in spring


I don't believe I have a proper excuse.  I had to go back to France to see to the house and that was a problem, a hurdle that seemed to grow larger with each day that passed.  In the event, it wasn't as distressing as I expected, I think because the house has happy memories going back all the 10 years since we first looked at the ruin it then was and decided it was our dream home.

French inheritance laws are a nightmare so I set off with every certificate I have ever owned up to and including the cat's vaccination certificates.  I'm not sure why those came too, because he didn't accompany me on this trip, but you just never know. However it all became unnecessary when we discovered that the notaire (lawyer) who drew up the original purchase documents decided, I assume, he's help me out by giving ownership to our sons.  How he managed to do this without feeling the need to let us know, I'm not at all sure.

So there I am, over there to put the house up for sale and it turns out I have no house to sell.  This has required a massive rethink. 

The indecision hasn't been helped by the beautiful warm sunny spring weather we had over there.  The garden and river looked especially good.

Garden in springtime, blossom, tulips, aubretia


Can I really leave all that behind?

Though driving through Paris on the way home could have changed all those thoughts.  First the traffic jams (of a continuous nature):

Traffic jam in Paris





and then the startling sight of a shanty town on the city's outskirts.

Shanty town Paris

They don't advertise the "bidonvilles" in the tourist guides.  Seeing this make me count my blessings.


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