31 December 2019

Happy New Year

Here's wishing you dear reader a Happy and Healthy 2020
x Polly x

23 December 2019

Merry Christmas

Seasons Greetings dear reader.
I hope Santa brings you something nice 

Maybe a lovely red train

A cute reindeer and sleigh

Santa on a scooter

A Pink Gnome

Or a magical unicorn

This is most appropriate for me!!

However you're spending Christmas, I hope it will be full of love, fun and happiness.

✨ Be warm and well 
Polly x

21 December 2019

My Great Mince Pie Survey

Oh my word, another year on, time for my mince pie survey.
It's where I get to eat lots of mince pies and let you dear reader
know what I think of them.

Filled with vine fruits, spices and a splash of ruby port, all encased in shortcrust pastry.
Nice pastry holds well, not crumbly. Good tasty filling. 8/10

All butter with a rich mincemeat filling containing
apricot, glacé cherries, almonds and brandy. Nice firm pastry and tasty filling. 8/10

Waitrose mini mince pie selection. 3 Amaretto frangipane pies, 3 orange and juniper pies and 3 caramelised hazelnut topped baklava pies. These are delicious, especially the orange and juniper ones, they leave a lovely lingering taste in the mouth. 9/10 

Tesco all butter with Courvoisier. Delicious.
Firm pastry and a lovely tasty filling 9/10

Co-op all butter pastry with brandy and port.
The pastry is a bit crumbly, the filling is nice and I could definitely taste the alcohol! 8/10

Greggs sweet crumbly mince pies. Delicious pastry and tasty filling but no alcohol! 7/10 

Tesco festive pastry tarts. 2 iced topped, 2 brandy buttercream and 2 pecan and maple. 
When Rufus did his diary a week or so ago he mentioned that I was eating lots of mince pies, he hastened to add "lots of different brands not the whole box full! family eat them as well".
But let me tell you dear reader, family won't get anywhere near these beauties!
They are delicious 10/10

However my daughter informs me that the best mince pie she has ever tasted is Starbucks.
I haven't had time to go into town to try one, so I will just have to take her word for it :-)

 Be warm and well  
Polly x

18 December 2019

Christmas or Xmas

Do you say Christmas or Xmas? My mother hated the abbreviation to Xmas and so do I. My mother's reason for doing so was a deeply religious one but I think my dislike of it was conditioning from her.

The word “Christmas” originated in the 14th century from the Old English word “Cristes maesse” or “Christ’s mass”, written to form one word. It was derived from the Greek word “Christos” (Christ) and the Latin word “missa” (mass).

The word “Xmas,” comes from the letter “X” being the Greek letter “chi,” the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ,” and “maesse” from the Old English word for “mass.” It has been in use for hundreds of years written as “Xpes maesse.” evolving into “Xmas” during the middle of the 18th century. Many Christians consider the use of Xmas blasphemous because it removes “Christ” from the word.

Xmas is more associated with the commercialisation of the holiday, with businesses and advertisers using it because it is more compact, brief, and concise. 

Whichever one you use I hope your festive season is happy.

Best Wishes

15 December 2019

Rochester Museum & Cathedral

We sort of stumbled on the great little Guildhall Museum whilst walking around the town.
A brilliant mock up of prison hulks. Prison hulks were decommissioned ships that authorities used as floating prisons. They were not the same as convict ships which were seaworthy vessels transporting felons from their place of conviction to their place of banishment. 

Cavalier soldiers

The castle

Mock ship's cabin.
I was doing ok steering the ship until coming in to dock, then I crashed into the harbour wall!

Beautiful Guildhall

It was thought this ceremonial robe was lost but someone found it in a box in an attic!
It was laid out to celebrate the first (and last) time it was worn, which I think was about 50 years ago. 

I was a bit confused by this. The card read "This is a model of Queen Victoria having one of her many portraits painted" but I couldn't see anything that looked like Queen Victoria. There was much more to see in this lovely museum but I didn't take anymore photos because we were running out of time.

Next stop the Cathedral
It's huge with lots of different areas, but it's quite austere

The old Corn Exchange and Clock

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Rochester

Be warm and well ~ 
Polly x

12 December 2019

Rochester Castle

Situated on the River Medway and Watling Street Rochester castle served as a strategically important royal castle. It was founded in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest almost certainly by William the Conqueror after his conquest of 1066, to protect the crossing point of the river Medway. 

Part of the river crossing
View over the river Medway
After William's death ownership passed to his son William Rufus. He had a hard time defending the castle from violent conflict with his rebellious uncle, Bishop Odo of Bayeux. After gaining temporary control of the castle Odo surrendered his garrison and was banished abroad.William Rufus decided to strengthen the castle and commissioned Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester to rebuild the walls in stone. At the time Gundulf was already building Rochester's new cathedral. The collaboration between Crown and Church continued and in 1127 Henry I entrusted custody of the castle in perpetuity to the Archbishops of Canterbury with the condition that a fortification was to be built within the castle walls. The then archbishop, William de Corbeil, constructed a tower – the present keep. Chronicled at the time as ‘noble’ and ‘outstanding’, it is thought to have been the tallest building of its type in Europe.

The collaboration between Crown and Church became an uneasy one and eventually conflict arose between Henry II and Thomas Becket. But the most serious conflict arose during the reign of King John and escalated into one of the most famous castle sieges in English history. In the summer 1215, Rebel Baron held the castle in order to protect London (in rebels hands) from the King. On 25 November King John urgently requested 40 pigs and burnt their fat so as to bring down the corner turret and large parts of the east and south walls on either side. Henry III later repaired the curtain walls. Norman round arches were copied and mouldings were plainer. The new South-east turret was circular while the tower in the same corner was round in an attempt to avoid vulnerable corners that could be undermined, and to follow contemporary fashion. In 1239 the king ordered that the chapel be whitewashed and in 1244 an additional chapel was built next to the king’s new chambers.

Keep Entrance as it was
Further sieges followed, building materials from the decaying castle were stolen and in 1281 Henry’s son Edward ordered the hall and chambers be pulled down and to reuse their materials elsewhere. As the 14th century progressed, the castle steadily declined and was used for the custody of prisoners. By 1369, the only buildings reported left standing were the keep, the “first and second gates”, and a hall, kitchen and stable. In the summer of 1381 the castle was attacked and taken for the last time in the Peasant’s Revolt against King Richard II.

Plan of how the castle used to look
Almost nothing is known of the castle in the 15th century. In 1559 and 1600 Elisabeth I licensed the removal of stones and brick from the castle walls for a new artillery fort at Upnor. By the mid-1660s the keep had lost its roof and floors. During the 18th and the 19th centuries Rochester Castle continued to decay.

In 1884 the Corporation of Rochester opened the castle grounds as a park and a tourist attraction, which led to the destruction of some historic features such as the main gatehouse and the remains of Richard II’s 1370's tower. From 1896 to 1904 several buildings in the castle were repaired such as the keep, the mural galleries, wall tops, battlement and corner turrets. The basement was excavated to the present level.
 I think the castle was on 4 or 5 levels, it must have been quite impressive

The Great Hall poster

The Great Hall today

The cesspit cleaner had to be one of the worst jobs ever!

We did a walk around the town and found the cathedral and museum, up next.

Be warm and well ~ 
Polly x

8 December 2019

Rufus' Diary

Polly, Buster and I don't like this weather, even when it's not raining it's still wet, and when we run across the fields we get mucky which means ..........we get hosed down when we get home.
Legs and feet aren't too bad, but the under carriage, oh dear, the indignity, it's not nice,
although Polly is very careful!

Poor little Buster isn't running anywhere at the moment, he has been limping for a while.
The vet thinks it's a shoulder injury and prescribed some anti inflammatory medicine. 
There is some improvement. He got so anxious going into the surgery a second time, almost
having to be dragged in, the vet was reluctant to put him through sedation and x-rays,
so she has said to wait a few weeks, keep him on the lead for walks and hopefully
it's tissue damage and will heal in time.
Probably, like humans it will take a bit longer as we get older, he is 9 now.

 These little bud things that grow on something in the garden get stuck to Busty when he has a bad tummy and goes rummaging around eating grass. Last week his head and neck were covered in
them, Polly had to brush him to get them out and some had to be cut out.
She has identified the plant and cut most of it away now.

This tree fell down a couple of months ago. It remained intact so we thought the
root system was still ok and it would just be left, but then one morning it was gone.

Probably collected with these that were being cut down for sale. The fire is burning debris.

There are always lots of interesting smells around the badger sett and I like to have a look down it.
I hope they are warm and cosy down there.

Polly has been out and about. I'm sure she will tell you about it soon.
She had 4 Christmas meals last week, and has 2 more next week!!
All with various clubs she belongs to.
She is also eating lots of mince pies for her great mince pie survey which she will be posting soon.
When I say lots I mean lots of different brands not the whole box full! family eat them as well.

Polly wasn't very happy with this photo, it's slightly blurred, but then she
thought the blurred look went quite well with the misty autumn morning look.

~Keep warm and well ~
Rufus 🐾
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