Sunday, July 26, 2009

G-Travels: Stop 5, Ashford Kent.

Now for stop # 5 it has been to Ashford Kent in the UK, thanks to DavidS

I have to say I am glad that this project is back on and have been able to see places I will not make it too and look forward to many more stops and great photos. Thanks to all that have been a part of this project. David is going to be sending this on to Sjors that has his own G Shock blog and mentioned to me that I should start a blog on the G traveling all over the world. Here is his address. Great G Shock photos and info.

Now for DavidS photos.

I live in Ashford, Kent, in the UK. Ashford grew up around the railway; there were at one point three different companies running trains through the town, each with their own line, station, carriage works etc, and a lot of this land still remains unused.

There are a lot of old railway buildings still standing, like these carriage works:

When these works were built, the railway company also built a model village to accommodate their employees. This is a view across the village green at 'Newtown':

The railway works are to be redeveloped, and a lot of the buildings have already been demolished (but would have been mainly engine sheds like the ones in the previous pictures). There are also a number of other ancillary buildings, like the clock tower at the main entrance to the works:

In the town centre a lot of the older buildings remain:

Although there is the mix of different ages of building found in so many British towns, with the inevitable shops built in the 60's/70's/80's – when town planners seem to have allowed anything, no matter how ugly, to be thrown up.

The church in the distance in the last picture, St Marys, is right in the middle of the town, but very well hidden away-I'd lived here some time before I even knew it existed.

One of the town's less salubrious drinking establishments:

A 'man of Kent' comes from the part of Kent East of the River Medway, a 'Kentish Man' from the part to the West.

Following the first World War, towns which had raised funds for the war effort were rewarded with a tank-Ashford's was driven into place in 1919 (but has since had it's engines and guns removed!), and for some years contained an electricity sub-station.

Another left-over from the war are these anti-tank defences, which would originally have been along the sides of roads or railway tracks. These ones, known as 'dragon's teeth' would have originally been alongside the railway line to Maidstone, and were removed when the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was built.

The River East Stour runs past the end of my road:

Further downstream the river merges with the Upper Great Stour to form the River Stour, which goes on through Canterbury and into the sea near Sandwich. Where the two rivers merge there is a mill:

No longer a working mill, the building is now used as a nightclub. This isn't the only mill in the town; the Willesborough Windmill is less than a mile away. It is open to the public, and a small amount of flour is still produced.

Running through Ashford is a 'green corridor'. This is made up of green spaces and parks, protected by the council from development (no great loss to developers, as it is prone to flooding!). In the largest of the parks stands the Hubert Fountain, originally constructed for the Second Great International Exhibition in 1862, and moved to the town in 1912.

The town centre has undergone a certain amount of redevelopment in recent years; a new shopping centre has been built, an controversially, some of what was the ring-road has been changed into a 'shared space'. The idea is that all barriers between vehicles and pedestrians are removed, as are signs, markings etc., and as a result road users show more consideration for each other. It even made the national press when Jeremy Clarkson put in his (un-suprisingly critical) tuppence worth.

As part of the town centre development, a number of pieces of installation art have been put in. My favourite of these is 'The Bolt', which serves as a mini-roundabout.

On the outskirts of the town stand the Eastwell Towers, originally the gatehouse for Eastwell Place which was a Royal residence for some time. The house has long since been demolished, and a hotel now stands in it's place.

The nearest church to my house:

This was built for the railwaymen; however, the pub directly across the road was finished a year earlier (the church is behind the trees in the background):

The railway is still central to Ashford. The Eurostar stops here, and there are direct services to Lile, Brussels, Calais & Paris. The 15:07 from Paris, leaving for St Pancras:

I decided to decide who to send the watch to next randomly, and threw a couple of die to decide. Then I realised that there were more people on the list than I'd thought, so I used a random number generator to pick. Amazingly both methods picked the same person! So tomorrow I'll be posting the watch to Sjors.

G-Travels: Stop 4, Krakow Poland

The bad news is that the G was kept or lost by the next person on the list. Tribe decided to keep it going and donated his own G shock so it is now traveling again. Thanks Tribe. He took new photos to get this going again, starting in Krakow

So this will be stop #4

Here it is in my Kraków 'man-drawer' - repository of expired batteries, keys that don't fit anything and tiny screwdrivers.

Some views of Kraków. They're not all 'touristy' as I've probably snapped more than enough of those over the last thirteen years. However, I did find myself thinking 'better do a couple of the Market Square for the forum'...

World recession hits candy-floss sales.

Where Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik) went to university.

Market Square. Girl on telephone.

Girls on bikes. There's always another one along in a minute.

Quiet street.


Tramlines, cobbles, girl checking phone.


New Opera House. Girl on phone on balcony.

Priority for trams.

Three views of half of the Market Square (there's another half behind the central Cloth hall).

Souvenirs in the Cloth Hall.

Cathedral on Wawel Hill.

Three pictures from Wawel (but none of the main attraction, I notice...).

The cult of Clarkson reaches everywhere.

In Europe. More places to phone!

I didn't set out to take pictures of girls on the phone - it's just almost impossible to take a street scene without them...

G-Travels: Stop 3, Tenterden Kent

I should have include a link to Watch U Seek in my first post. I have to thank Ernie the owner and the mods there that have helped with this project. This is a link to that site.

Stop #3 Tribe has taken it to Tenterden Kent for some great photos. Thanks Tribe.

I cheated. Well, not really - the watch arrived as I was heading off to my home-town for the weekend. Just as well really - it's a lot prettier than Watford...

So here we are in Tenterden Kent. It's one broad street, basically, with lanes running off either side.

From the doorstep -

Looking back at the house. I was born behind one of the upper windows in this row. These are mid-nineteenth century, making them fairly modern for the High Street -

Up the street -

Typical Wealden houses from the 17th century. Oak frames hung with tiles. The left cottage appears to have a brick ground floor, but it doesn't. More of that later. My father, a carpenter and builder, did a lot of work on the right-hand cottage. They wanted him to put in a new straight door, but he refused. He wouldn't approve of them painting it either -

Probably the oldest house in the street, from the 16th century -

These are from the early 16th century. The neighbours favour different styles of gardening. I wonder who sweeps the communal path? I bet it's 'The Greens' -

The width of the High Street is explained by it once having hosted livestock auctions. I can remember sheep being herded up the street for the May fair, but that belongs to the past now -

Down one of the lanes -

Cross the road to the church. The white building is the Town Hall -

The Woolpack is a 15th century coaching inn. The name recalls the source of the town's early wealth - the sheep of Romney Marsh to the south -

The church. 12th century in parts, but the tower is from the mid 15th century -

Lord Nelson's daughter is buried in one of these graves. She married the vicar -

The tower is enormous considering the few hundred people who lived here when it was built. An ostentatious show of wealth, really -

Next to the church, my first school (from 5-7 years). I was never as close to the church again...

What I think of as 'The Eight Bells'. For 500 years it was a pub, and now it's a bloody Cafe Rouge. I spent many happy hours (or was it decades?) in there -

We have a railway station. Well actually it was closed in the early 1960s, but the line was bought by steam train enthusiasts, and now runs to the rather picturesque Bodiam Castle over the border in Sussex. After the line closed me and my friends found one of those hand-cranked trolleys, and went skimming across the countryside for several weeks - until we were apprehended closing some level-crossing gates -

Now that's what I call a good advert - tells you all you need to know without any fuss -

Carriages, but no locomotive today -

Now the town museum, this was the workshop where my father did his carpentry stuff -

Back down the other side of the street. Most of the houses are wooden-framed -

Even some that look like brick -

On the corners you can see that they are tiles -

The William Caxton. Caxton was the father of British printing and was said to be born in Tenterden. Just over the road are the broken remains of a once-splendid stone archway to one of the manor houses that fringe the town. It fell down in a gale. The millionaire rock-star owner of the estate (Kevin Godley of 10cc) said he couldn't afford to rebuild it...

And now down the road to Ellen Terry's cottage. People of my father's generation remember as boys holding her horse for a penny when she came up into town. Dame Ellen Terry was the greatest Shakespearian actress of her day, and was in many ways the first British superstar. The house was the harbour-masters cottage in the 15th century. The sea is 20 miles away now, but before the silting of the marsh and the river, Tenterden was a port. Henry V's 1,000 ton warship 'Jesus' was built here.

Not much remains of the mighty river. Hey, someone left a watch here!

I love the marsh. Big skies -

A Kentish Oast-House. They were for drying hops. Most, like this one, have now been turned into houses. Our family went hop-picking, but it's all mechanised now -

Time to drive back to my usual home -

Where this is my more usual daily habitat -