Leaving Winchester behind us on Wednesday morning we settled onto the UK’s biggest Car park, the M25, to be fair it wasn’t too bad just so very boring.
Woolly says – There was nothing to look at except cars and as Ian wouldn’t let me out to have pictures taken for my I Spy book I contented myself with snoozing away the journey to Bishops Stortford and thinking that we only have another 4 more sleeps until I turn into a French Mammoth!!! We arrived at the Hop Pole (formerly the John Houblon) where we had spent our first ever night in Georgie, it was great to be back and to spend the afternoon and evening catching up with Carys and Les (Jo’s Aunt and Uncle) and Maxie my four legged friend. A lovely dinner was enjoyed by all in the pub (I did think it was a bit mean that they took Maxie and not me with them but I did have fun jumping round Georgie and playing chase with Spot and Hodge). Back to the M25 and we winged our way to the Kent countryside, every corner seemed to sport an Oust House and the pretty
villages we passed through containing houses in half or full clad white, very picturesque indeed. While I was enjoying the scenery Jo and Ian were looking for signs for Bodiam Castle – another one for my I Spy book – these seemed to be in short supply and we actually saw the castle before we found any signs, journeying down small country lanes is hard enough when you know where you’re going but when you don’t it can be extremely frustrating, especially for Ian who was finding the Kent drivers incredibly rude with no thanks from the majority for cramming Georgie into the nearest hedgerow to give them room to pass. It was absolutely worth it, as we parked up on the National Trust car park (plenty of space for us and cars) we feasted our eyes on the prettiest of castles, I immediately wanted to get on a horse in my armour and gallop into the fairytale castle in front of me.
With Woolly bouncing around and shouting neigh we made our way round the moat to the entrance, showing our NT cards we entered the gate house ……
Woolly says – it
was MEGA and so well preserved, the entire outside walls are all intact and it was easy to make out what each part of the castle would have been as the preservation continued inside. Built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dallingridge and restored by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, it passed to the National trust in 1926. Watching a fifteen minute film on the history of the castle was very interesting although it didn’t explain whether the castle was built into a lake or if the moat was dug out for the castle, please let me know if anyone has any further knowledge on this. Walking through the chapel with its large arched window we were able to see in detail where our fore fathers would have gone, through into the Lords and ladies apartments with fire places looking ready to be used and up into one of the towers, the climb up the tower was quite steep but well worth Jo going on her hands and knees to see the view not to mention finding one of several medieval toilets!!!! I have been having a most interesting conversation with my bestest friend Sion the sheep on latrines and I’m
proud to say that I now know that they didn’t use toilet paper but leaves and bird nests (Hmmmm could be a bit spikey!!!!), they also used to store their clothes in the toilets, poohy, I’m definitely not doing that. Passing through the archways of the Great Hall into the kitchens with their immense fireplaces we found the castle well, with the water still lapping the top it was easy to imagine the kitchen staff collecting the water for cooking and lugging their buckets up the steps. Through the servant’s quarters and into what would have been the stable area we kept spotting more and more fascinating things to check out. I loved Bodiam Castle and as we left the car park I kept glancing back wishing I could stay, Ian said that I could if I wanted to and that they would collect me on their return but as he wouldn’t tell me when they might return I turned this offer down, with regret.
Leaving our fairytale castle behind us we drove the further eleven miles to our pitch for the night at Hastings touring Park, and were mightily cheered to watch the tuggers parked next
to us fight with their awning, unload mountains of equipment form their store and put it into the caravan, try and lay down some flooring in the said awning while we sat with mugs of tea and hot cross buns in Georgie’s warm interior, life is good.
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