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Published: September 8th 2019
FAVERSHAM HOP FESTIVAL
In full swing....a fabulous weekend!
Left Paris early Thursday morning....trains to Charles de Gaulle...taxi too expensive like 80 Euro....ridiculous! So on packed peak hour trains....3 large suitcases....no aircon on trains.....nearly expired arrived to check in an hour later! Flight was very short 45 minutes. Bus from terminal to hire car company...that took another hour....take a number system...they must go through hundreds of cars each day it was packed! Finally on the road had a good run down the M25 to Faversham...booked into the Railway Hotel right in town for the festival...didn't realise how involved the Railway Hotel was in the festival...their carpark became a music stage all weekend...SO NO PARKING here.....not a huge town so parked our car around near El and Deans for the few days there. El and Dean invited us for dinner Thursday night which was lovely...we had a great dinner and catch up but because we had to take the car around and not walk we missed the walk WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GO ON....on the way home Dean said go down this street blah blah and off we go to find WANTED POSTERS ALL along the route and found another the next day we had missed....the funniest thing happened on our
last day when walking to El and Deans...there were a few hooligan kids sitting on a corner fence smoking and after we went past this girl yelled out....EXCUSE ME ARE YOU WANTED....HA HA HA!!! We laughed so hard....Deano is a Devil! Friday we did a drive around the Kent area, Canterbury, Margate, Whistable, Reculver and back to El and Deans for Dyls 3rd birthday...another great night catching up with the Smith and Ross Families. Friday night back to the Railway Hotel....music in full force...so if you can't sleep or beat them join them....but it didn't go on all night...all quiet by midnight! Saturday the Hop Festival is in full swing....what a fabulous festival this was....the town is absolutely packed and a lot of local residents go away for the weekend! The weather was very warm so very pleasant to walk around all the venues and streets....listening to all the bands and tasting the beers and gin. We all got our hop garlands organised early and met at Caroline and Pete's place for bacon rolls before setting off. A full day out enjoyed by all...lots of laughter and fun! Sunday was a lot quieter more a family day....spent most of the
We are very excited about this event
day going between the stages and the last stage we went was the Railway Hotel where Pete's niece was singing in the band. Back to El and Deans for dinner and an early night! Monday down to the Moonlight for a great English breaky to fuel up for the day....four and half hour drive to Norbury Junction just north of Birmingham....pretty good run...though we still had to get on the infamous M25 which was a bit slow in patches. Arrived at Norbury junction after doing a big shop in Newport about 1.30pm, check in for boat was 3.00pm but we didnt get away til 4.30...so motored up the canal for 3 hours to get to a small pub Wharf Inn which was recommended.....not good food really...so next night we cooked on the boat! After doing research rang ahead and booked into the The Boat Inn in Gnosall which was superb! Great fish pie, steak and beef stroganoff! Hit the bingo there. This longboating takes a little to get used to....64ft long and passing along some parts is a challenge....I was petrified of the locks at first but got the hang of that too! The boat is really like a long
skinny caravan....toilet is a bit stinky...but otherwise we managing pretty well...fully equipped kitchen, oven, microwave, hot plates and all crockery etc. There is a big water tank underneath but we filled up along the way to make sure we didn't run out. Thanks to Mike Leiceister...who lent us all the maps and books....you cannot boat without a book....all the bridges are numbered so you know where you are...the books show every detail....winding holes, water, tie up points in towns, locks, pubs (the most important)) and basically everything you need to know. The small villages are just stunning and the English countryside is very pretty....cattle, sheep, lambs grazing in the fields. The downhill locks are easier than the uphill but they are amazing...John is chief skipper and doing very well...Mark also has done a lot of driving too! The canal we are on is the Shropshire Union Canal....we heard of an Australian group who were on the canal and have done 5 months doing all the different ones.....would not be for me too much time on one of these boats...a week is great....gives a taste test and you learn what you would do differently next time! Yesterday we walked 4klms into
Entry gates to the city
a little town off the canal we were on and had a few beers and lovely meal again. We always do breaky on boat and have had some yummy Full English ones! Last days on the boat were spent back in Gnosall....then tried to find the World War II airfield in Wheaton Aston which was No 1 training base in UK....but now a pig farm! Walked a few klm to Oakley Arms which is near Wheaton Aston, which was once a country club now a gorgeous boutique hotel getaway...the original owners two daughters married members from the Deep Purple band (now there's a bit of trivia). Always love to see the village churches, all different and so pretty! Did a bit of a pub crawl in Gnosall....and ended up back at the Boat Inn for dinner which was exceptional once again. Last day motored back to Norbury Junction for their legendary Sunday Roast....was delicious and docked in the wharf there as we had to give boat back at 9.30a.m. Well it has certainly been an adventure....not too many mishaps but did scrape alongside about 4 boats today as it was very tight passing with boats on either side of canal
Ancient roman ruins
and one coming at you!!! All good....no one too fussed! Now down to Birmingham, Cotswolds and to London.
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