Friday, September 7, 2018

A Canterbury Tale in an Aston Martin DB7

 Further celebrating Dr. C's birthday (we get a year on the big ones) we rented a 1997 Aston Martin DB7 and signed on to a Classic Traveling driving tour of Kent.  We took off from Surrey outside of London, and headed towards Kent and our hotel for the next 5 days.
We arrived at Chilston Park in the early afternoon, and since this is a wedding venue, our room wasn't ready.  No problem, it's time for tea!

There is so much to love about the United Kingdom, and this tradition of tea in the afternoon is probably my favorite.  What's not to love about a properly brewed pot of tea, light and airy scones topped with clotted cream and home made jam?
After tea and jam, we were shown to our room, then readied for dinner.  When we got to dinner we were introduced to the group, all of them were warm, friendly and a lot of fun.  We were stunned to meet people from all over England, who had never toured this area, which is called the garden of England.  Owners of classic cars, they love having a touring car for the narrow and windy roads here.

Classic Traveling provides a touring book, with routes, and venues to visit.  Our first day out, one of the group had attended The Kings School in Canterbury and had invited us to join their group to tour the Kings School with an archivist.  The school is attached to the Canterbury Cathedral, and is filled with history, as well as scholars like Phillip Marlowe and Somerset Maugham.

Somerset Maugham's ashes are buried here

We never did figure out what type chicks these were

It's apple season

Dr. C. and I found this fascinating, since we have read about boarding schools, but in the US they are rare.  Once we left the school, we had a guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral with one of the 600 volunteers at the Cathedral.  For those of your who remember, Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a story-telling contest between the pilgrims who would come to the Cathedral in hopes for healing, both spiritual and medical.

Chaucer's pilgrims were a rowdy mix of men and women; the tales sometimes bawdy, and ribald.  When we toured the church you could imagine pilgrims coming, kneeling and waiting for healing or a word from God.  Unfortunately, Henry VIII did away with the Catholic church, and the pilgrimages stopped around that time.
Having been to many great cathedrals in Europe, Canterbury is really staggering, given that it was built in 1070.  It took 45 years to complete, and the scale is mind-boggling. St. Augustine began his ministry here in the 500's.



Shields from donors


Oldest stained glass

Killing of Thomas Becket

Memorial commemorating where Thomas Becket was killed

Main Church---the glass sculpture is 100 lights, commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I 


Looking into the choir stalls

There is a £23 million restoration going on at the Cathedral, and the outside is covered with scaffolding, hence not too many outside photos.

This is the second most popular photo taken in Canterbury.  Look at how the bookshop is leaning, and then how Dr. C. is trying to fix it.

On our way to the car park, we found this classic car, in beautiful condition.  We headed back to Chilston Park for tea, and then dinner with our group, swapping stories from the day.  Truth time here, I'm pretty much an introvert, and being in a strange group is usually not my thing, but this group was so welcoming and kind I couldn't resist any of them.  I think this says a lot about the owners of Classic Traveling and the tours they put together.  On to gardens tomorrow.

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