Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rolling Right Along

After the seedy drabness of the seaside towns of Broadstairs and Ramsgate, it is with pleasure that I roll over a lifting bridge over the River Stour and under the arch of an ancient toll-gate that still has a sign saying how much the tolls are. This is Sandwich, one of the five Cinque Ports, towns formed on the basis of sea trade and fishing, now mostly separated from the sea, ports long ago silted up.

Even back in the Middle Ages there was a toll to be paid to cross this bridge, and that continued right up until 1977.

Something happened as I crossed the bridge that snapped me out of the bad mood of the past couple of days. The footpath is very narrow and the traffic lane is one way, controlled by lights. I stopped to take a photo, leaning the bike on the rail. A man with a dog walking behind me snarled at me. "That's a terrible place to stop". I responded, something along the lines of it being a lovely view, the sun just emerging from early fog, lighting the river and half-timbered buildings on the other side of the arch. I'm thinking how charming it would be if this was your regular way to town. I'm thinking, this is the prettiest place I have seen in days. My comment just gave this man room to launch vitriol over his shoulder as he walked on, and this is what he said; My dog has just had surgery, and he shouldn't be walking on the road. Man and dog had had to take maybe two steps off the kerb to get past the bike and there was no traffic in sight. It made me laugh. And it made me realise that a bad mood means you focus what's wrong and forget to see what's good, and I decided on the spot to only notice the nice things. Be positive. It is such a sorry waste of energy to be otherwise.  

Along the Stour, taken from the bridge

Lots of medieval buildings 
I visited the Salutation Gardens. Salutation House and the outline of the garden were designed by Sir Edward Lutyens in 1910. 
The home is a posh hotel and so out-of-bounds for the likes of me, but at the ticket office they were happy to let me visit the gardens for a small amount of money. I made myself a pot of tea in the appropriately-named potting shed, and sat in the shade enjoying the smell of cut dahlias that I remember from childhood. The gardners were doing last minute tidying up for the annual Dahlia Festival that weekend, so it was I got a sneak preview. 
This seemed to be the New Zealand 'room'

I love visiting gardens, it's up there next to hanging out in coffee shops. I even love dahlias.

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