A Conversation for Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo

Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo Day 12

Post 1

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

I just realized that I've not put any of my first impression of people I finally got to meet after knowing them, in some cases, since 2001 (and in others, for "only" over a decade)! Sure, I've seen pics of many, and I didn't have super strong impressions (ie, surprises) with most, but still... Anyway, to get caught up... For someone that is known as Mouse in real life, minichessemouse was a bit taller than I expected (not something you can tell easily from photos). I was expecting someone shorter than A, one of my excoworkers, or even W, who is short enough to seem too young to attend high school, much less *work* there, but min is taller than my mother-in-law. Bald Bloke has rather more hair than I thought he would, especially given the fact that I've know him as Bald Bloke the whole time I've been on h2g2, so I'm guessing he had more hair 16 years ago--Bald*ing* Bloke, certainly, but not *bald*smiley - tongueout Hapi's rather thin for a hipposmiley - winkeye If Happy and I hadn't had height discussions back when Tom and I were in the low-ceilinged basement apartment, I would've been surprised by his height--though I will say that Notepad would absolutely adore his mustache. Can't really say I remember any surprise with anyone else that has already featured in here...

Anyway, on to Sunday, July 23!

After having the pleasure of min's company for a day-and-a-bit, it was time for Agapanthus and I to take her to catch the coach back to Glasgow. Just like the previous days, Ag had the guiding honors, and I simply took advantage of the cane's trailbreaking by following behindsmiley - winkeye Once we got to Victoria Station, Ag took min off to find the coach, and I parked myself in front of the arrivals/departures boards to see what time Ag and my train was going to be. Now, this had seemed a very logical split of duties when we discussed it on the way over--after all, Ag had picked min up at the coach station just the other night (and knew where it was before that), and I have a rotten sense of direction. However, reading arrivals/departures goes a lot slower when you have to read every single smiley - bleep town because you don't know enough geography to be able to know which boards you can skip entirely (I knew to ignore anything going to Manchester, but that really was about it--no trains to Scotland to ignore). On the other hand, it didn't end up being a case of, "I found our train! And it's pulling away from the platform as we speak!" so it was fine (we had about half an hour from when Ag got back from escorting min). I even had time to go validate my BritRail Pass and wander around a couple shops. Where were we going, you ask? We were going to see jousting at Hever Castle! Now, there is no train directly to the castle (surprise, surprisesmiley - winkeye), so the official options are to take a train to Hever station and walk about 20 minutes, or get off the train at Edenbridge, and catch a cab. Both options would get us to the castle at a time that would be cutting things pretty close for meeting up with Sol and kelli (and children) before the jousting was due to begin (thought the Edenbridge+taxi option was a bit better). So, in the FB group, I appealed to Sol and kelli about the possibility of meeting Ag and I at a train station and giving us a ride the rest of the way. Playing around with train times and Google maps gave us 2 possibilities with the same arrival time at the castle (Oxted was 3 minutes less on the train but 3 minutes longer on the road as compared with Hurst Green), which did not help with decision making at *all*. And both train stations had paid parking, so that was annoying. But! The train station we decided on had a Morrison's next door, which would be free parking and a chance to pick up something for a picnic lunch, so Oxted it was (totally didn't just dig through the group postings for the infosmiley - whistle)

Ag and I caught the train with no problem, and found that Google had no idea what it was talking about when it claimed that one had to walk around the entire block to get to Morrison's from the station--there was a signposted route through a gate and everything, that took less than a minute to navigate. We spotted Sol, who, while she had lunch all packed for herself, The Star, and The Comet (aka Himself and Herself), needed to go in as well, as gaffer tape was a Very Much Needed Thing. The thingy under the front bumper had fallen and was scraping the road quite maddeningly, y'see. So in we go to make our various purchases, after introducing me to the children as Mum's American Friend Who Has Chickens, Also Children And Is A Teacher's Helper (I demonstrated on my own that I was smiley - weirdsmiley - winkeye) I got what I thought of as quite the British lunch--a duck roll-up (OK, so roll-ups aren't exactly unknown around here, but duck isn't a common enough meat to be in a cheap sandwich-equivalent), a pack of Walker's Prawn Cocktail Crisps (a flavor the idea of which has alternately fascinated/repelled me for over a decade--meat flavored smiley - crisps just aren't a thing, here), a flapjack, and Ribena. Though I realize now that, since it was pre-diluted, it wasn't *real* (or is that just Vimto that matters with?smiley - winkeye) I enjoyed all of it, by the way, and may have become a bit obsessed with the crisps, seeing as how those and elderflower drinks are the only thing I've looked online for since I've been home...

After Sol had deployed at least half the roll of tape, we were off to Hever Castle. This was my first ride in a private car in the UK, and thus my first ride in a private car on the right (wrong) side of the road. I was in the front passenger seat. I found it quite odd to have the oncoming traffic on my side and *not* having a steering wheel in front of me. (Yes, I had automatically gotten on the wrong side of the car to get in, how did you know?) There were places where the country road became a single lane road in the villages. I only had to close my eyes once, though--when a lorry looked like it was bearing down on us. It wasn't, but I never did get the hang of the street markings (reason umpty-seven for not renting a car while I was over there...). Fellow USians, if you go, please note that there isn't the yellow-lane-markings or 2 way traffic, and white-lane-markings for one way traffic--it's all the same color. This did my head in the entire trip, and I never ever was tempted to jaywalk (which isn't illegal over there). I saw my first thatched roof! Alas, no pics, as we were running a little late, and pics through car windows are never satisfying--and we all forgot that we were going to stop on our way back out for a photo.

I'm almost tempted to just leave this http://kiddingherself.com/hever-castle-gardens-kent/ for the description of the castle and the joustingsmiley - evilgrin

We met up with kelli and t'Other (t'Boy being at his best friend's birthday do, it being decided that a preteen being forced to hang out with Mum's Friends instead of being with his best friend on such an occasion would be unpleasant for all concerned, especially if said preteen started actually *enjoying* himself smiley - winkeye) Herself has described the grounds quite well, so I'll just agree with her that they were beautiful. I saw my first swan by the boating lake, perfectly posed--until I brought the camera out, which is when he started preening. So I have a couple of photos of what looks to be a headless swansmiley - laugh (I think, once I post this, I'l stick a link to my trip photo collection on the main page...) Then we came upon the end of a sword fighting demonstration, which was cleared away for falconry (this was also the first discovery of the all-important goldfish-maybe-koi, which was a draw for all three children, though this pond wasn't the moat). The falconry was wonderful, though by this point, I was concentrating more on lunch and conversation--and passing out fudge. The peregrin flying overhead was seriously cool, though.

After lunch, we continued on towards the castle and the yew maze, and discovered that there were more goldfish/koi in the stream that ran under the footbridge, and really big ones in the moat. While we were discussing whether to head towards the tournament field or wait for the procession, knights on horseback flanked the entrance to the castle in preparation for King Henry VIII and his new bride, Anne Bolyn, to begin the procession--so our decision was made.

After a nice bit of theatrics, we went a shorter route to the tournament field, and came across their majesties giving photo ops. Alas, there was a long enough line that there was no time for me, but we were assured that there would be another photo op after the tournament (and there was). Off Ag and I went after Sol, kelli, and the children (Ag had stayed behind with me to take the pictures that we didn't have time for...) and caught up before seats had been found. We managed to get fairly close, and the children were right up front at the boundary rope--so they didn't have far to go when they were "drafted"smiley - yikes They were released with the rest of the army after marching around the arena with their weapons, though.

The jousting was wonderful, and our side, the Blues (yay!) (assigned by where you sat, so only chance we weren't with the Reds (boo!)) won! Yeah, yeah, I know that it's about as real as pro wrestling, but it was exciting nonetheless (and the parallel works well, because even with scripting, there is still a great display of athleticism and, unlike wrestling, horses to smiley - drool over and admire the training of). There was galloping around spearing styrofoam heads. There was catching rings on the end of lances while at a gallop. There was tilting, and sword fighting, and heckling the other knights and support crew, and great fun. Afterwards, I got my photos with their majesties, and my hand was kissed by the king (which did not please the queen).

We wandered about a bit, and the children rolled down a hill on the way back to the castle. There were people demonstrating blacksmithing and weaving, and a couple sets of stocks, which t'Other was placed in. We went into the castle (after the obligatory watching-of-the-fish). After touring the castle, there was more fish watching. I asked Herself which was better--the jousting or the fishies? About 10 seconds later, I apologized to Sol for breaking her child--the poor girl shut down with having to actually decide. She obviously knew what answer the adults would prefer... She finally answered, "Both," and left it at thatsmiley - winkeye By this time, announcements of imminent closure of the grounds were being made, so off we went. We said goodbye to kelli and t'Other in the car park, and headed to our car. Sol decided to reinforce her taping job from earlier, since she had a major road to drive after taking Ag and I back to the train, so she used the rest of the roll of tape. There was a bit of confusion as far as one turn, but we got back on track quickly. Ag and I headed back to Ag's flat, via Ag's favorite takeaway. When we got to the flat, we decided to watch one of Ag's many DVDs. She asked me to choose, and I decided that I didn't have the mental energy for a new movie, so we watched The Princess Bride, which we both have memorized. No, we did not recite all the lines along with. Maybe some of the best ones, but not all of them...

Since Ag had work the next day, and I was meeting MMF for a full day, we headed to our rooms a bit earlier than we had the night before. Now, I had been humblebragging that I had managed to avoid jet lag by cleverly arranging to arrive midday, staying in bright light (the flat has skylights), and not going to bed until a normal bedtime by the clock. I woke up at 3am. I could not fall back asleep. 4 hours of sleep was ridiculous. After about half an hour, I decided to see if a shower would help me get back to sleep, since I normally shower at bedtime. At best, it'd work, and I'd get a couple more hours of sleep. At worst, I'd be clean. About halfway through the shower, I remembered that Ag's bedroom shared a wall with the bathroom. The wall near the shower. It was fully possible that her bed was on that wall. It was possible that I had just been a horrible guest and had awakened my host when she had to work in a few hours... At that point, though, all I could do was finish as quickly as possible. On the plus side, at least it worked...

Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo Day 12

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

smiley - laughsmiley - ok Excellent writeup! Hever Castle sounds impressive indeed - I've seen jousting at the Camelot theme park, but that closed down a few years ago, sadly.

Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo Day 12

Post 3

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

You should go! You wouldn't be able to do the castle (too small to retrofit a lift into) but the grounds are very nice--and it's a cheaper ticket to just do the grounds, as well. Jousting is covered by admission to the groundssmiley - ok Granted, it'd be a bit of a trip...

Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo Day 12

Post 4


I had a summer job at the Camelot theme park in 1999! Not jousting. I was working on the soft play area.

Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo Day 12

Post 5

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

It would be a bit of a trip, but Kent is somewhere I've not been so it would be worthwhile if I could do it - that's good that the jousting is covered by the cheaper ticket smiley - ok

That would be coincidental if I had been at Camelot at the same time as you were, z! The soft play area isn't somewhere we would have visited in 1999, though, so we probably wouldn't have passed each other. I did find out that I had met someone off the old BBC messageboards a couple of years before I joined the messageboard, but we hadn't recognised each other's messageboard names at first, so it can happen! smiley - biggrin

Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo Day 12

Post 6

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

I don't remember how steep the paths were, but I don't remember any being horribly so... I do know that the field the tournament was in was hilly, but I have no idea how you chair does in hilly grass, obviously. I also know that there are rooms available to stay in on the property, but I have no idea how much they are, since I already *had* somewhere to stay...

Amy P's 2017 NaJoPoMo Day 12

Post 7

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

*note to self--check prices to stay at Hever*

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