Sadly, time always passes by so quickly and our time together was almost done. We had a few hours to spare on the last day, so I thought we could have a quick trip just down the road to Aylesford.
I used to play in a band when I was about 17 and 18 and we used to practice in one of the band members houses in Aylesford, so I know the town well – and it has a very interesting history with an active Carmelite Friary that dates back to the Crusades.
Aylesford has been a settlement since the Neolithic – there’s a couple of long barrows not too far away – it’s been the site of many battles in Medieval times, William the Conqueror owned the Manor of Aylesford and then, in the mid 1200’s, the Friary was established by Carmelite Ralph Frisburn returning from the Holy Land and under the patronage of Crusader Richard de Grey.
Aylesford is still a pretty place – the original bridge over the river which dates back to the late 1100’s is still there (although it is closed to traffic now – I remember driving over it in the 1990’s) and the buildings in the heart of the village are largely original.
Definitely worth a visit. The carparks are free and you can walk along the river or up through the village to the Friars and back.
Aylesford Priory, or ‘The Friars’ to give it it’s correct name, is a sprawling place that that is open to the public. It’s a functioning monastery but you are welcome to join in with the services and even stay there.
We just took a packed lunch, but there is a restaurant on site near the entrance to the carpark for those that have more time. We went for a walk around the grounds – the kids loved it – it’s a very beautiful place, calm and serene. Well, serene that is until a bunch of ‘big fat gypsy wedding’ types rocked up for their pre-wedding church service. Oh man, you have never seen such chavvy people! Anyway – we walked in the opposite direction and almost had the place to ourselves.
A totally amazing place – go early, avoid the crowds, breathe in the history and peace that exudes from this place.
But that was it – I had to drop the kids back off with their mum and get ready for the flight home again 😦
Going home turned out to be a nightmare. Malaysia Airlines, having screwed up the flight on the way out and left me getting to the UK a day late, announced that the flight from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur was ‘a little late’. Turned out that ‘a little’ was 10 hours and we missed 2 connecting flights to Perth in Kuala Lumpur and had to overnight in a hotel (again – second time this has happened). So I got back to Perth more than a day later than expected and missed a day’s work (and hence pay).
I did get to see the plane land at Heathrow though, which was something – great big lumbering beast of a thing – amazing. before that I also got to see 3 A380’s take off that I could have been on – Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Emirates all took off one after the other – all flights that I wish I had booked (and next time I will – sorry Malaysia Airlines, never again)
Anyway – that’s the wrap up – it’s taken a while to complete!
I loved seeing the kids (but then I always do) – I so wish I could spend more time with them – damn that lottery win, where are you!!??! Still, quality time is quality time – great memories, stories, adventures and photos thanks to the lovely Fujifilm X100T
I’ll be back next year for more fun!