|Park in Royal Tunbridge Wells|
Of course I found the apartment on the Internet, and you can never tell what you're going to get in reality, but it is a lovely living space with almost everything one could want, the main exceptions being a cereal bowl and a sieve. They'd even stocked the fridge with milk, bread, biscuits and a bottle of wine ready for my arrival. I put the bread and biscuits out of harm's way, but kept the bottle of wine for emergencies.
I'd selected Internet access as essential with the booking, which is why you have been getting these blog posts, but I'd also brought books to read, a couple of jigsaws, some DVDs, podcasts, books and music on my iPod, and there was the town to explore - another Royal town to compare with Royal Leamington Spa. I'd planned the food to be fairly spartan in the flat so that there was little temptation to indulge (hence the hiding of the bread and biscuits), but planned to eat out at lunchtimes.
Kitsu Sushi and Noodle Bar, and fortunately it was as good as the Interwebs had led me to believe. I planned my tourism around being able to go there most lunchtimes.
Monday was a hot day, so after I'd got back and prepared my salad for supper (but before I'd eaten it), I thought it would be a good time for a shower. The information folder told me it was a combi boiler and should provide hot water after a brief delay, but I'd stood in the shower for some time and there was no sign of heat. I phoned the number for the agent/caretaker who told me that the actual owner lived upstairs; I called at the upstairs door and she thought the pressure might have dropped and went to adjust the boiler. A few minutes later she turned up at the door with a bucket, and to cut a long story short I had no hot water that night but the plumber would be coming the next day. This seemed to fit the description of 'emergency', so I cracked open the wine...
The Museum and Art Gallery are housed in the same building as the Library. I didn't manage to stop myself going into the library, but came to my senses very soon and headed upstairs. The Art Gallery was closed while an exhibition was being prepared, but I had a good look around the Museum. It wasn't very big (only four rooms), but had the usual excellent collection of random objects associated with the town, including hop cultivation, cricket ball manufacture, a particular type of biscuit that used to be made here, and an interesting display and explanation of Tunbridge Ware, which is a cross between marquetry and wooden mosaic. One of the highlights of this room was a stuffed dog in a decorated cabinet.
her own Facebook page. Nothing says 'Having a lovely time, wish you were here' like sending your loved ones a postcard of a dead dog. So I bought a postcard, and sent it to Lola II and Mr M.
Wednesday evening - the TV refused to accept that BBC1 existed, although Radio 4 was still there. Thursday morning, and I was woken by my phone ringing - it was Keith the plumber on his way. Apparently, the lady upstairs has now gone away on holiday, and there had been some discussion about the keys and how to get them, but it would be all right because I would be there to let him in. I had a nice chat with Keith while we were waiting for Dave the engineer, and mentioned my TV problem, and he told me that it might be because of analogue to digital switchover happening this week. He had thought I was a long-term tenant, and became a good deal more sympathetic to my plight when he realised I'm only here for a week, of which I would have been without hot water for about half the time, and now the telly's on the blink.
On Friday I decided to get out of town for a while, so I drove over to Sissinghurst Castle, which isn't really a castle, it's the former home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson, where they lived from 1930 to the end of their lives in the 1960's. It now belongs to the National Trust, and the main attraction is the garden, which is huge, and separated into different areas with characters of their own. There's also a tower that you are allowed to climb to get a great view. The weather was very hot and oppressive, although it didn't actually rain. I took a million photos - well, that's an exaggeration, it was probably no more than half a million.
It rained for the first time on Sunday, all the way home. I had planned to return via the falconry centre, but after watching one sodden display where the birds were about as miserable as the audience, I decided to pack it in. And so endeth the Solitary Holiday.