Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Two's not company

We've had young Sam staying for three days, and today we went to Walmer Castle. It is just down the road and it is a fascinating property belonging to English Heritage. They own several properties in Kent, but this one ensures we get our money's worth from our membership.

Today they had an Easter Egg Treasure Hunt. Sam was a bit young for the children's clues, but Pam and I could manage most of them. The adult quiz was a test of memory, and sad to say we failed on a couple of questions (made me realise how much I've come to rely on google to find the answers that have faded from my brain cells).

The castle and grounds are a real delight, and well worth visiting. Now the moat is dry a quick tour round it doesn't require a boat. The castle was built during the reign of King Henry VIII, and was originally designed as part of a chain of coastal artillery defences.

It became the the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Duke of Wellington held the post for 23 years and enjoyed his time spent at the castle. A recent TV program I saw about Queen Victoria visiting the castle said that she found the bedroom rather small, but eventually enjoyed her stay, despite the draughty windows and doors.

The kitchen garden is something to be very envious of. Their broad beans are already making good growth.
We were very impressed by the wonderful Yew hedges. Just how many birds use it for nesting is anyone's guess.

Sam did find a rather splendid tree stump to climb, I suppose when Granddad says "you can't climb that" it is rather an invitation to prove him wrong.

Sam is full of surprises. Sometimes he is very cautious at the playground when it comes to climbing and jumping, so when he launched himself off the top, and went back to repeat it so I could capture the moment I was quite impressed with his confidence.

The badgers appeared quite early tonight and as Sam had had a brief doze after our activities at Walmer we let him stay up a bit later than usual. He was thrilled to see this one arrive. I've been putting the peanuts out on two old plates, normally only one turns up and clears both, but I've always hoped two would turn up and the two plates would prevent a squabble. And so it was two night.

When the second one turned up, the Badger in possession let out a long, deep, guttural growl, but didn't make physical contact. The second badger settled down at the unused plate, fortunately the closest one, and they both kept a respectful distance and got on with their nibbles.

The second Badger wasn't much larger, but did seem to have a broader head. When he finished his quota, there was still some left on the other plate and he made advances towards it. Badger number one didn't seem to feel like arguing and quickly sidled off the patio into the dark.

There wasn't much left for the "boss" but he did look rather smug as he finished them of. I was quite pleased that it hadn't come down to a fight, this has happened in the past and their ferocity might have disturbed Sam. The example of strategic withdrawal was a good lesson.

1 comment:

Marc Heath said...

Very jealous of your Badger watching, you are a very lucky man.