12 July 2011 (Tuesday) - A Stroll round Teston

I am fast coming to the sad conclusion that sat nav is only any good for telling you directions when you already know the route. Take yesterday’s trip to Downe House for example.
The sat nav was fine all the way to Swanley. In much the same way that my own navigational abilities would have been fine all the way to Swanley. However the point at which I needed the sat nav was the point at which it started losing the GPS signal.
This was not an isolated event. The useless device then went on to get Maidstone and Saudi Arabia mixed up. So I sent a few minutes this morning printing a map of today’s planned ports of call. Maps’ batteries don’t go flat.

After a bit of brekkie we set off on the day’s journey. I had my map, and so there was a backup to the sat nav. I put in the post code of our first destination into the sat nav: it found two places with this post code. One which was ten miles away and one which was in Somerset (!) We went with the local one.
We arrived to find it was what we’ve been looking for. Reasonably priced caravans: the sort of size we are looking for. They provide caravan storage for less than ten quid a week, and being near Maidstone it’s in the right part of the world for us. All I need now is a tow bar on the car and getting a caravan is a practical proposition.

But for all that we thought we’d found the ideal place, we thought we’d carry on with our day’s itinerary. Our next purveyor of caravan turned out not to be so. Advertised on the internet as having touring caravans for sale, it was a static caravan park. I mentioned to the chap in the office about how misleading his website was. It was clear from the blank expression that the poor fellow had never even heard of the internet, but he did mention that a lot of people seem to be under the mistaken impression that he sold touring caravans.
And the third caravan shop turned out to be rather a waste of time as well. The caravans were nice, but so were the prices (for the salesman). With prices starting at about double the price I intend to pay, I’ve taken them off my list.

We then thought we’d eat our pic-nic at St Leonard’s tower – we were driving past a sign to the place and so we thought we’d pop in. So we took the signposted turning and carried on down a lane. And carried on, and on. We never did find the place. So we gave up searching and had our picnic at the site at Teston Bridge.
We’ve camped at Teston Bridge picnic site so many times, and today we thought we’d go for a stroll round the area: one of ‘er indoors TM guided tours starts and finishes there, and bearing in mind how easy the first two walks were to follow, we thought we’d try a third.

It has to be said that the directions for this walk weren’t as good as the ones for the walks round Barham and Aldington. Whilst at no point did we actually get lost, some of the paths and stiles on the first part of the walk weren’t as clearly marked as they might have been. Mind you, had we found the correct footpath we wouldn’t have found the Good Intent pub: one person’s wrong turn is another person’s bonus pint. A pint of Larkin’s slipped down very well.
After the first mile (or so) the route became much easier to follow, and we found ourselves walking parallel to the river, looking down on Teston lock and our old campsite and kiting field. It seemed odd to see such familiar places from such a strange angle. Today’s photo is Teston Lock seen from above.
In the past I’ve set off Chinese lanterns without a thought for where they end up. Today we found a crashed one: just lying in a field. I thought about picking it up, but decided against it. After all, it wasn’t my lantern. And there was a worrying five minutes when we saw what looked like Doctor Who’s Tardis by a hedge.

We then made our way along the river to Wateringbury and the bridge, where we crossed and then made our way back to the car. It was a good walk: a shame it started raining on the way home. But we didn’t get too wet.
It was a good stroll – there are some photos here. If the wind is as non-existent as it usually is at Teston, I might go off on this walk at the next kite festival…

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