HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Busy Weekend

Posted by HelenEdith on September 21, 2009

Garden of Remembrance, Biggin Hill RAF Chapel

Garden of Remembrance, Biggin Hill RAF Chapel

The weekend just gone was London Open House Weekend. I had lots of plans, including some of the places with connections to Napoleon III, who lived in Chislehurst, but in the event, my plans were bigger than my capacity for carrying them out.

On Saturday, we visited the Oakley Hotel for Cats, where Rolo and Monty will be taking a holiday while we are taking a holiday in Wales. We wanted to have a look at where they will be staying. It comes very well recommended and they look after the cats very well there. I think that Rolo and Monty will prefer it when they get back home, though – although one never knows: they might enjoy the chance to socialise with other cats!

Then I delivered Stephen to the Harris HospisCare shop in Biggin Hil and I went to the pet shop in Biggin Hill for some dry kitten food. I stopped off in the library as well and selected some library books. I still haven’t finished reading the Michael Jecks book I bought at Polhill. It’s a hardcover book with a pristine dust jacket and I don’t dare chuck it in my backpack or it won’t stay pristine. So I really need some reading matter for the train.

I then decided to visit the RAF Chapel of Remembrance. It is a participant in London Open House, but it turns out that you can visit at any time. Anyway, I was going right by, so I turned in and found it to be very interesting. The picture at the beginning of this entry was taken in the Garden of Remembrance, where there is a rose garden planted completely with one variety of yellow roses. There is also a huge wisteria there. I will have to make a return visit in the spring, when that will be absolutely gorgeous.

Altar and honour rolls, Biggin Hill RAF Chapel of Remembrance

Altar and honour rolls, Biggin Hill RAF Chapel of Remembrance

Having strolled around the garden, I went inside, where the caretaker had no objection to me setting up my tripod, although he did tell me to take care of the floor. I ensured that the soft feet on my tripod legs were screwed down! There was lots of interest in the chapel and I will make a return visit at some time – possibly when the wisteria is out in the Garden of Remembrance – as I didn’t photography nearly everything of interest.

As you might expect, the predominant colour scheme was red, white, and Airforce blue. There was also a lot of Spitfire and Hurricane symbolry to be seen. The caretaker told me that the large candles on the altar were a gift from Australia. There is also a memorial to American airmen who volunteered to fight in the RAF before America entered WWII.

The stained glass in the main chapel is themed, with windows of matching colours on opposite sides of the chapel. I only photographed one of these windows, but may return to photograph some more.

There is an area to the rear of the chapel where a display was set out, where I found out that several Biggin Hill streets are named after women who were decorated during WWII. I also found out that the Spitfire and Hurricane replicas which guard the chapel are 20 years old and showing their age and an appeal has been launched to replace them. There is some stained glass in the rear area which I would like to go back and photograph: in one window, women radio operators are depicted, while in the opposite window, parachute packers are shown.

I spent so long in the RAF Chapel of Remembrance that I didn’t have time to go back to Chislehurst before Stephen was ready for collection from the Harris HospisCare shop, so I returned to the High Street and went into Waitrose to pick up some shopping and Stephen met me in the car park. We went home and spent a quiet evening with Rolo and Monty.

The Sunday agenda involved a car boot sale in a field on the outskirts of Biggin Hill. We were rather late arriving and ended up splitting up and doing the boot sale separately. I came home with 6 paperbacks (I’ve got plenty of train reading now!) for £2, some plastic cooking utensils (Stephen wanted to know why I bought them and I said it was because I could never find a clean utensil when I wanted one so we obviously needed some more 🙂 ) and a small one-cup black cat teapot which can join Jessie’s teapot collection. My carrier bag also had a few things that Stephen found. Stephen seems to find larger items at car boot sales than I do. He lugged a couple of briefcase-sized items back to the car!

The car in question was the VW Golf, as Stephen was having some 4-wheeled driving practice. We need to start making sure he goes out in it as near to daily as possible. He should be ready for “finishing” by a driving school soon – provided that he takes his theory and hazard perception tests. I would have thought that as he already holds a motorcycle licence that those could have been dispensed with, but apparently not. 😦

We returned from the boot sale via a garden centre where we stocked up on yet more dry kitten food. On arrival home, we flopped on the sofa. Stephen ended up with Monty and I ended up with Rolo. Eventually I left the sofa and cooked two of the three beef escalopes that I bought in Waitrose on Saturday. Stephen had microwaved vegetables with his, but I had a salad with mine, and the salad took longer to prepare than I had anticipated and the steaks therefore ended up a bit more well done than I’d intended. There’s a third steak left which Stephen can eat. I have a load of smoked fish to keep me fed for several days. I succumbed while I was in Waitrose, and it’s making a tasty kedgeree-type meal for me.

Rolo has learned how to do a tiny but definitely audible and very pitiful little mew. He was using it on Stephen when he was shut in the back bedroom where there are far too many things for little paws to get into for Rolo and Monty to be granted access. I think it may sometimes mean “I’m hungry” but I’m not altogether sure. Sometimes it might just be a call for attention. He does have other calls. He’s been using a vocalised purr-type chirp almost since we’ve had him. Monty can do it too, but Monty is usually silent until he is angry about something.

And on that note, I’d better say a final goodnight to our two little hooligans and take myself up the stairs to bed, where I should have been at least an hour ago!

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