HelenEdith's Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘maidstone’

Maidstone again!

Posted by HelenEdith on July 15, 2009

When Stephen and I went to Maidstone a couple of weekends ago to hear Maidstone Winds perform on the bandstand in Brenchley Gardens, we didn’t expect to be returning to Maidstone again so soon.

However, to Maidstone we went, as Stephen’s Mum had a hospital appointment at the Maidstone Hospital. We picked her up and went to the hospital first. We had to pay for our parking as Jessie didn’t have her blue disabled badge with her. That was my fault, as she used her walker to get out to the car and her handbag was on the walker seat. I took the walker back into her house and didn’t notice the handbag on there and so it didn’t go with us! 😳

Once we were finished in the hospital, we headed into central Maidstone to visit the Chequers Centre, now renamed The Mall Maidstone.

I decided to have another four place settings of the stoneware crockery I bought last time we were in Maidstone. Stephen isn’t entirely happy about that as the plates are quite large and only fit in certain specialised slots on the dishwasher. They are really nice plates though: well glazed, plus they’re big enough that you can fit a decent cooked breakfast on them without bits hanging over the sides! 🙂

Stephen had various items of clothing, and so did Jessie and I. In fact, Jessie and I both liked one skirt and bought it in each of our sizes! Jessie and I both had trainer liners. I want them for actually wearing inside trainers, but she just wants them for putting on her feet at home.

Jessie also had some mugs and I had four glass tumblers.

Then we moved onto British Home Stores where I had some items I wanted to swap for a different size. It all got very complicated because I bought six on a “three for £5” deal but could only swap five as I’d worn one. The poor assistant took quite a long time to get it to come out right. I could have ended up making a £1 profit as the returns went in at full price and the replacements came out on the discount deal. At least I was in a good humour and so was the assistant, so we got it all worked out amicably. She did ring the bell and summon a second assistant as a queue started to form behind my complicated transaction! Just when we thought we had it all square, I noticed a size 22 tag on one of the items in my replacement pile and thought the assistant had got a return mixed in, but I’d picked up a garment which was displayed incorrectly sized. That entailed a bit more to-ing and fro-ing, but we sorted that glitch out too.

The one thing I didn’t manage to do was to visit Specsavers, where I was hoping to get some running repairs done on my prescription varifocal polaroid sunglasses. I was wearing them on a chain and they were hanging down on my chest when Stephen decided to hug me and bent the frames, causing one lens to pop out. It hit the pavement and now has a chip out of it. I suspect that I will be up for a new pair, but I’d really like some running repairs in the meantime as I need dark glasses next Sunday when I’m playing outdoors with the Beckenham Concert Band. If they can’t cobble those back together, I’ll need to get some clip-ons by Sunday…

I’d had enough of Maidstone by then, so we headed home. I took a wrong turning and we joined the M20 a bit further east than I’d intended to 🙂 but we got back to Jessie’s place eventually, having stopped along the way for a McDonald’s.

Jessie’s cats were pleased to see me, as usual. Minnie spent a considerable amount of time on my lap; Boonie had a couple of short sessions, and Mitsi landed when I was least expecting her, but moved off again once I’d acknowledged her. Mollie got her share of attention on the floor, and so did Sam.

Tomorrow’s a working day, and I think I’m tired enough to go to bed right now and sleep. Stephen would like me to pre-order Windows 7, but the site for doing that is currently down due to the high volume of traffic. Methinks that people are more enthusiastic about Windows 7 than they ever were about Vista. 😀 I should also check back through my book review file and make sure that the library book I’m about to start reading isn’t one I’ve already read. It would be annoying to sit down on the train tomorrow and find that my reading matter wasn’t something new after all.


Posted in Bruno a.k.a. Boonie, General, Minnie, Mitsi, Mollie, Sam | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

A trip to Maidstone

Posted by HelenEdith on July 5, 2009

Maidstone Winds, Bandstand, Brenchley Gardens, 5th July, 2009

Maidstone Winds, Bandstand, Brenchley Gardens, 5th July, 2009

This afternoon, we went to Maidstone. The main aim of the outing was to sit in Brenchley Gardens and hear Maidstone Winds perform on the bandstand, but we missed the first half of the concert because we spent a bit longer than planned in the shops first!

We came back to the car laden down with a couple of new quilt covers and other bedding, various items of clothing, a few useful items from a 99p shop and a £1 shop, and to top it all off, I succumbed to 4 place settings of dinner plates, side plates, bowls and mugs in brown stoneware. Poor Stephen had to carry that back to the car and stoneware is heavy crockery!

It was just as well that Linens Direct held onto the bedding for us to collect on our way back past: that was one heavy bag as well, and wouldn’t have been a lot of fun to lug around while we looked in the other shops.

Anyway, we returned to the car, left our purchases and picked up our cameras and folding chairs and set off for Brenchley Gardens, arriving just as the band were starting their second half.

I recognised much of the music, having played it either with Maidstone Winds or with the Beckenham Concert Band, but enjoyed listening instead of playing for a change. I definitely had my foot tapping along a lot of the time!

After the concert was over, I took a few more pictures in the gardens and then Stephen and I went for an early dinner at a Beefeater called Sir Thomas Wyatt on London Road, Maidstone which we had noticed on our way down to Maidstone earlier in the day. We each enjoyed a well-done sirloin steak and then we headed back up the M20 and home to watch the mixed doubles final on the TV.

Beefeater, Sir Thomas Wyatt, London Road, Maidstone

Beefeater, Sir Thomas Wyatt, London Road, Maidstone

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Maidstone Winds – a Night at the Movies

Posted by HelenEdith on June 22, 2009

Helen Cockersole preparing popcorn for our movie-loving concert-goers

Helen Cockersole preparing popcorn for our movie-loving concert-goers

I had an outing with Maidstone Winds, who were in need of a second bassoon for a “Night at the Moves” concert at the Exchange Studio in the Hazlitt Arts Centre, Maidstone on Saturday 20th June.

We played a programme consisting entirely of film music:

  • Dambusters
  • Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
  • Hooray For Hollywood
  • Jurassic Park
  • Gladiator


  • 633 Squadron
  • John Williams – symphonic selection
  • Hymn to the Fallen
  • Anything Goes (Indiana Jones)
  • James Bond 007

The audience were appreciative, and I enjoyed the chance to perform in the venue, which is the smaller of the two main performing spaces in the Hazlitt Arts Centre.

We rehearsed for most of the afternoon, which gave extras such as myself a chance to see the music – and in my case, to decide which bits needed a bit of extra work, and which bits needed a bit of simplification to be playable on one viewing. 😎

As the concert was “A Night at the Movies”, there was popcorn for the audience, and the picture shows Helen, the fixer (who makes sure that the right musicians will be there on the night) busy at the task of making sure that there was plenty of popcorn ready for our patrons to enjoy.

Posted in Maidstone Winds | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Entry for December 16, 2007 – Maidstone Winds at St Margarets, Barming

Posted by HelenEdith on December 16, 2007

I had an outing with Maidstone Winds today. They invited me along to augment their bassoon section for a Christmas concert held in St Margaret’s Church, Barming.

Barming is a village near Maidstone in Kent, and the church is down near the banks of the Medway at the end of quite a long lane.

The rehearsal was due to start at 1pm, and I think I got there with about five minutes to spare! We went through the whole concert programme, most of which was music I’d never seen before. Surprisingly, the hardest piece of the lot was a rather elaborate arrangement of “Jingle Bells”!

We had about 40 minutes between the end of the rehearsal and the concert, which started at 4:30pm. There was a single toilet at the church, so queueing up for that was top priority! Then I put my jacket on and went out to my car, where I retrieved my black trousers and put them on under my black skirt, as I suspected that I might be in for a cold evening otherwise. I had a couple of oatcakes to keep the wolf from the door, grabbed my camera, and went back into the church for a couple of “I wuz here” pictures. The camera’s shake reduction did an admirable job. I’ve included the best picture I took above, but you can view the others here: Helen Stephenson’s Pictures of St Margaret’s Church, Barming.

We were served mince pies during the interval, and they even had some Sainsbury’s “Free From” ones that I was prepared to eat. 😀 The whole concert was a mix of good band music and Christmas music, and we finished off with Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” as an encore piece.

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