The Panther Enthusiasts Club

Late Spring Drive Around North Kent

June 22nd 2008

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It was windy, very windy and there had been some rain so some arrived with hoods up and others with hoods down, but I don't think any of us expected to enjoy the great sunny day it turned out to be. Four cars, eight people and three dogs gathered at the Grasshopper Inn at 10:30 for coffee and then an hours tour of the North Kent countryside before stopping at Chiddingstone for lunch. I must remember in future that on Sundays, pubs and that includes the Grasshopper Inn don't open early. Coffee was not a problem we brought that with us, but as regards loos, it was crossed legs until we found one at Penshurst! Our indirect route to Chiddingstone went through some glorious countryside and the roads were surprisingly empty. We lunched at the Castle Inn which has stood in this village since before 1420. The whole village is steeped in history with connections to Katherine Parr. In 1939 the village was sold to the National Trust for 25,000. We had a pleasant lunch in the garden and then walked to the Chiding Stone. Legend has it that this is where villagers could berate their errant spouses in front of others in an effort to get them to change their ways.

Following the photo shoot at the Chiding Stone we drove on, via another indirect route, to Chartwell, the home of the the late Winston Churchill. Unlike the roads Chartwell was very busy and we had to park in a field near the picnic area - ideal for the dogs. Most people decided to just enjoy the gardens with their magnificent views over the Kent countryside, but a couple of us went around the house, which takes about an hour. If you haven't been I recommend it.

We said our main goodbyes in the car park and drove back down to Westerham where we waved goodbye as some turned east and others west. If only the weather was always like this when we're out and about in our Panthers! 

The meeting at the Grasshopper Inn Westerham

Coffees all around 

The Inn wasn't open so I don't know what all the other cars were doing here!

Lunchtime stop at Chiddingstone

Laddie is once again pleased to be out of the Kallista's luggage compartment

Lunch in the dappled shade of the grape vine


It really was hot in the direct sun

That unattended pint of Larkin's is mine

The old Castle Inn

Larraine and Jennifer pose outside the lovely old St. Mary's church


The Chiding Stone from which the village name may be derived

Jennifer will have painful memories of this occasion. She had a cracked elbow from a previous fall and promptly fell over climbing the stone and fell on the elbow again!

Chartwell car park and the cars attract the usual admiration

I must pay a tribute to the dogs. Their behaviour was impeccable. You hardly knew they were there. Would you believe that the 2 biggest ones shared the Kallista's cockpit with Alec and Mary?

The view from the Pink Terrace of Chartwell House. You can see why Churchill never tired of it. The buildings you see in the view is his studio.

The 8 people who shared this very pleasant day were: Les & Pearl Pratt, Alec & Mary Bradshaw, Terry & Larraine Hockley-Moore, and Roy & Jennifer Biddle.

NIgel & Mary Plunkett were due to come but had to cancel because of ill health. Sorry you missed it Nigel and Mary, but we hope all is well with you now. We look forward to seeing you again soon.


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