Friday, July 31, 2009

Kent Event - Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway Open Day

The Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway (BWLR) is holding another of it's popular open days this Sunday, 2nd August. We went to their last open day in July, had a great time and would recommend it to everyone. The adult entrance fee is £ 7.50 (kids go free) and this includes unlimited train rides.

The BWLR was formed by a group of steam enthusiasts in the early 1970's and now runs narrow gauge vintage steam trains (some over 100 years old) on a short, but very picturesque, line through the woods.

Many of the engines have been rescued from far flung corners of the world from Australia to Thailand to Mozambique where they were used on the sugar plantations.

Others originate from (slightly) closer to home such as the "Lady Joan".

She was built in Leeds in 1922 and spent most of her working life at the slate quarries in Port Dinorwic, North Wales.

The engine sheds are open to viewing and there is a large working model railway on display.

Apart from steam trains, the BWLR have also assembled a collection of steam traction engines, vintage Bean motor cars and buses.

There is a cafe providing sandwiches, cakes and other light refreshments at reasonable prices and a small shop selling anything and everything to do with Thomas the Tank Engine!
We are certainly looking forward to making a return visit in the near future.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Open Day at Luddesdown Organic Farm

Last weekend we spent an enjoyable afternoon visiting an open day at Luddesdown Organic Farm just outside Gravesend.

For the princely sum of £ 2.50 for adults, and kids for free, we were treated to a 30minute grand tour of the sprawling farm seated on bales of straw on a trailer towed by one of the farm tractors.

It is certainly a much more pleasant way to see the countyside than rushing along on the M25 in three lanes of traffic!

Gerry, the owner of the farm explained at length how they produce their own compost to use on the fields instead of artificial fertilisers. Several thousand tonnes of municipal waste is received in from local councils every year and composted on the farm instead of being sent to landfill.

A wide range of organic vegetables from run of the mill potatoes to more exotic things like Jerusalem artichokes are grown on the farm as well cereals such as oats.

Apart from vegetables and cereals, cows and pigs are also reared organically grazing on the rolling hillsides.

The village of Luddesdown which can trace it's roots back over one thousand years, is a favourite haunt for ramblers.

The farm has an open day every Summer and is well worth a visit.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Now Dartford's left in the dark too!

Following my recent post about the power cuts in Gravesend last weekend it appears that this malaise has now spread to Dartford and other surrounding towns in Kent including Crayford, Erith, Bexleyheath and Orpington!

This time the cause of the power failure is known - vandalism

It would appear, according to BBC Kent News, that vandals set fire to and seriously damaged four major power circuits in Dartford causing a major power cut that has affected nearly 100000 homes in the area and caused numerous businesses to close for the day.

At the time of writing this post power was still out in nearly 60000 homes.

The most worrying news is that our local A & E hospital Darenth Valley has been affected and is having to use their emergency generators.

Hopefully the brain dead idiots who caused this disruption will stop and think about the consequences of their actions and hold their heads in shame.

Tragedy at Brands Hatch - Henry Surtees Killed in "Freak" Accident

On Sunday (19th July) I went with the family to the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) event at Brands Hatch, Kent.

We had a very enjoyable day at the circuit with good weather interspersed with the odd shower, lots of close racing on track and plenty for little man to do off track (face painting, big slide, merry go round to name but a few).

As an added bonus former BBC F1 presenter Murray Walker was at Brands Hatch doing some promotional work on behalf of BMW who are one of the leading teams in the WTCC.

Despite his advancing years he is still extremely sprightly and kept both the large crowd and the BMW works team drivers he was interviewing entertained.

Unbeknown to Murray Walker or the crowd, a short time beforehand in the supporting Formula Two race, Henry Surtees the eighteen year old son of Formula 1 legend John Surtees had suffered fatal injuries in a "freak" high speed accident.

The news that Surtees had died of his injuries did not become public until Monday. An investigation is being held into the causes of the accident.

In the meantime I would like to proffer my condolences to John Surtees and his family.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gravesend left in the dark - again!

The Kent town of Gravesend has been suffering a spate of power failures in the last few months.

Today I intended to do some work in my office (yes, I do have a day job as well as writing this blog! - if you're interested to know more click here) while my wife did some shopping in town but when I got there my smoke alarm control panel was beeping away merrily. Oh no, I thought, another power cut.

Without any power not a lot of work can be done nowadays so I decided to phone my wife and let her know I'd meet her in town and help with the shopping. She told me that half the town was out of action too due to the power cut. Several banks were closed (including Barclays) as their ATM machines would not work as well as many shops.

Queues of people were waiting outside the banks hoping to be able to withdraw their hard earned cash.

Gravesham Borough Council has recently made use of their car parks free at weekends in a (belated) effort to entice more shoppers to visit the town centre.

This will be in vain if shopper's are not able to withdraw their cash from an ATM or find a shop that is open to spend their money in!

Gravesham Borough Council urgently need to take this matter up with the relevant parties at whichever electricity company is responsible for supply to the town.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kent Event - World Touring Car Championship Brands Hatch

The 2009 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) blasts into the world famous Brands Hatch circuit in Fawkham, Kent this weekend 17th - 19th July.

The WTCC dates back to 1987 and is contested by many top rate drivers including former Formula 1 stars such as Alex Zanardi and Tiago Monteiro. The series is supported by car manufacturers such as SEAT (current Champions), BMW, Volvo and Lada.

Brands Hatch was the traditional home of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix for many years before it switched to Silverstone (and next year to Donington).

In a future post I am hoping to write about the history of the Brands Hatch Circuit, so please keep watching this space!

I have been attending the WTCC and other events at Brands Hatch for many years together with my wife and young son. The racing is very close due to the layout of the circuit and you always get a good view of the the action regardless of where you decide to stand (or sit) around the circuit.

The current circuit owners, Motor Sports Vision, have made a very conscious effort to make their younger guests welcome.

Kids twelve and under get in free and apart from the action on track there are fair ground rides, race simulators, go karts, face painting, bouncy castles etc to keep them amused.

For a visitors guide to Brands Hatch including travel directions please click here.

If you are interested in motor sports including Formula 1 and other touring car series, you may also wish to visit or subscribe to my motor sports blog.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Northfleet Carnival & Gravesend Summer Regatta 2009 Pictures

The 2009 Northfleet Carnival and Gravesend Summer Regatta were held in glorious sunshine and very well supported.

As promised in our previous post, here as some pictures to give you a taster of what to expect should you decide to attend the event next year.

Lots of colourful floats supplied by local transport companies including LV Transport Limited who have supported the Northfleet Carnival for many years.

Another float courtesy of Gravesend company Access Warehousing & Distribution Ltd.

Some of the drivers really got into the Carnival spirit!

And even the coppers were handing out stickers to the kids instead of ASBO's for a change!

Down at the regatta the rowing crews had to keep an eye out for the big ships too as well as their competitors!