Maidstone – Wednesday 24th October 2018

Final stop on this trip was to Maidstone. When I was a child we used to visit Maidstone occasionally and go to lunch at the Royal Star Hotel – it was a real favourite, but sadly I discovered that it is a shopping centre now! Maidstone has changed an awful lot since I was a child (understandably – that was a long time ago!) – the Waterstones is in a new (to me) outdoor shopping centre called Fremlin Walk which is set on the site of the old Fremlin’s brewery and opened in 2005.  The design of the centre incorporates the original brewery entrance under a reproduction of the old Fremlin’s clock.

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Maidstone Map

Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre

We left Maidstone and drove through the Medway towns on our way to our hotel. There was a most fantastic sunset so we stopped at Rochester and I look some pictures of the River Medway looking towards the castle and cathedral and looking rather beautiful. I have a soft spot for Rochester as my first ever job as a Saturday assistant in an Estate Agents was here!

 

 

Photo 1 of Fremlin Walk taken by Andy Potter and used with permission under Wikipedia’s Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0 

 

 

Brentwood – Wednesday 24th October 2018

Peter dropped me at Brentwood on his way to his next appointment so I had a few hours wandering round this small town.  The Waterstones here is in an attractive building but I haven’t been able to find out anything about its original use.   It has a cosy feel inside and the two staff members I spoke to were both very friendly.

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Brentwood map

Brentwood has a Catholic cathedral which I would have like to have looked round, but there was nothing in the lobby to say whether it was permissible to go inside, and when I peered through the inner door I could see a small group of musicians inside rehearsing, so I didn’t go in.

I came across this…

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Which after Googling I have discovered is the Brentwood Column and was designed to celebrate the town’s heritage – it would have been useful if they had some information by it for non-locals!  After stopping for coffee in M&S I just had time to pop into Brentwood’s independent book shop ‘Chicken and Frog’ (great name – I don’t know where it comes from) before meeting up with Peter to head to our next destination. 

Romford – Wednesday 24th October 2018

Peter had to go to see some customers in the south east so I went along with him.  We stayed in Essex overnight so I was able to do a couple of branches of Waterstones.   The first was in Romford – the store here is in a modern shopping centre and set over two floors. 

Romford map

Romford holds an open air market three days a week.  It is one of the UK’s oldest markets, having been granted a charter by Henry VIII in 1247. 

Behind the market is the Anglican parish Church dedicated to Edward the Confessor (confusingly there is a Catholic church of the same name in Romford!) – it has a couple of beautiful, modern, stained glass windows but sadly I haven’t been able to find out any information about them.

Currently reading Keep You By My Side by Callie Langridge and listening to The Black Book (Rebus #5) by Ian Rankin

 

Teddington – Monday 27th August 2018

Our last stop of the day before heading home was to Teddington where we decided to stop for lunch.  The Waterstones here opened in 2004 and used to be an Ottakars store and, like the Newport and Doncaster branches, they have a tiled mural done by artist Chris Burke behind their tills.  (Incidentally, according to Chris’s website there were some in other former Ottakars stores, but of the shops we’ve already done they were either covered over, have been removed or we simply failed to notice them!). 

Teddington 1

Teddington 2

The lady in Teddington looked rather bemused when I asked if I could take a picture of the tiles and asked why I wanted to so I muttered about it being unusual!  As you can see, theirs is covered with adverts!

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We had lunch in the King’s Head pub – a delicious Malabar fish curry – and then headed down to Teddington lock to walk it off before heading home!