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We spent the sunniest weekend of the year so far with my parents, who, opting not to remain in London for longer than was absolutely necessary, collected us from our flat on Saturday morning and drove off into leafy Kent, where they are staying for the week. Prior to the weekend, Kent wasn’t exactly somewhere that I would have chosen to spend any length of time, but it proved something of a revelation, and not without its charm.

Of course we were doing appropriately parent-y, tourist-y things that we wouldn’t normally be doing, like visiting the surprisingly well kept Leeds castle (Sal’s favourite castle so far, apparently), but despite only travelling for an hour or so to the south of London, it all seemed like a very different world: a world of country lanes and village pubs far removed from the pollution, congestion, and crowds of the city.

On Sunday, we visited a town called Battle, where the Battle of Hastings took place. I’d always assumed that this event took place in Hastings, but this turns out not to be the case. Frankly, I’ve a feeling the Anglo Saxons were rather tempting fate there. I wonder how different English history might have been if they’d just had the foresight to name their town “HaveANiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown”.

Another revelation from the weekend came in the form of the English wine industry, which turns out not to be the joke you might have thought it is after all. We pulled into this place to have lunch, but not before we’d tried most of their varieties of really surprisingly good wine. We bought a case, of course (and if you ask really nicely next time you’re round at our place, I might even let you try some).

Oh, and completing our attempts to purchase the most inappropriately heavy items to be bringing back on the train, we added to our case of wine by picking up an authentic (and authentically weighty) set of boules, which we’ll be taking to Regent’s Park on the next sunny day: previously we’ve been struck with a serious case of park games envy, feeling that our only item of park paraphernalia (a Frisbee we got free at Glastonbury a few years ago that says “GM Foods: Pull the Udder One” underneath a picture of a cow) wasn’t quite cutting it. But now we have boules, so we win, obviously.