Canterbury Cathedral Gardens Open Day

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 27th May 2012


I woke this morning feeling very down because my son flew back last night to his home in Sydney. He absolutely loves it there, just as I did in the 60’s and he’s no intention of coming back. I’m so pleased for him but I do miss him so very much.

Anyway at least I had my duty to look forward to at the Cathedral. I hadn’t realised that the Gardens were open for the whole weekend and had decided not to pay a visit as I don’t really enjoy visits on my own when there’s no one with whom to discuss events.

Because the service had been a particularly long one, the Audio guide desk wasn’t open when the visitors started arriving. One couple, who wanted a guide,  asked me a question and I detected an Australian accent so gave them the two leaflet guides – the normal Cathedral guide and the Australia way. Everything was a bit behind and I stayed at the Welcome Desk for a while as the visitors were pouring in.   Then I made my way to the Martyrdom intending to tell the Australians that the Audio Guide Desk was open but they were happy to listen to me.

They were very interested in the potted history of Henry II and his relationship with Becket and the intrigues which led to his murder. They were the sort of ‘guests’ I really enjoy – lapping up everything. We sort of bonded especially when I discovered that they were originally from Cape Town and had emigrated to Australia in the 80’s - South Africa and Australia are my two of my most favourite places.

After I’d finished my duty they asked me to join them for a cup of tea and then we decided to do the Garden Visit. The day could not have been more sublime – hot without being sultry and it was great to wander round the gardens of the Dean and several of the Canons with the scent of roses in the air.   We actually spoke to the Dean who was very charming and my new found friends were thrilled to have had the experience.

When we parted we both said that each had made the other’s day. They also said they would be very upset if I didn’t visit them next time I see Jonathan in Sydney but when that will be is anyone’s guess. The journey is so long and exhausting, the fare so pricey and the cost of living in Sydney is excruciatingly expensive especially with our weak pound. Ah well, I shall continue to do the Lottery and live in hope.

Just before leaving the Cathedral I popped into the Bastion Chapel which I understand has not been open to the public before. It is a tiny chapel actually in the City Walls and is now used by the Men of Kent. One of the guides gave me a description of the Chapel and the Memorial Garden but, as it was her last copy, I had to give it back but not before I read that the Memorial Cross has on it a carved Cross of Lorraine and a Templar’s sword.

Because I hadn’t intended doing the Garden visit, I didn’t have my camera which was very unfortunate. I did take a few photos on my mobile phone but, like the ones I took in Paris, they are still sitting there!!

If it is any good and once I can get it off, I’ll probably show you a photo of the Flop -eared Bunny which holds court in the Dean’s garden. Well you know what I’m like with animals!

Bye for now. Jan

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