Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Welly weather

Yesterday, on our ‘Fête Nationale’ we got the traditional ‘drache nationale’. If you don’t know what a ‘drache’ is, just check out the post I wrote last year about the typical Belgian phenomenon.

I stayed in for the best part of day, just hanging around, cooking myself a nice lunch and watching television. This morning this weather is mostly the same. Overcast, with menacing rain clouds, but not a drop so far. But more rain is expected in the afternoon. So if you want to come on today’s walk with me, you’d better put on your ‘wellies’, which is short for Wellington boots, aka rubber boots.

During my recent stay in Deal I got to see the original Wellington boots, those that used to belong to the great man himself, the Duke of Wellington. This famous noble man and military genius has an unbreakable link with Belgium, as he led the allied armies, that gave Napoleon a run for his money during the battle of Waterloo on June18th, 1815 into victory.

The boots are on display in Walmer castle, at a stone’s throw from Deal. Mats, Teresa and I visited the castle on the second day of my recent stay. After my walk along the pier and the seafront, I met up with them at the B and B and we set out in Mats’ car to Walmer and Kingsdown.

The castle, which is the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinq Ports, is open to the public all year around, with the exception of a few days in August when the Lord Warden is in residence. The castle is beautifully furnished and there are potted plants and flower arrangements everywhere. Although Mats and I had walked by it on numerous occasions in the seventies, when I accompanied him on his daily walk from Kingsdown into Walmer, where he used to play tennis every morning, neither of us had ever actually visited the castle. Teresa admitted that it was at least thirty years or more ago since she had set foot inside the building. So this was the perfect destination for a ‘cultural’ visit.

The income fee was rather steep, £ 7 per person, but turned out to be well worth every penny. We were given a set of headphones each and set out on our audio-guided visit. I admit that we skipped some ‘stations’, but nevertheless managed to see the main ‘attractions’.

The entrance to Walmer Castle.

Mats and Teresa walking towards the entrance.

I guess the plaque beneath the window is the Lord Warden's crest,
but it was impossible to read what it said.

The castle's main corridor.
Don't you just love that colour?!

Lord Wellington's chair and the bed in which he died.

Wellington's authentic boots ...
after which our current rubber boots are named.
If you look closely,
you can see yours truly's shoes reflected in the glass.

There is much more, of course, like Queen Victoria’s bed, the gun terrace and the magnificent gardens. But I’ll keep those for tomorrow’s post.


Anonymous said...

What enormous feet Wellington must have had!

Craig said...

What a cool visit! I love the boots and yes, that is a fab blue!

chm said...

Your new camera makes great pictures, just as you do!

ladybird said...

Veronica, That's exactly what I thought when I saw them!

Craig, Wish I had known that colour when I decorated my apartment. Mind you, I am very fond of my turquoise wall too :)

Chm, Thank you. I'm not so pleased with the fact that you can't magnify them, though. But in the meantime I've figured out that I have been using the wrong settings (only for web use). Which is fine for the blog but doesn't permit you to see all the details. I've changed them and all the photos I will be shooting from now on can be magnified up to a A4 format. Pity it's too late for my little Deal series.