Tuesday, 6 December 2011


340760_10150596394936040_702041039_11937029_219230850_oOn the 2nd Dec, J and I went to see the pantomime Cinderella at the new Marlowe theatre in Canterbury. It was the first time I’ve been to a pantomime (well that I remember) and it was a lot of fun… definitely good for the kiddies Smile


Well autumn is nearly over (indeed by the time I post this, it will be winter)001 but I thought I would write a post about autumn and put some pictures of the colourful leaves. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the changing leaves last year, and it just so happens that they were sooo much better last year. But that could be because there are different trees where I live this year compared to where I lived last year. There are lots of oak trees in Ashtead, and they turn yellow, where as Kent seems to have more of the trees that turn red – I’ve noticed this while on holiday in Kent, and while driving along the motorway.

002Autumn this year has also been considerably different weather-wise, so I guess that could affect how/when the trees turn. In October we had an ‘Indian summer’, and I think that that month was actually warmer on average than summer! I saw a news segment the other day showing that the plants and animals were a little confused – ducklings were hatching, and raspberries were still flowering and ripening! To compare how much warmer it is then last year, on the 24th November, 2010 the top/average temp was 5 degrees Celsius, and a blanket of snow coverage much of the country. Mind you I was in 25C+ temps in Egypt Smile with tongue out This year on the 24th of November the top/average temperature was nearly 10C warmer, at 14C, with snow only in the Scottish highlands, if any at all!! There was also a lot more frosts on the ground and freezing fogs in autumn last year, in fact I haven’t even seen any frost this year, and there has been a couple of days of fog, but definitely not freezing!!

Wildwood Wildlife Park

About 2 miles from the holiday bungalows is Wildwood wildlife park. The park features native animals that used to live abundantly in Britain but that are now predominantly endangered/extinct in the wild. It was a fairly cold day, and unfortunately a lot of the animals were hiding/sleeping. I particularly wanted to see the red squirrels, as they look sooo cute in pictures. The grey squirrels are from America and have been the main cause of diminishing numbers of red squirrels. But the silly things were hiding on the day we went. Sad smile


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Yes, that is a wallaby. Not what you would expect in a British wildlife park, but apparently they were brought from Tasmania, and being in a similar environment, thrived fairly well. I know I said that the park features native British animals but this is the only exception, and funnily enough it’s the first animals you come to as you walk through the entrance!


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Hmm, after reading that you wonder how many people get bitten?! Luckily the snakes were hibernating for the winter.

2011-11-28 Wildwood 063 Raven







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Sorry I forget what these deer are… Possibly Fallow deer?

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Cranes and white stork

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Sheep, again can’t remember what type specifically.

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Bison, gave as a great ‘welcome gift’ when we came to see these guys. Lets just say that their urinary system and bowels are working just fine… Confused smile

2011-11-28 Wildwood 088Red deer





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Fat little robin – he wasn’t in the park, just ‘visiting’ but I’ve never seen such a fat little one, so had to take a picture Smile

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Wild horses. These guys must have thought we had food or something, as the whole group (about 5 of them) walked all the way from one end of the enclosure right up to us.

2011-11-28 Wildwood 097Another small deer. It has a funny name, I can’t remember.





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Lots of different types of owls. I love the little on the right, he was so cute! There were also barn owls, but they were sleeping in a dark hidey hole.

2011-11-28 Wildwood 099All we could see of the fox Smile with tongue out





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Wolves! These ones were hand reared. There was also a wolf pack but they were hiding in the bushes and I only got a glimpse of them, so couldn’t get a photo.

2011-11-28 Wildwood 105All I saw of the red squirrel Sad smile But how cute do they look!







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Farm animals that you could pet including pygmy goats, silly chicken, and rabbits.

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Wild cats – they look just like a big tabby cat, but are certainly not domesticated. And they definitely don’t respond to ‘here kitty kitty’.

The park caters for people with disabilities well. Carers are admitted for free. The path is mainly smooth, but there were a few roots across it, which couldn’t be helped really, and they only small one, so don’t really interfere. At this time of the year there were plenty of leaves on the path as well, but again, as long as you went through them slowly they are not too much bother. There are a couple of places that are inaccessible by wheelchair, but the majority of the park, and the animals are visible to all. In fact, the main area that a person in a wheelchair couldn’t get to is the rat barn, and to be honest, who hasn’t seen a rat before!!

Strode Park Foundation Holiday Bungalows

Before I started working with my current client – J - I had been told that she was getting some renovations done on her house and that while they were being completed J would go into respite care, and I would be ‘jobless’ for a couple of weeks. While we didn’t have a start date, I had been told from the beginning that it would be ‘any time now’. Apparently J had been told that the work would be completed in May. Note that I started with J in May! So, we kind of expected the work to be started within the next couple of weeks. As time went on it became apparent that ‘any time now’, didn’t really mean that.

In the meantime J and I looked into places that she could stay. There was one particular place that she was fairly keen to stay, as it was ‘close’ to her mum’s (although, it wasn’t much closer than where she actually lives). Then some bright spark Smile with tongue out got the idea of looking into accessible holiday accommodation. This would save time/effort taking the money that goes into paying me out of ENA and into the respite care, and I would still be getting paid. It also had the added bonus that Jo would be with a carer that she is familiar with and knows her routine, as well as the freedom that comes from not relying on care staff that are also caring for others.

I found a couple of accommodation places, but by far the one that seemed the most inclusive and value for money was the  Strode Park Foundation Holiday Bungalows, especially as the low season price was £300 per week, for up to 4 people! This is how much extra J would have been looking at to go into respite care anyway, so it seemed like the perfect solution! Well FINALLY we got a date, and if you have been reading along, it gave us just enough time to go on our 2 week ‘holiday’ and get back for me to give handover, and go on my Xmas holidays Smile


Strode Park Foundation is a charity that offers services for people with disabilities. They include nursing care, rehabilitation, lifeskills training, day care, and of course the holiday bungalows. The park is set in 14 acres of land, with gardens, a pond, woodland, and an open air theatre (unfortunately they only have events during the summer months, although there was a Xmas market held on the 2nd Dec). The bungalows are fully accessible with 2 bedrooms, each with 2 beds, all connected by a track ceiling hoist to the bathroom. Even the dining table is height adjustable – which J has enjoyed using!! Especially during the low season the Bungalows are GREAT value for money, but they do go up considerably in summer (£700+/week). But I am definitely impressed with bungalows and so is J (she was almost speechless she was so impressed!), which is the main thing. They also offer midweek and weekend holidays.

The bungalows are located in Herne, Kent. There are many things to see close by that provide nice day trips out, including: Canterbury, Wildwood nature reserve, Herne Bay, and Whitstable. There is also a garden centre with a nice cafe, and a carvery which offers roast meat and all you can eat veg for £3.95!

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Bedroom 1, with two height adjustable beds, and bedroom 2 with standard beds and mattresses. Generous space in the wardrobes and spare blankets/set of bedding for the sofa bed, so can actually fit more than 4 people. And for people who book for more than 1 week (like we did) they come and change the bed sheets for you (bonus!!).

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Hoist turntable, which means you can be hoisted from either room to the the bathroom (or I suppose between rooms). The hoist continues straight to the toilet, which has been good practice for J when she gets her new track hoist straight to her new toilet!

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The fully functional kitchen, with adjustable table, and family room. Dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, cleaning products, toilet paper (obviously for the bathroom) are all included in the price too.

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A spacious patio, with outside table and chairs, and a covered car port. The view from bed 2 of the main house.

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There is a short woodland path, and a duck pond on the grounds. The duck pond is right out the front window of the bungalow.

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The main house, and pond in the gardens.

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Overall, Strode Park Foundation Holiday Bungalows are a great place to stay, and J gives it a rating of 10/10!! I found my bed a little hard to sleep on, and the mattress isn’t that great a quality, as I could feel all the springs in it, but overall it is worthy of a 9.5/10, especially during the low season, as the value for money is unbeatable Smile