Saturday, 31 August 2013

Say goodbye to another High Street shop!!

It's time to say goodbye to another Tonbridge High Street shop. The Supreme Card and Party Shop closes today and everything seems to be selling out fast. It's sad to see the town lose another shop, and according to the shop assistant it's going to be vacant for the time being.

Time Please - Iconic Tonbridge Landmark For Sale

There's a 'For Sale' sign at The Castle on Tonbridge Big Bridge. It's always been a pub but I wonder whether the tradition will continue. What would you like to see here?

Friday, 30 August 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #293 - Path Permanently Closed - No Access to Castle

Earlier this year the east curtain wall path was removed, and access to the castle via this route was permanently closed.  

Personally, I was really disappointed by this action having used the path throughout my childhood and adulthood to enter Castle Lawn. I'd slid down the banks on trays in the snow (when there were no Health & Safety concerns and life was maybe more exciting) and rolled down the slope during summers. My children did the same. No doubt many other Tonbridge residents now miss this entry point and the stunning views it allowed.  Even last year the path enabled our very own Dame Kelly Holmes to descend its length to bring the Olympic Flame to Tonbridge.

But ... now's it's gone because a survey found an instability of the earth embankment below the curtain wall. According to TMBC it was considered that this  'MIGHT, if left unchecked, also damage the fabric of the Ancient Monument and give rise to issues of public safety'. After consultation with English Heritage the removal of the path was the 'preferred solution, being a readily achievable, less intrusive and more cost effective way forward'. One can interpret that as one wishes, but it could read as an easy, quick and cheap solution. Maybe that was the best way? Maybe it could have become unstable in the future, dangerous to the public and the historical wall damaged. Maybe it could have been saved. But now there are no more maybe's ... now this access has been lost.

In a recent article in the Tonbridge Civic Society newsletter Peter Charlton called for a clean-up of the former path and area:-

'We are appalled by the state in which the ground has been left below the Castle Wall after the highly expensive removal of the 'unsafe' path, from which both we and many tourist used to get one of the best views of Tonbridge.

Even is there is no possibility of the path being re-instated, it is high time that something is done to improve the appearance of this weed-infested unkempt eye-sore, with cheap inappropriate fencing, in the very centre of the town.'

Yesterday, I did  pass this area and noticed a couple of workmen precariously balanced on the slope chopping down bushes and cutting the grassy bank. So, perhaps a clean-up is starting.

What do you think? Do you think this was a loss? Don't you care? Will you be happy to see this area cleaned up and planted? I'd love to see a bank of daffodils and crocuses in the Spring and the slope planted with flowers. Maybe even the word 'Tonbridge' in flowers. Any ideas? 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #292

Floating leisurely on the River Medway is a great way to spend a lazy sunny day in Tonbridge, and it's also a way of seeing the town and sportground/park from a different perspective. Boats are for hire by the Big Bridge during the summer months, and I did notice a pedalo on the water over the weekend, so that's perfect for those who aren't too confident about being the oarsman.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Dog Show and Fete in Pictures


Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #291
When I was a child I spent many happy weekends taking rides on this miniature railway, and my children loved these little steam engines too.

Year after year the puffing steam trains are the cause much excitement, happy faces, waves and lines of children waiting for their turn to ride around the circular track in Tonbridge Sportsground.

It's good to see that simple childhood pleasures just don't change.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #289 - A Tonbridge Bee
'Bees are in serious trouble. Their numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, affected by disease, chemicals and habitat loss. Since 1900, the UK has lost 20 species of bee. A further 35 bee species are considered to be under threat of extinction.' (Friends of the Earth)

I managed to get a close up photo of this bee in a Tonbridge garden and didn't even get stung. If you look carefully at the wings you can see all the minute details and patterns, and the bee does look rather soft and fluffy even though it has the ability to give a very painful sting. I'm quite proud of this shot.

Recently a new Tonbridge and Malling Friends of the Earth Group was formed, and they held their first event dressed as bees to raise funds and awareness of the Friends of the Earth Bee Cause.

The group took part in the Tonbridge Lions organised circular charity walk that began and ended at Shipbourne Village Hall passing through the surrounding open fields and Igtham Moat. Over £100 was raised for the Bee Cause.
If anyone would like to join in future environmentally friendly activities , you can get in touch by emailing

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo # 288 - Feather at Barden Lake
If you take a walk around Barden Lake at the moment the surrounding banks are covered in a snowstorm of feathers. I presume they come from the many Canada Geese currently at the lake, or are they from the swans. Does anyone know?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Waste Paper Recycling in Tonbridge

You could help raise funds for Tonbridge charities by the simple task recycling your unwanted waste paper.

The  Tonbridge Lions’ covered waste paper skip at The Little Orchard site in Higham Lane (Sign Apple Logs) is filled about 4 times a year.

This means that about 40 tonnes of waste paper in the form of newspapers, brochures, magazines, junk mail, directories and catalogues are recycled to Aylesford newsprint and kept out of landfill.

This activity raises just over £2000 a year, which is used to help meet the costs of local welfare cases and Tonbridge charities.

The store is open for collections on the first Saturday of each month from 9 to 11.30 am.

Next collections are Saturday September 7 and Saturday October 5.

Feel free to deliver your waste paper during these times or contact Ken on 01732 352935 for more details.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #287 - Peaceful pastural scene on outskirts of Tonbridge

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #285
Paul Bonner Williams spotted this unusual structure on a Tonbridge rooftop, and sent the image to Tonbridge Daily. He asked if I had ever seen it, and to be honest I have never noticed the strange roof addition, but he gave me his idea as to what it might be other than the 'smallest house in Tonbridge'.
I did take a look at it yesterday and it's certainly unusual - could it be a 'folly', a pigeon house, a look out or something a little more dull.

So firstly, do you recognise where this is in our town, and secondly what is, or was, its purpose?????

I love the two pigeons perched either side of the little house. Thanks to Paul for sending the photo to Tonbridge Daily - it will be interesting to find out what it is.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #284
This photograph was sent to Tonbridge Daily by Tonbridge resident Fred Long showing the Sinatra entertainment on the Castle Lawn in full swing. The view through the Castle's 13th century gatehouse entrance and open doors welcomes onlookers to the concert.  I really like this shot. Thanks Fred for sharing.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Tonbridge Enjoys Sinatra

This afternoon Tonbridge enjoyed another free Sunday concert on the Castle Lawn.  A Sinatra tribute act entertained as very happy crowd sung along to many favourites, such as 'My Way' and 'Come Fly With me' The sound-alike crooner attracted young and old, all who had come along for a relaxing afternoon of Old Blue Eyes classics against the backdrop of Tonbridge Castle.

Next Sunday will be your last opportunity to enjoy a free Castle Lawn concert this year, so pack a picnic, blanket or chairs and bring the family along to relax and listen to The Bells Yew Brass Band. Refreshments will be provided by The Hildenborough WI.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #283 - A walk along the river

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Clean this up please!!!!

The Big Bridge is looking really clean at present and the new paintwork is showing off the ironwork features to its best advantage. I do hope that the Little Bridge, made by the same Tonbridge Foundry in Avebury Avenue, will now get the TLC it too deserves as it's looking a little jaded.

Situated outside the Shaw Trust on the Little Bridge is the most decorative ironwork I have come across in Tonbridge. I believe it too was made by Gray Brothers of Avebury Avenue, but it is far more delicate and intricate in design. However, it is in a poor condition and in desperate need of a clean. I don't know who is responsible for the wrought ironwork, but whoever that may be is allowing it to fall into disrepair. This is directly in the High Street and doesn't do the town any favours. It would be good to see this cleaned up and renovated so that everyone can enjoy this little bit of history in our town.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #282 - Lunch by the river
Tonbridge sadly doesn't make the best use of it's river frontage. I personally would like to see more cafes and facilities along the Tonbridge Medway. Maybe in summer a number of decent pop-up cafes would be well received. I've always thought that River Walk where it backs onto the Weatherspoon garden is an underused spot with a great view of Big Bridge and The Castle. What do you think?

Friday, 16 August 2013

Tis the Season to be Jolly

Fa la la la la la la la la
Don we now our gay apparel
Fa la la la la la la la la
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol
Fa la la la la la la la la
See the blazing Yule before us
Fa la la la la  ...  Hang on a moment

Tonbridge High Street in August

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #281

This photo was sent to me by Robert Morschel. I thought it was a bit of fun so I thought I'd share it on Tonbridge Daily.

However, getting back to the serious facts, according to Tonbridge Weather Notes (1692-1800) Tonbridge did feel the shock of an earthquake on 8 September 1692. The entry for that day is 'Houses in Deal were shaken, chimneys fell, kitchen utensils were thrown from the shelves and beds shook. Several houses and the Norman Castle in Tonbridge were damaged'.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Tonbridge Then and Now

Then - Kimmins The Confectioner c1892

Now - The Pepper Grinder

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Thousands of Hop-pickers used to travel to Tonbridge and the surrounding area to spend the season between August and September gathering hops on local farms.

For their use, special roadside shacks adjoining the pubs served drinks with tankards fixed by chains to stop the thefts of the drinking pots.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #280
This serene shot of a pigeon on the castle curtain wall was taken by Adam Norris, Manager of The Flying Coffee Bean in Tonbridge. I think it works really well in black and white - thankyou Adam for sharing this photo on Tonbridge Daily

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Pigeon shooting competitions were held behind the Bull Hotel (now Peacocks). In 1872 competitors organised a sweepstake and the 1st prize was £19.

The Bull Hotel (right)
Shared by Tonbridge Historical Society Pictorial Collection No. 14A.126

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #279
It's a perfect warm summer day for a walk or a run around Barden Lake.  Don't be tempted to cool off in the water though as swimming is not allowed.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Local Fungi

Boletus Luridus
I've noticed that in our local woodlands around Tonbridge fungi are slowly appearing. They spring up silently during the night, and are usually well hidden and camouflaged.  During a walk yesterday I found clusters of Lurid Boletus (Boletus Luridus), and was pretty excited as many species of Boletus are edible, but others are poisonous, and some just bitter. So what had I found? Luckily I have access to a professional who knows his stuff where edible mushrooms are concerned, and he advised me to leave these behind, as although they are edible when cooked they can cause gastric upsets, so they weren't worth bothering with.

Ganoderma Applanatum
I also found this amazing Bracket Fungus (Ganoderma Applanatum) on the base of a tree trunk. They're very happy there and can usually be found on beech and sometimes pine too. This one is an Artist's Bracket or sometimes known as an Artist's Conch. They are not poisonous but neither are they edible.

NEVER pick mushrooms in the wild unless you are 100% sure of what they are. NEVER take the risk as your mistake can be fatal. There are plenty of local fungi forays so it's advisable to join a group led by an expert. You'll be safe that way.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #278 - Ooooops!!!!!!
Tonbridge resident Martin Best spotted this faux pas in Iceland's car park on The Botany. He said he hadn't noticed it before, but it's probably been there for sometime.  Thanks Martin for allowing Tonbridge Daily to use your photograph.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Tonbridge Lions Annual Diabetic Day

The Tonbridge Lions Annual Diabetic Day took place in the Angel Car Park, Tonbridge last Saturday. Four qualified Medix Nurses undertook the examinations led by Senior Nurse Mrs Barbara Plumb.  A healthy blood sugar level that is acceptable is in the range 4 - 7.

254 people presented themselves for examination and seven were referred to their General Practitioner for further examination and advice.

His Worship the Mayor, Cllr Howard Rogers along with the Mayoress, Mrs Jane Rogers were accompanied by the Lion President Keith Bourne and Mrs Valerie Bourne at the screening and were tested by the nurses.

The Tonbridge Lions Diabetic Screening has been taking place since the year 2000 and 3558 people have been examined of which between 6 and 7 per cent have been referred for further examination to their GP.

The Chairman of the Tonbridge Lions Health Group, Lion Russell Dorling whose Committee organised the Screening, said  “I am delighted with the response we have had today and cannot emphasise how important it is to have blood sugar levels examined in adulthood when early detection of high sugar levels can prevent serious consequences of diabetes in later life.  My thanks go out to all those people that made the day such a success.”

Photo – TMBC Mayor Cllr Howard and Mrs Jane Rogers with Medix Nurses Amanda Weeks and Barbara Plumb with Tonbridge Lions’ President Keith and Mrs Valerie Bourne.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #277
Every Sunday afternoon throughout August there will be a free concert in the idyllic setting on Tonbridge Castle Lawn. Yesterday the Bells Yew Big Band entertained a large crowd with fabulous smooth swing of times gone by. There was a lot of foot tapping going on, family picnics, while others were stretched out and laying back in the sunshine relaxing to the jazzy sweet and romantic melodies. This is Tonbridge relaxing!!!!!!

Bells Yew Big Band - the umbrella is a sun shade - no rain on this occasion

There will be two further free Sunday concerts this month. Next weekend on Sunday 18 August a Sinatra Tribute Vocalist will be singing 'Strictly Sinatra'. The last concert of the month is on Sunday 25 August and will be performed by The Oxted Brass Band. Both concerts take place on The Castle Lawn  from 3 to 5pm

Bring your own chair if you're not into lounging around on the grass. Members of the Hildenborough WI will be providing refreshments in the Council Chamber. Sadly the cakes were not their own magnificent home baking, but a supermarket brand. I was slightly disappointed by this as there's nothing like a delicious WI cake.