Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

March 2011

You only Live Once

Greetings from a rather wet Saturday in February. I’m sat here waiting for a new washing machine to be delivered, so it’s rather nice to spend the time thinking back onto all the great trips & events we’ve done in the last month or so.

Group at Kipps Hostel, Canterbury

After a chilly start to the year, January did at least see us get back to more average weather conditions – although our Canterbury trip seemed to be particularly biting cold! The backpackers hostel we were staying in was very comfortable. On arrival it seemed to be packed with students, but I think they’d been lured there by the free pasta as they’d all evaporated away by the time we got back from the pub. You may notice that pubs feature a lot on this weekend. There are a lot of pubs in Canterbury and we’d come armed with a list of recommendations from John S, who was a former resident of the city.

Saturday saw us doing a city based walk. This took us through the city centre and out along the river with gorgeous views from our (chilly & exposed!) lunch stop on Golden Hill. Now virtually a suburb, this was the traditional spot for pilgrims to get their first view of the city. With the bright lights not that far away, the scent of a tea shop was in our nostrils as we headed back towards the city gates. A brief stop in a French café had us sufficiently thawed out to head back out onto the streets and straight into the West Gate Tower Museum. The West Gate Tower is an impressive remnant of the former city walls and used to house the city gaol. It narrowly escaped demolition in the 70’s by being just big enough to let a double decker bus through. There were lots of opportunities for trying on helmets and admiring the views over the city.

Once we got back to the city centre, the group split with some heading for the Cathedral, others for the shops, whilst we headed underground to the Roman Museum. This takes you below the current street level to a fabulous display of in-situ Roman mosaics, first revealed following bombing in WWII.

Saturday night witnessed another of Andrew’s curry extravaganzas, with enough food to feed a small army rather than the modest 10 of us. The washing down of such excesses of food with some finely chosen real ales, was not so much a choice as a necessity. Luckily we’d scouted out a very nice, quiet pub just around the corner which was ideal.

Sunday’s walk took us slightly out of Canterbury to the rolling Kentish Hills around Pett Bottom. A chilly, but dry day, we enjoyed beautiful views and lovely quaint villages, including Bishopsbourne, the last home of the writer Joseph Conrad. Whilst we gave this a cursory glance, our literary pilgrimage to The Duck in Pett Bottom was rather more reverent. This was the pub where Ian Flemming wrote his last book "You only live twice". Hopefully it wasn’t the pork scratchings that killed him.



A Big Thank You

Judi and John would like to say a big thank you for the whip-round which resulted in a cheque for £54 going to Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in Sheffield, who are caring for their granddaughter, Molly.


Combined Military Services Museum

Thank you Chris for a lovely day out in Maldon. The museum was fascinating and it was a real dilemma to decide whether to continue with the exhibits or take in the bracing coastal scenery. The Queens Head provided the most efficient group pub lunch I think we’ve ever had, I’m only sorry to have missed out on the cakes at Chez Brown.


Moshi Sushi – Chelmsford’s Japanese Restaurant

I had to restrain Dave to stop him sweeping every dish off the conveyor belt before it went past, but apart from that the evening was a delicious success. Thank you Cress for organising it.

Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer