First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunrise 4:52 am: Lunch at Watermill House



Returning to a place first visited on their honeymoon 25 years ago, the Dawn Joggers took the train to Benenden, Kent, to visit their good friend Kent Barker, now a radio and video producer, at Watermill House. The male DJ had met Kent when they where both English Speaking Union fellows and Kent's parents, Anthea and Felix, had taken him under their wing while he was at Taunton School in Somerset. The female DJ remembers thinking that Watermill House was the most enchanting "real" place - meaning people she knew actually lived there - she'd ever seen. And it's charm remains, this time along with a lively two-year-old cat named Marmite. Kent's grandfather, Anthony Raine Barker (1880-1963, the after lunch three-mile walk included a stop at the church/village cemetary), purchased the 15th century yeoman farmer's house in 1935 and immediately began restoration of what was then two buildings. Work was stopped when war broke out in 1939 and a sign was posted requesting that the house be saved for posterity. In a history of Watermill House put together by Anthea, it's noted that "the idea of putting this in German was shelved as defeatist." Such was life in the the south of England during the war years. Walking from Watermill House, the surrounding Kent countryside was in spring glory, complete with lambs and open fields with foxes running from glade to glade.

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