Mr. and Mrs. Anke (Christopher and Bettina Cassidy) live in my favorite English town, the aforementioned Royal Tunbridge Wells, which is in the beautiful county of Kent, south of London. I came upon his blog while researching the Wells for my trilogy. My leading character, Gordon, lives there, you see, and because I'd been through the town any number of times when I lived in Brighton, it always stuck in my mind as a particularly nice place. I had no idea how many colorful characters inhabit the place, though. Perfect, in fact, for a famous rock star's aulde pyle.
I faithfully read the Anke blog because it's packed with local restaurant reviews, interviews with local talent, and insights into life in that town. I was happy enough with this treasure trove of info, but I was doubly pleased last year when Mrs. Anke started her own blog.
Ladybits takes the reader into the boutiques, salons, and tea rooms of Tunbridge Wells and frequently into the Anke home. In fact, these locations often intermingle, especially when Mrs. Anke decides to bring home liquorish ice cream from Taywell's, vintage clothing from the Love Is Boutique, and wine from Hotel du Vin. In her forays about town, she has played kazoo at High Brooms Tavern's regular Ukulele Night Thang, sampled teas at a number of tea rooms and cafes, and has even had her feet nibbled on by tiny fish at Shoales for Soles. (The links lead to her entries, not the actual establishments.)
In a recent entry she posted a photo of a meringue swan that captivated her:
She was so taken by it, in fact, she decided to attempt one of her own for a dinner party:
Her readers have nicknamed the poor thing Nessie and not without good reason. Personally, I like Nessie better and I would have been highly entertained by it had I been at her party.
But this is the kind of delightful person she is. She's witty, clever and affable, and she's not above displaying the self-deprecating humor that I so love in the Brits. She has made it a must for us to meet the next time I am in England and, thanks to her and her husband, I am solidly homesick for a town in which I've never lived. Could there be a genetic memory? The Wallers hailed from Royal Tunbridge Wells since the 15th century, after all (it was first purchased by one Richard Waller, which happens to be my brother's name).
Pay Mrs. Anke a visit, then go visit Mr. Anke. Both are superior blogs!