Why’s My Cat Fat?

Most owners know that their cats are obligate carnivores.  This means feline bodies do not produce all the essential amino acids for survival.  Cats must consume meat to obtain taurine or they will die.  Taurine deficiency can result in various conditions including blindness, tooth decay, enlarged heart and lowered immune response.

For most of their evolutionary past, cats were busy little rodent killers.  They earned a place beside man’s hearth by keeping the mice and rats under control.  Consuming rodents and other small animals provides cats with the taurine they need.  While the modern house kitty may catch and even eat the occasional mouse, most cats subsist on commercial diets.  These are supposed to be balanced foods that meet the nutritional needs of felines.

Unfortunately, far too many house cats are overweight.  I worked for eleven years as a veterinary technician and saw an inordinate number of over-weight kitties.  In the photo above of my own cats, the cat at the bottom, Toby, is quite hefty.  He started out at an optimal weight and body condition and stayed there the first seven years of his life.  His weight gain started when he developed bladder infections and began receiving moist food every evening.  Because I have a multi-cat household, I always have dry food available free-choice and Toby really pigged out.  He is a large-framed cat anyway.  With the extra weight, he topped the scales at nearly 19 pounds.

Over the years I’ve owned many cats.  Most were within fairly normal weight ranges with a few exceptions.  Some just ballooned to overweight as they reached senior age, about 7 years old.  Perhaps the gain was due to lower activity levels.  Or maybe something else is going on?

A review of the guaranteed analysis of the nutritional content of commercial cat food reveals that most dry food provides about 0.1% to 0.2% taurine.  This includes many high end brand names and even prescription diets.  Moist cat food has a taurine content of about 0.05-0.2% with more expensive brands generally having more of the amino acid.  Semi-moist cat foods are in the same boat.  Sometimes the taurine levels in cat food are not even provided on the package.  The consumer must make an effort to find the information.

Taurine is highly water soluble.  It is not possible to over-feed taurine since excess is excreted.  Most cat food is supplemented with taurine due to a significant loss of the amino acid during the cooking process.  Studies indicate the average cat requires 75-100 mg of taurine per day.  Experiences with my own cats leads me to suspect the requirement is actually higher.

For most of Toby’s adult life, he ate only Purina Complete Cat Chow, a dry food.  This was available free choice.  Then at age seven he also started getting 1/2 can of moist Friskies pate per day.  The taurine content of Cat Chow is 0.15% and Friskies canned is 0.05%.  Within a few months the cat’s weight gain was obvious.  It just got worse and worse.  At 16 he was that very heavy cat in the photo.  He also had serious problems with chronic yeast ear infections.

One of my dogs had very itchy skin with chronic yeast in the ears.  After he was switched to a non-chicken diet, his itching and grungy ears all went away.  He had a chicken allergy.  I wondered if my cat had the same problem.  Chicken is a cheap and easily obtained protein that crops up in a majority of commercial pet foods.  During my search for a dry cat food without chicken, I stumbled across Farmina Natural and Delicious.  Beginning in mid-January of 2018 (about one year ago) I changed all my cats to dry Farmina and also cut out as much chicken as possible from the moist food I offer every night.  I also feed about 20% Science Diet Dental Care (a dry food with a large kibble size to encourage chewing) to help keep the cats’ teeth clear of tartar.  This food contains chicken.  We’ve tried to go without Dental Care, but the tartar tends to build up.

Within a few months of the food change, Toby’s ear infections cleared up.  No more scratching at his ears, no more heavy build-up of dark, thick waxy discharge.  He was a happy cat.  The small amount of chicken in the Dental Care didn’t seem to affect him.

Then I began to notice another change.  He was losing some weight.  Another of my cats, Chloe, a female of 5 to 6 years, also had lost some weight.  She had been getting too chunky around the middle.  Now she looked great!  One of my younger cats, Kai, a three-year-old, had been gaining weight and losing the tucked-in waistline of his younger days.  On the new diet he had slimmed down.  All my cats’ coats were looking more sleek and shiny with less shedding and they seemed to have more energy.  What was going on here?

I studied the Farmina label and discovered it contained 0.4% taurine, almost four times the level found in most cat food brands.  The cats were consuming less food, lowering their caloric intake.  My hypothesis is that cats over-consume and gain weight in an effort to ingest sufficient quantities of taurine.  With lowered food intake, all my overweight cats reduced their weight.  Today Toby is about 15 lbs and actually has a waist!

In June of this year we acquired two tiny kittens.  They have grown up eating only free-choice Farmina, moist Friskies pate and Dental Care.  They have the most exquisite, silky, shiny coats and amazing muscle tone.  Their little arm muscles fairly bulge!  These kittens have great body condition, as do all the other cats in the house.  At age 18, even though Toby has arthritic hips, he is active and often playful.  I believe he is feeling much better than before his new diet.  I wonder if other owners of over-weight cats tried increasing taurine levels that they would discover the same results?  It’s worth a try!

Disclaimer:  I do not recommend any particular brand of cat food, do not make endorsements, and have not received benefits or consideration from any cat food manufacturer.




A Shivery Update

This is an update to the shivery tale I wrote of on the 13th.  For those who prefer not to read about psychic experiences, just skip this entry.  I am merely recording my perceptions, my actions and what occurred as a result.

A week-and-a-half ago, when the family was out of the house, I went to the neighbors to deal with their troublesome entity.  Prior to my visit, I met with a gifted psychic.  I like to get her impression of the entity I will be contacting.  In this case she felt the ghost seen by the neighbor child was a man who was hesitant to pass over due to his misdeeds in this life.  The psychic warned that this ghost was not benign.  He had ill-will toward the child and was oppressing her.  I suspected the oppression extended to the others in the home as well.

After several days of energy building, I entered the house.  As always, the place felt heavy and dark to me.  I frequently get this sensation in areas that have hosted many years, or layers, of lives.  Wearing various crystals that are supposed to improve my vibration, I proceeded to cleanse the house.  Everyone has their own method for smudging.  I light several sticks of incense and carry them with a bowl underneath to catch the ash.

First, every door and drawer is opened so the incense smoke will flow freely.  Beginning on the north wall of the cellar, I blew the smoke toward the corners of all the walls.  It is important to make your intentions clear by chanting (I mostly chant silently) a benediction sanctifying the house to the light, that only good may remain.  Because I suspected the long, dark crawl space in one part of the cellar was a good hiding place, I spent several minutes blowing smoke in the hole.  It was a still day and it took plenty of lung power to move the incense into the space.  Suddenly the smoke was blowing back in my face instead of moving away with my breath.  I felt something flow past me out of the crawl space.

I continued to smudge the cellar, then went upstairs to sweep the main floor.  Smoke had to be sent into every nook and cranny; the tiny attic space, every closet, even into the oven and microwave.  Then I sealed every entryway with finely crushed Himalayan pink salt.  Last, I sat at the table with the incense still smoking, lit a white candle, read aloud the 23 Psalm (my favorite passage) and rang a small, high pitched brass bell.  Then I concentrated on listening to whatever entities were present.

I got the distinct impression of two individuals.  One was an older male named James who was from around the 1840s.  The other was younger, a child.  I’m not sure if it was male or female.  This entity had been there considerably longer than the James person.  I informed both that they were dead, no longer meant to be in this place.  I enjoined them to think of their loved ones and to look toward the light.  I saw them take the hands of those who came with the light for them.

When they had left, the house felt brighter and lighter as though a weight was lifted.  I closed all the doors and windows.  Before I left the property, I buried the remains of the incense in the snow to end the communication.

Then I waited to hear about any changes the neighbors noticed.  A week later I spoke with them.  The shadows seen from the corners of their eyes had disappeared immediately.  Since the day of the cleansing, there had been no more tampering with the controls for the woodstove, something that had been happening every night.  The child no longer heard noises in the closet, saw toys moving or had her hair touched.  She was sleeping all night in her room without nightmares.  The father said the house felt more cheerful to him.

This is all great news!  I am hoping the bad times have ended for this family.  The oppressive, unhealthy influence seems to have left their lives.  Sometimes after a cleansing, all the entities present do not leave.  They find ways to hide and work their way back into the house.  The next few months will show if I have to go back and repeat the process or perform something more aggressive.  So far, so good.  Except, my neighbors told me about someone they know who is being troubled by an entity.  And the work goes on…

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Waffles

For the comfort food factor, little can beat warm waffles fresh off the iron.  The soft pockets of the waffles soak up syrup and melted butter.  Each bite has a crispy outer crunch with a soft, juicy center.  So yummy on a cold winter morning.  I use whole wheat flour so I can pretend waffles are good for me.

While waffles can be served with dozens of delicious topping, I like mine with fresh Maine butter and steeped in maple syrup from our farm.  No additional sides of bacon, ham or scrambled eggs are necessary (although all will add to a hearty breakfast,) just give me lots of waffles!  They taste the very best when served on my collection of Syracuse Dogwood restaurant ware dishes.

This recipe is one I’ve adapted and it works well.  I use the very vintage GE waffle maker my mother-in-law gave me.  It’s still going strong.  Have the waffle irons pre-heated to medium.  Too warm and they burn, too cool and they stick.  Don’t lubricate the irons with anything unless the manufacturer recommends it.  When they are done, the waffles will lift easily away from the hot irons.

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Waffles

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk or lowfat (1.5%- 2%) milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup oil

If you do not have buttermilk, make your own by heating the milk to 70F then stir in the lemon juice.  Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the milk to clabber.  Meanwhile sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk eggs in a separate bowl until very foamy.  Use a large whisk to stir the moist ingredients into the dry.  Do not over beat.  Pour batter onto hot irons, cook until golden brown.

For even fluffier waffles, separate the eggs, adding the yolks in with the other wet ingredients.  Beat the whites until fluffy and gently fold into the batter as the last ingredient.

Cooked waffles refrigerate for a coupe days or freeze well and are great reheated in the toaster.  Why pay for store-bought weird ingredient waffles when it is so easy to make your own?




A Shivery Tale

This is a chilly tale for the dying end of the year and the rattly-cold bones of December.  One of my neighbors is a little girl of ten.  I will call her Jill.  She is cute and sweet and very personable.  I learned that, much to everyone’s surprise, Jill’s first report card for fifth grade included two failing grades.  She had always brought home good report cards, As and Bs, mostly.  No fails.  Since I have experience with tutoring, I offered to help Jill a couple times a week with her homework.  Assistance was needed for math and social studies.  Math was her worst subject.  For those who have encountered it, this is Common Core Math.  Just the name can be scary!

I did some quick brushing up on Common Core math and realized it’s not very tough.  Seems the education planners of America want students to learn how to do math in their heads rather than with paper and pencil or…gasp…a calculator.  Once attempted and understood, Common Core is just like every other type of math:  an exercise for the mind, similar to a game.  For those who advance on in the Sciences, math is an essential tool.  For the average Joe, math is great for figuring out change, making sure the boss got your paycheck right, or perhaps useful in a home carpentry project.  It’s nice to be able to at least have an average showing in math.  Failing the subject is not so good.

The first several lessons with me, Jill struggled.  The biggest problem seemed to be her inability to concentrate.  She could not recall information she had just heard.  The poor child could not remember how to do a long multiplication problem from one example to the next.  Forget long division, a nearly impossible feat for her.  Yet, she knew her times tables nearly perfectly.  She was a good reader, although her vocabulary and spelling needed work.  What was going on here, that suddenly a child who could memorize multiplication facts could not remember what she had learned from one problem to the next?  Her attention span was only seconds long.  She started yawning after about ten minutes of math.

I began to suspect that Jill had a problem with getting enough sleep.  Children can’t concentrate if they are sleep deprived.  Her parents verified that she often went to bed late and then woke in the middle of the night.  Multiple times per week the parents would be roused by Jill sitting on the floor in their room watching tv in the wee hours of the morning.  They did not know why.  I decided to ask the child.

What she told me came as a surprise.  She was afraid in her room.  There were noises at night, scratching and scampering sounds like mice in the closet and on the shelves.  Her cat, who slept with her, would hear the noises and investigate.  It never caught a mouse or other critter.  The toys in her room would move on their own, rocking and sometimes falling over.  She could see dark shapes passing around her from the corners of her eyes.  And worst of all, something played with her hair.  Locks would be lifted in the air and often pulled by an unseen hand.

Jill had told her parents she was afraid of noises in her room.  She asked her dad if he believed in ghosts.  Yet she did not elaborate on the subject and seemed to accept pedestrian explanations for the noises.  Then I learned she had seen an actual ghost several times.  There was an old man sitting in a chair out on the back lawn.  He would wave to Jill and when she returned the gesture, he would smile.  The first time she observed this apparition, she was less than three years old.  When she asked her mother who the man was, her mother could not see anything.  Perhaps that was the beginning of Jill keeping the things she saw and heard to herself.  Unfortunately, by the time she got to be ten, these things were affecting her school performance.  She could not sleep at night because the ghost, as she called it, would not let her.

Determined to help Jill, who is only an innocent and defenseless child, I set out to learn what I could.  I told the parents just what was going on.  They were receptive to the extraordinary story and the dad admitted he saw shadows walking around all the time as well.  Articles often went missing, and strange, unexplained occurrences were a regular part of life for the family.  The home where Jill lives is built on the foundation of a house that burned.  The rock-walled cellar must be at least two hundred years old.  The home and land have been in Jill’s family for many generations, so the entity troubling her could well be an ancestor.

I have taken it upon myself to help Jill and her family.  With several episodes of dealing with ghostly visitations under my belt, I can offer some support and assistance.  In addition to instructing in school work, I am also Jill’s new psychic tutor.  Primarily, I am a confidant whom she can trust and who has the personal experience necessary to draw out the fears she has kept hidden.  I’ve taught Jill how to protect herself from being intruded upon by entities when she is sleeping.  She has also learned that she can speak to the ghost, telling it to go away and leave her alone.  This entity may be following her.  She described an event that happened this week in the school library.  She was reading by herself and some invisible person started plucking hairs out of her head, one at a time.  Ouch.  She told it to stop.  She must have said it too loudly because the people nearby gave her strange looks.

The girl likely has psychic potential and may be a magnet for entities throughout her life.  I want to help her understand and accept who she is, and how to control her abilities to protect herself.  Maybe one day she will choose to pursue honing her psychic gifts.  In the meantime, I will consult with a learned psychic who has advised me in the past before I attempt to contact and move on this lingering ghost.  My hopes are that within a couple weeks the problem can be cleared from my neighbors’ lives and Jill may once again bring home great report cards.

Traffic Accidents

This accident happened a few days ago on our road.  We own about one-third mile frontage on Rte. 139.  It is a high speed road with vehicles routinely traveling in excess of 70 mph.  The speed limit is 55.  The route connects the western part of the state with the interstate highway system and it sees more than its share of heavy truck traffic, speeding commuters and tourists in a rush.  The volume of traffic passing our house on this road is higher than the volume of traffic moving through our town on the interstate highway.  Hard to imagine there are so many vehicles roaring by our home every day.  But, it is true, the state has done traffic surveys.  Rte. 139 is a wide, well-built roadway with full breakdown lanes so that four vehicles could pass abreast, if they tried.

The accident occurred around 4 pm, just before twilight on a clear, dry day.  There was plenty of daylight.  I was in the house and heard two huge bangs very close together.  Since loud road noise is a fact of life here, I didn’t think much of the bangs until traffic started backing up by the house.  Checking out a window, I could see vehicles parked in the road with their emergency flashers going.  Looked like the trouble was about one-quarter mile away.

I walked up through our orchards and found one small SUV sideways in the middle of the road (seen in the photo above,) a tractor-trailer rig stopped about 200 feet down the road and a van backwards down the slope from the road in our woods.  The SUV was smashed front and rear and the van had the front end crushed.  A tire had come off the trailer of the 18-wheeler and rolled down the road at high speed to strike an oncoming car.  All traffic was at a standstill.

The driver of the SUV was trapped in his car.  He was moving around inside, but could not get out.  The van driver was out and seemed ok.  The semi driver was unhurt as were the occupants of the car hit by the tire.  No one could get the doors of the SUV open.  The SUV was steaming from a broken radiator.  Luckily none of the vehicles was in danger of fire.  As I studied the damage and situation of the various involved vehicles, I could guess at what happened.

The SUV was stopped in the road, waiting to turn left up a driveway.  The van driver somehow failed to see the blocked lane and slammed into the rear of the SUV at high speed.  I couldn’t see any skid marks on the road that would indicate braking by the van.  The impact from the collision drove the SUV into the first rear tire of the 18-wheeler, which was also likely going at highway speed of at least 50 mph.  The truck would have been just regaining speed after climbing a short hill.

The force of the SUV tore the truck tire from its mount and sent it careening down the road.  It rolled at least 100 feet before striking the car.  Luckily, it was just the tire without the heavy steel rim.  The van was whipped sideways by the collision and sent slipping backwards down our hillside until our trees stopped it some 80 feet from the road.  The slope is steep, about 40-45 degrees.  How the van driver could have not seen the turning car and maneuvered around it in the wide breakdown lane is beyond me.  The first crash I heard was the van hitting the SUV.  The second was the SUV hitting the truck.

We live eight miles from town.  It takes fire and police at least ten minutes to respond to accidents out our way.  People were doing what they could to help the accident victims.  The road was completely blocked, the endless traffic piling up for miles on both sides of the crash.   Finally we could hear sirens in the distance.  Before long rescue had secured the site and police were routing cars on a detour.  It took about an hour to extricate the SUV driver.  A firefighter and a police officer told me everyone in the accident would be all right.

After I heard no one lost their life, I began to think about what was lost.  The van and SUV were obviously totaled.  The trailer truck could be repaired.  The car hit by the tire was not too badly damaged.  Our land was damaged.  The broken van destroyed a small ash tree that stopped its descent.  The van then sat leaking oil and antifreeze for three hours.  Smashed plastic, metal and glass was scattered over our property.  When the van was finally towed out of the woods, it left a trail of oil and anti-freeze all the way up to the road.

This accident is at least the sixth I can think of that has occurred on our land in the last thirty years since the old road was rebuilt and turned into a high-speed, high-volume connector.  Every accident has resulted in some sort of damage to us.  Killed trees, rutted fields, leaked fluids, debris strewn far and wide.  We get to clean it up.  We never hear from the individuals involved in the crashes.  There is no compensation for our time or aggravation.

Who gives a second thought to the property owners damaged by irresponsible drivers?  The destruction is not at a level that makes a court claim worthwhile.  How do I charge a driver or insurance company for the polluting fluids leaked on my land?  Or the time and energy it takes to fill in the foot deep channels left in a soggy field after a car goes across it?  Or how about the effort required to pick up thousands of large cotter pins spilled from a truck that rolled into the orchard?  Not to mention hours spent collecting bits of smashed plastic, glass and metal car parts or the cost of disposal.  The giant truck tire is still lying beside the road near our grape vineyard.  It will likely be there till spring when the state cleaning crew makes a hurried pass through our area.

No, our sort of injury does not make the pages of the newspaper.  Rescue and police personnel do not clean up wrecks beyond towing away the large bits and sweeping the small bits to the roadside.  It’s difficult to not feel considerable resentment for the road and the traffic.  Beyond the noise, air pollution and thoughtless littering from thousands of vehicles, there is always accident cleanup.

Apple Trees and Rodents

For the last few days I’ve been busy painting fruit trees before the cold weather arrives.  I bought 18 cans of flat white latex spray paint, a sizable investment.  My fingers got sore from all the spraying.  Most of the trees in the orchard got a coat of paint from the ground up at least 2 ft on the trunk, the average snow depth.

Painting the trunks is supposed to deter the ravages of rodents who crawl through the snow and gnaw on the trees for sustenance during the winter.  Last winter we had a glut of rodents and they killed several adult trees by chewing the bark off the roots, and girdled a bunch more.  This past spring I made bridge grafts over the worse rodent attacks to try and save the trees.  During the summer many of the grafts seemed to take hold.  They are full and robust.  The grafts that failed are shriveled.  The tree below has several healthy grafts.

To protect my work and, hopefully, the trees, I gave them all a good coat of paint.  Rodents are rumored to not chew on trunks covered with paint.  White paint is used because it reflects the winter sunlight, preventing the build-up of excess heat that can damage the bark.  After all this money and effort, my fingers are crossed that the paint does its job.  If not, we may need to say goodbye to our apple orchard.  The majority of the original trees have died over the years, many killed by rodents.  I hope we can save the hundred or so remaining trees.


Town of Sandwich, Kent, UK

My daughter and I just returned from a twelve-day trip to England to visit my mother, who has lived in the UK for about thirty years.  Usually the trip involves tours of local attractions.  This year we went to the town of Sandwich, located near the English Channel between Margate and Dover.  At one time Sandwich was one of the greatest ports in England and is still one of the five Cinque Ports designated by the Crown to protect the coast.

Sandwich is renowned for containing some of the most complete sections of medieval town.  Tourism to view the antiquities began in the 1700s and has not abated.  We stayed at the King’s Arms, an inn built in 1580 on Strand Street.  At that time the street fronted the Stour River.  Since then so much silting-in of the waterway has occurred that there are houses with large backyards on the river side of the street.  The inn was originally called the Queen’s Arms and named for Elizabeth I who visited Sandwich.  The name was changed in 1687, during the reign of James II.

The inn is a charming and largely original structure.  Features such as the cheerful common room with its giant fireplace, huge exposed wooden beams throughout, narrow, steep staircases, and door clearances under six feet high are all proof of this house’s nearly 450 year history.  Our room was number three and our window was the middle one with the orange glow above the parked car on the right side of the first photo.  The elderly single glazed window was quite drafty.  Luckily the weather was warm during our stay.  We had a large, comfortable room with a fireplace that has been closed up.  The included full English breakfast was very good.  The psychic in me is certain residuals of long-gone lives still remain in our room and in the entire building.

Many of the streets in Sandwich are like the one above.  It is single lane, yet accommodates two-way traffic.  Medieval buildings crowd close, their jetties overhanging the sidewalks.  The lane above, Church Street, runs between the King’s Arms and St. Mary’s Church to intersect with Strand Street.  Walking along the streets can be challenging as the traffic is sometimes heavy and the sidewalks are narrow or non-existent.  Many are roughly paved with cobbles.

Sandwich has a long history.  It began as a small settlement on an island in a large, deep harbor.  In AD 43 the Romans established Rutupiae (Richborough) on this harbor.  The population of the area rapidly expanded as the army used Rutupiae for their base in the conquest of Britain.  Sandwich, once known as Lundenwic, stood near the harbor entrance to the wide, deep, important Wantsum shipping channel that ran all the way to London from the sea.  Massive storms with tidal wave surges deposited so much silt with major flooding that the harbor was partially filled in, leaving Richborough high and dry and making Lundenwic the new port town.  After the Romans left, and the Saxons were invaded by Danes, the name was changed to Sandwic, meaning sandy town.  Over time the name morphed into Sandwich.

In the 900s, the town moved to higher ground as continued silting formed a peninsula from the original island.  The channel remained deep enough for large ships.  By the eleventh century Sandwich had become a major English port with a large population and great wealth.  In the middle of that century it was designated a Cinqueport with obligations to provided armed sailing vessels and fighting men for the king in times of war.  In return Sandwich received money from surrounding towns to help with the arming of vessels and men, and privileged trade with the continent free from customs and tolls.

Ever at odds with England, France staged several raids on Sandwich.  In 1217, they burned much of the town.  A toll ferry carried traffic across to Thanet until a bridge was built.  A version of it stands today.  The structure was originally a drawbridge but was rebuilt as the current single lane swing bridge.  Traffic approaches the bridge through the Barbican or David’s (Davis) Gate (photo above.)  The town had been granted the right to have its own municipal court as a cinqueport privilege.  A Guild Hall with a court room was constructed in 1359 that still stands today.  The town had a mayor and all the eligible men of voting age participated in town business including serving on juries.

The Great Storm of 1287 brought a devastating tidal wave storm surge carrying so much silt that the harbor was filled in.  The river remained deep enough for good sized ships to navigate so Sandwich continued as a port two miles inland from the sea.  A wide place in the river called Sandwich Haven provided safe docking for trade ships.  The French attacked several more times including in 1457 when the mayor was killed.  Since that time all the mayors of Sandwich wear black robes of office to signify mourning.  In the 1450s the king became so concerned about attacks by the French that he ordered the town better fortified.  More and higher walls were built and stronger gates.

The end of Sandwich’s days as a port city occurred in the late 1550s when Pope Paul IV lost a large ship. It sank right at the mouth of Sandwich Haven.  Soon silt and sand built up around the wreck effectively stopping up the entrance to Sandwich for large trading vessels.  Attempts to cut a deeper passage failed.

In the 1560s, craftspeople escaping religious persecution in Flanders and France came to England.  Queen Elizabeth granted the refugees licenses to set up shops and manufacture in different parts of England.  Several groups of Dutch weavers moved to Sandwich and began manufacturing broadcloth using wool produced in Kent.  They employed small vessels to carry their goods out to markets.  This created a boom for the Sandwich area.  The photo above is of the Sandwich Weavers building where the Dutch sheltered when they arrived in the area.  Over time many of these weavers became wealthy.

The Dutch influence in Sandwich can also be seen in architecture, ditches, drainage works and farm fields.  Because the area was once part of the sea, it is low, flat and damp.  The Dutch had experience with such conditions.  They drained fields to create farmland and grew crops such as grains, carrots and celery in the sandy soil.  A ditch called the Delf (Old English for ditch) and connected sluices were added in an attempt to bring better water to the town.  It was notorious for unhealthful conditions due to fouled drinking water.  Today the sluices can still be seen, stagnant water filled with duck weed and looking like tiny canals standing below street level in front of homes.  The Delf did not improve conditions as people continued to foul the open waterways and contract illnesses.  An attempt to pump in clean water failed in the 1620s.  The town didn’t have reliable clean drinking water until the late 1800s.

Prosperity brought by the Dutch began to fade in the early 1600s when King James I set up a company of merchants and granted them sole rights to trade in Europe.  With its commercial life strangled, Sandwich faded as a port for anything but the superior crops produced in the area, including its famed carrots.  Poverty became a problem for the locals until tourism began to restore some employment.  The town drew visitors to its quaint, narrow streets and blocks of antique houses.

The fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague (1718-1792) is fabled to have eaten meals made of slices of meat between pieces of bread while gambling in the Guild Hall around 1762.  The sandwich is named for him.  In 1759 Thomas Paine lived for about a year on New Street in a small brick house.  He had settled in Sandwich after marrying.  His wife died a year after the marriage.  He later departed for the American colonies and found fame there as a patriot.

Today Sandwich has much to offer visitors.  Experience the adventure of staying in a medieval inn, take a leisurely stroll on the walkways by the Quay, enjoy a meal in one of the many fine establishments, amble through the ancient streets or hike along a segment of the well kept Coast Path which passes through town on its way around the entire southeastern seaboard.  Sandwich has something for everyone.