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Posted on 24th August, 2023



It is thought that hops were originally brought over by the Romans....

Read Helen Swan's fascinating history of local hopping.....

The generally accepted view is that, in order to attack Royalist Maidstone on 1 June 1648 from the southwest, the Parliamentary army crossed the River Medway by way of East Farleigh bridge. However, it is inconceivable that the commanding general, Sir Thomas Fairfax, would have committed seven thousand troops to the single sunken lane leading to the bridge in the face of likely enemy (Royalist) resistance. The reality is that Fairfax split his army and crossed the river at both Teston and Barming, as well as East Farleigh. Part of the army therefore passed through West Farleigh.


What has recently come to light is a letter written by Colonel Edward Whalley, commanding the column that crossed at Teston Bridge, describing the action at West Farleigh. The document was in poor condition, but just readable and commences:-


“…I herewith provide this Account of our successe at West Farley. Upon Thursday 1st June in the Afternoon about foure of the Clock, after the March from the East Malling Heath we got neare the Medway River, the Column under my Command making for the Teston Bridge, and the other under the command of Major Jackson making for the Barming Forde, these two river Crossings having been previously identified to us by our Kentish Guides. In the case of the Teston Bridge, upon coming in its sight, Earthen Barricadoes were seen barring the entrance to the Bridge from the North...”


The full story can be found here

How to win Monopoly in the shortest possible time by Cliff Kirk-Brown


Monopoly board



Monopoly has a reputation for causing more arguments and cries of “that’s not fair” than any other board game, with the problem of many players having their own “House” rules or amendments to how the official game should be played. In particular the rules governing the collecting of rent while in Jail and the Auctioning of Properties seems to cause the most disagreements.


The other reason Monopoly received poor press in some quarters is the length of time the average game takes to find a winner, even in the Time Limited Mode. But what if you could complete the game in as little as eight roles of the dice? The following scenario promises just that, but the odds of achieving it are on the long side.


Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to calculate the odds of the following scenario. The maths is quite simple, but just like the game, the calculation does go on and on and on….


Player 1, Turn 1:

Roll: A twelve, Lands on The Electric Company

Action: Property goes to Auction, and Player Two buys the Electric Company for 50% of its face value £75. Player Two now has £1,425. Player 1 rolled a Double, therefore, rolls again.


Roll: A twelve, Lands on Trafalgar Square

Action: Property goes to Auction, and Player Two buys Trafalgar Square for 50% of its face value £120. Player Two now has £1,305. Player 1 rolled a Double, therefore, rolls again


Roll: A nine, Lands on Community Chest “Bank error in your favour, Collect £200”

Action: Collects £200 (now has £1700)


Player 2, Turn 1:

Roll: 3-1, Lands on Income Tax

Action: Pays Income Tax of £200 (now has £1,105).



Player 1, Turn 2:

Roll: A double two, Lands on Park Lane

Action: Purchase (£350, now has £1,350), Rolled a Double, therefore rolls again


Roll: A double one, Lands on Mayfair

Action: Purchase (£400, now has £950), Purchase 4 houses, 2 for Mayfair and 2 for Park Lane (4 houses at £200 each, now has £150), Rolled a Double, therefore rolls again


Roll: any number other than a three or a five.

Action: Collect £200 for passing GO (now has £350), Purchase 1 house for Mayfair (now has £150)


Player 2, Turn 2:

Roll: A three, Lands on Chance, “Advance to Mayfair”

Action: Advance to Mayfair, Rent is £1,400, Player Two only has £1,105, but can increase this to £1,300 through mortgaging the two properties, but remains Bankrupt.


The above scenario assumes that there are 16 each of the Chance and Community Chest Cards and that Player 1 takes a “Kamikaze” approach leaving them little money in reserve.


The original scenario was taken from the internet and was based on the New York version of the game using nine rolls of the dice. In Anglicising the above, I found that it can be completed in eight rolls, thereby reducing the odds published on the web. The BBC website has a further refinement of the above, reducing it to seven rolls, but gives no actual details of how this is achieved.


I hope you have fun. You will find the solution below...it's not going to happen every day.





A recap of the rules

Buying Property - Whenever you land on an unowned property, you may buy that property from the Bank at its printed price. You receive the Title Deed card showing ownership; place it face up in front of you.

If you do not wish to buy the property, the Banker sell it at Auction to the highest bidder. The buyer pays the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed for the property. Any player, including the one who declined the option of buying it at the printed price, may bid. Bidding may start at any price.

Income Tax - If you land here, you have two options: You may estimate your tax at £200 and pay the Bank, or you may pay 10% of your total worth to the Bank. Your total worth is all your cash on hand, printed prices of mortgaged and unmortgaged properties and the cost price of all buildings you own. Note: Older versions of the game do not allow the 10% rule, and the full £200 must be paid.

Jail - Even though you are in jail, you may buy or sell property, buy, or sell houses and hotels and collect rents.

Houses - When you own all the properties in a colour group, you may buy houses from the Bank and erect them on those properties. If you buy one house, you may place it on any one of those properties. The next house you buy must be erected on one of the unimproved properties of this or any other complete colour group you own.

Following the above rules, you may buy and erect at any time as many houses as your judgement, and financial standing will allow. But you must build evenly, i.e., you cannot erect more than one house on any property of any colour group until you have built one house on every property in that group. You may then begin on the second row of houses, and so on, up to the limit of four houses to a property.



How to win Monopoly in the shortest possible time – SOLUTION


Player 1, Turn 1:

Roll: 6-6, Lands on The Electric Company

Odds of rolling a double are 1 divided by 36 possible outcomes (1 in 36).

Roll: 6-6, Lands on Trafalgar Square

Odds of rolling a double are 1 divided by 36 possible outcomes (1 in 36).

Roll: 4-5 or 6-3, Lands on Community Chest

Odd of rolling a nine are 4 possibilities (3,6, 4,5, 5,4 & 6,3) divided by 36 possible outcomes (1 in 9).

Player drawers “Bank error in your favour, Collect £200”

Odds of drawing the card is 1 in 16.

The probability of Player One, Turn one occurring is 1/36 x 1/36 x 1/9 x 1/16 =  1/373248  A


Player 2, Turn 1:

Roll: 3-1, Lands on Income Tax

Odds of rolling a 4 without rolling a double I.E 1-3 are 2 divided by 36 possible outcomes (1 in 18)

The probability of Player Two, Turn one occurring is 1/18  B


Player 1, Turn 2:

Roll: a double two, Lands on Park Lane

Odds of rolling a double two are 1 divided by 36 possible outcomes (1 in 36)

Roll: a double one, Lands on Mayfair

Odds of rolling a double one is 1 divided by 36 possible outcomes (1 in 36)

Player One rolls any number other than a double or a 3, or 5. Rolling 3 results in landing on Community Chest and 5 results on landing on Income Tax.

Odds of rolling any number other than a double or a 3, or 5 are (36- (1,2, 2,1, 1,4, 2,3, 4,1, 3,2, 1,1, 2,2, 3,3, 4,4, 5,5, 6,6)) or (12 in 36) or (1 in 3)

The probability of Player One, Turn Two occurring is 1/36 x 1/36 x 1/3 = 1/3888 C




Player 2, Turn 2:

Player rolls a Three, Lands on Chance

Odds of rolling a Three are 2 possibilities (1,2 & 2,1) divided by 36 possible outcomes (2 in 18) or 1/9

Player draws the "Proceed to Mayfair" card.

The odds of drawing the correct card from the pack of 16 is 1/16

The probability of Player Two, Turn Two occurring is 1/9 x 1/16 = 1/288 D


Chances of entire scenario playing out is A x B x C x D or

1/373248  x 1/18 x 1/3888 x 1/288 = 1/3761479876608 or


Three trillion, seven hundred sixty-one billion, four hundred seventy-nine million, eight hundred seventy-six thousand, six hundred and eight to 1. Now that’s pretty long odds.

In the words of Joshua, the supercomputer in the 1983 film War Games, “the only winning strategy in not to play”.


I’d like to say thanks to all of those people who checked my maths and the scenario for errors.


Posted on 14th November, 2022

Read about Australian pilot Frank Cale's last flight in the Battle of Britain, and about his life and times. Just click here

Read about Henry Lafont - his amazing escape to Gibraltar, and his life in the wartime RAF. Just click here

Read about the shipment of a Newcastle shipyard to India here...

More about the missing Spitfire

Posted on 20th August, 2021

After posting that dramatic picture and commentary, more information has come forward from local residents. The first is the lecture notes for a talk given by Geoff Cox, the painter of that picture from a lecture he gave to the Teston History Society in the 1990s. This has all kinds of fascinating detail, including the description of the crash landing of a Hurricane piloted by a French pilot, who was taken off to the pub for a pint after his ordeal! 


You can read Geoff Cox's notes here


But we also had a long term West Farleigh resident, Jack Martin, come forward.  Jack's recollection - aged 3 - was very vivid. An aircraft came down and his Dad carried him down to see it. It was a Spitfire!


I published 4 articles about the material and in particular Cox and Martin's recollections in West Farleigh Lifeline.  Here they are.  The whereabouts of Cale's aircraft (or at least the engine) remains a mystery.


Stephen Norman

Aug 2021


Mystery of the missing Spitfire

Posted on 17th June, 2021

Mystery of the missing Spitfire

Geoff Cox was 15 years old and standing by the lychgate of Teston Church at 7pm on 15th August, 1940. Years later he painted this dramatic picture to crystallise his recollection: a Spitfire in flames passing behind the church and crashing into the Medway valley below. It was the height of the Battle of Britain, which was being fought in the skies above Kent.


Painting done by Geoff Cox



We know from local records that the pilot was a young Australian, Frank Cale, of 266 Squadron, based at Hornchurch, and the aircraft was N3168. We know that it was shot down by a Bf 109 and that Frank Cale baled out. His parachute harness was burned and he may already have been fatally wounded. His body was found in the river the next day, and the harness, badly burned, was found in a nearby orchard. The photo below is an extract from the Battle of Britain's records:


Extract from Battle of Britain records


A fellow pilot - (later Squadron Ldr) W Ross Jones who was flying that day gave a graphic account of it (extract from a letter written many years later):


15th Aug 1940 a memorable , if not a disastrous day, we claimed 12 enemy airraft destroyed, six damaged, but tragically we lost Pilot Sgt Hemsley, Co S/Ldr Wilkenson, P/O Cale, P/O Bowen, Sub/Lt Greenshield RN (FAA). F/Lt Bazlay survived his “baling out”. P/O Sodan injured in combat but landed safely at base – Manston – yet at 5.30pm I went on my 5th sortie of the day primarily to look for our missing pilots, mid channel, encountered a HE115 kind of air Sea/Rescue float plane – made a pass at him – but thinking he might be picking up some of “ours” and theirs, left him to carry on his good and/or bad work!

This was of course the peak daylight raids on London – 300 plus enemy airraft mainly JU88s. Some HE111s, under cover of ME109 and the off Fx190, the Hurricanes of course had a meal with the bombers, whilster we “spits” had as always the high cover to contend with, with dire results.


I was with him [Frank Cale] when he was shot down (I was flying N3127). Cale was flying N3168  and I hazard to guess that Frankie Cole might have been mortally wounded before “baling out” but I’ve a feeling that he may well have been “shot” whilst floating down, since in the same encounter, our Flight Commander F/Lt Bazley was shot down, and baled out and whlst floating down he was being “shot at” by a ME109 and I chased the b******d and gave him 2 x 5 second bursts. The last I saw of him, was at low level over the coast by Margate – whether he managed to survive I do know or even cared. I claimed one ME109 damaged, not that anybody cared – but thankfully Bazlay landed safely in Kent only to survive a few more months.


Postscript: there is some mystery surrounding the location of the wreckage of N3168. For several months in the spring of 2021,  the Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge near Folkestone looked for it along the Medway, using a very sensitive metal detector capable of finding metal 5m underground. The search was dogged by the wet weather. Every field on both sides of the river was scoured, without success, although some quantities of melted aluminum were found in the rhubarb field by Teston Bridge.  However these may relate to the Bailey Bridge which was installed there at some point during the 1950s when the bridge was being repaired.


Newspaper report including this incident:






Posted on 23rd May, 2021


Read all about the army pillboxes built to defend our valley against invasion...


Article by kind permission of the Pillbox Study Group, author David Ottway 2009.


Just follow the link below...



Read about Atticus Marinus and his ship "Fides", and her last voyage carrying goods from The Farleighs here