28th & 29th June 2013
After picking my new found relative’s brain, I had another little mission in Marlborough the next day – to go find the London Rd address where the Chandlers lived and worked. Sadly, it was an Indian restaurant that has been closed for some time, the building all boarded up and unloved. All the same, it was another connection with Grandma and her family.
I also did a little shopping in preparation for decamping to warmer places. I discovered a clothes store in York called White Stuff with lovely summer skirts and tops. I didn’t buy anything due to lack of space, but…… now, I need to buy cooler clothes and ditch some of the winter ones – and guess what – there’s one in Marlborough, yay!! I was wondering why such a seeming small unimportant town had so many nice clothes places – and it’s just hit me, it would most likely be because of the Marlborough College students – it takes a while sometimes. Wandering the streets, shopping and doing some writing passed the time quickly until I headed off to Folkestone, near Dover. It was a long, long day to get there, but no hassles, thank goodness.
I was going to book a couple of nights at Dover, but a few people said Folkestone was much more pleasant and not far away. I’m so pleased I listened to them. First impressions of Folkestone weren’t terribly wonderful but when I made the trip to Dover it was very obviously a town struggling.
Folkestone reminded me a little of Scarborough, mainly because of the big beautiful old buildings that look like the holiday hotels you read about in English literature of a certain time. For some reason they remind me of the Agatha Christie novels. Quite a number of them along the esplanade and the streets nearby seem to be loved again, but, there’s still many looking quite derelict. The hotel I stayed in was somewhere in the middle, it’s seen better days but it’s not a wreck, a warren of little rooms everywhere, windows that rattle all night and a beautiful view out over the English Channel.
I braved the local bus to get to Dover and was lucky enough to find a company running tours to see the cliffs. Seeing as my whole reasoning for leaving for Paris from there was to see them, I guess I’d have been kicking myself if I hadn’t. The tour was in an inflatable boat with only room for the skipper and 7 passengers, all sitting astride seats like saw horses. Being the only single person, I scored the front seat, beside the skipper, which made me feel a little safer. I figured if I started to fly out the side he might shoot out his arm and drag me back. Not really, but it was pretty cool to be in the front.
Dover played a huge role in WW2 and there are reminders of this all along the cliffs. There’s also a number of long vertical scars running down the cliffs from where ropes have been used to salvage cargo from shipwrecks or where they’ve tried to re-float ships that have come to grief. The skipper was full of information about shipwrecks, war stories and pointing out different landmarks along the way. I was surprised how far along the coast we went, it really was well worth going. Just the ride was awesome, a bit rough in places, but the circle work was great fun.
I don’t know if you can really feel sorry for a city, but if you can, then I feel sorry for Dover. So many people pass through there each year, but no-one seems to stop and it just doesn’t seem to have very much chance of turning things around. But, I’m guessing it’s not going to die while the port is there, I think someone said it’s the busiest port in England.
So, early start again tomorrow – and PARIS!!!!