Monday, 29 July 2019

The frustrations of Kent

On Dungeness Point
Our away-weekend was a mix of relaxation and frustration. The journey to London was swift and uneventful, sailing through to Stratford and parking with ease in their underground carpark by the hotel. The journey to Dover next day found every approach road blocked by tailbacks for the docks. It took nearly two hours to move a mile, and we finally escaped to have lunch outside Folkestone before making the most of our spontaneous freedom to revisit Dungeness Point, the home of a huge nature reserve, Britain's tallest lighthouse and two Nuclear Power Stations. 

In London on Friday, we stayed at the Staybridge Suites hotel in Stratford, with a superbly equipped room and full breakfast for a modest price. In contrast, the old Churchill Hotel on Dover front, now a Best Western, which used to be the grandest hotel in a grand town, and is one of the few buildings to have survived the intense bombing of the war, should now be renamed the Worst Western. The room is tiny, badly laid out, with tired decor and no breakfast, for a fee that is higher than the smart London suite.  The window is an ill-fitting pre-war sash with peeling paint and an inclination to slam shut when we don't expect it. But we can't leave it open, because a pigeon landed on the sill, began cooing loudly, the stepped through into the room. Ann shooed it out, and we had to wedge the window open just a crack using a folded towel.

Ann at Margate
Next day we returned home determined to have a traditional whirly ice-cream. Our first stop was Broadstairs, where we had veggie pies in the wonderful Chapel Bookstore cum Restaurant cum pub, leaving us too full for our standard visit to the luxurious Italian Morelles, Moving on to Whitstable, the town was packed with revellers enjoying the famous annual Oyster Fair (not famous to us, who hadn't known about it till this moment), so we were unable to stop. Again to Herne Bay, home of many of Ann's ancestors, but again bursting with London holiday makers. Finally to Margate where we could park on the pier, but where there was a dearth of ices. We consequently enjoyed drinks instead, before having one last try on Sheerness at Queenborough, and Minster-on-Sea before giving up our search, defeated.

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