Monday, 13 July 2009
Kentish holiday part 2
Continued from part 1...
We had decided to stay in two different campsites with one night in a B&B in between, in case of dire need for showers. In fact our state of health and cleanliness was pretty good, but it was nice to sleep in a real bed anyway. We packed everything up on Monday morning and made our way to Whitstable, first via Ashford, then Faversham. In Ashford we went on an ultimately unsuccessful quest for camping fuel, and visited the Canadian tank that stands in the town centre (well, Mr A was on holiday too).
Lunch was a picnic on the green in a village on the way to Faversham: M&S olive bread, Laughing Cow processed cheese, and a tomato. We really know how to party. Faversham is a lovely small town with 'many original features'. It is renowned historically for the manufacture of gunpowder (although the Gunpowder Mill building was closed) and is the home of Shepherd Neame brewery (no public tours until next week). So we went to the pictures instead, and saw the new Star Trek film. I spent days afterwards trying to understand exactly how the plot worked.
On to Whitstable, and the B&B turned out to be really good - big room, great breakfast, welcoming host. I can recommend it. We had economised on the cost so it was a walk out of town, but that was so we could treat ourselves when it came to food. Many places are closed on a Monday night, so we were pleased when we found that the Tapas restaurant we'd been to on our last visit was open. And next day our treat continued when we decided to see if Wheelers, the famous seafood outlet, could accommodate us for lunch in its tiny restaurant. They only had space at the counter in the minuscule shop, where we met another local couple who'd had the same idea. The 'Lemon 3 Ways' dessert was amazing.
The second campsite was disappointing. It was twice as expensive as the first one (although still half the price of the B&B), no fridge, and still no pub within walking distance. And it had started to rain. We had a frugal supper of bread and cheese while sheltering in the porch of the tent.
It was still a bit wet on Wednesday morning, but we struck out first to Sandwich and then Deal. Lunch in Sandwich was fish soup (me) and whitebait (Mr A) with chips and salad in a pub at the quay; Deal furnished no refreshment, but a beautiful seafront row of houses and a very ugly pier.
Onwards to Walmer Castle, which happens to be where Wellington died. We took the free audio tour around the building, which was quite good except they thought perhaps it would be more interesting if some description was provided by a woman pretending to be a lady who had lived there in the 19th century. It was terrible. The gardens were beautiful though, and I particularly liked the two long hedges that had been frost damaged, but instead of being removed they were just clipped to remove the damage. Rather than being perfect and symmetrical, they were lumpy, which I thought made them much more interesting.
We went to Canterbury for dinner, and wandered around looking for a restaurant that we fancied. We found Deesons Restaurant, exactly what we were looking for. The menu looked good, prices reasonable, but most of all they made us feel really welcome. Mr A had a wonderful pork dish; my steak was only mediocre but I didn't mind because it was really a pleasure to eat there. They even served proper beer as well as wine.
The holiday was nearly over; just one more lunch to go, which was consumed at a pub in Eynsford that served delicious roast beef sandwiches (Mr A) and mozzarella and avocado wrap (me). This was after our visit to Lullingstone Roman Villa. Despite providing a lot of information on boards and a short video alongside the ruins and almost complete mosaic, we found the experience strangely unsatisfying.
Back home now - and you'll have noticed the delay between homecoming (Thursday) and blog publication (yesterday: Sunday). Life is full and eventful - I had to go to work on Friday, travelled to celebrate a retirement on Saturday and spent Sunday with Lola II, tormenting our father in order to please our mother - eventually I hope he'll forgive us all. Today, Monday, I've been working in Nottingham, and will be continuing to do so for the rest of the week. It's a hard life.