Haven’t written for a while as I’ve been quite busy with one thing and another and now seem to be paying the price for all my business enterprises, volunteering activities and celebratory events. Because I’ve felt really under the weather for the past couple of days. I’ve recently been doing some gardening for someone I drove to hospital a while ago and the physical effort does tire me. The days at Kimmeridge for the marine warden volunteering although not arduous are long. The selling at various events of the unction has become more frequent and I’ve been travelling some considerable distances. And then I was 60 last week and we’ve had fulsome celebrations including a weekend travelling to Kingston to see the wonderful Stewart Lee and travelling round Kent and Sussex to visit childhood haunts.
I think it is part of getting older that you reminisce, and perhaps want to revisit certain places to try and recapture something.
This is potentially a fraught thing to do and filled with futility. In part because this separates you from the now and may create some sort of temporal dissonance in an already befuddled brain. Such was the case with me having a hankering to revisit Rye which has been with me a while. I have these evocative childish memories of the place mainly fueled by my early childhood reading of children having exciting adventures in settings on the Kent and Sussex coast such as Rye and Winchelsea. So there we are, Kate and I, driving in the sunshine amongst the coastal flatlands of Kent and Sussex and I get some memorial stirrings seeing the distinctive houses, sensing some faint half-forgotten smells, seeing sign posts of places visited long ago.
We go to Dungeness a rare desert-like wasteland of old Englandshire. Kate doesn’t like it, it really is like a desert:
But I do like it. We stop at the ‘end of the line’ where there are 2 lighthouses, we have a drink in the cafe, pretty revolting tea for Kate and even more revolting coffee for me, possibly the worst coffee I’ve ever had. Then, right by where we’re sitting, the dinky little steam train and carriages pull in. The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway is probably the main tourist draw in the area, we love our steam trains in this country. As we drive away Kate ponders as to how she might react if she visited a place like Dungeness if it were in Italy or Spain and thinks she’d like it more. I want to visit Derek Jarman’s cottage, there is no signage but I spot a cottage which has interesting creations in the shingle garden (there is only shingle in Dungeness), we stop and I walk round and take photos, later I discover that this is his cottage:
We stop at Camber Sands, I have vague memories of the beach and sand dunes behind. I had been thinking of having an ice cream so we walk the enormous beach whilst licking then lie in the dunes in the sunshine. It’s such a contract to Dungeness and we’ve still got Rye to come which will be the icing on our little adventure.
Of course it disappoints. Yes it’s a lovely little town with many wonderful old buildings and wears it’s heritage as a Cinque port very prominently and is typical of so much of Englandshire’s heritage industry. In year’s to come there will be little signs around here declaring that you are now entering Duncancer’s Domain. But like my fatuous fantasy the marketising of Rye is a fraught, fatuous fantasy and the place has an air of unreality. I stop in a bookshop because I’m a little hazy about the history of the Cinque ports and I read that Rye is not even one of the original Cinque ports and that it’s actually twinned with Winchelsea as a port.
I need a decent cup of coffee, we go into the tourist information place. Every other tourist information place I’ve been to in the world has free local maps, not this one. 50p for a sad bit of paper. In a slightly rebellious mood I ask where one might get a good cup of coffee. Two women tell me that they are all good, as you may imagine there are many twee tea and coffee places in the sixieme et demi port. I then ask them if they had to choose one place where they would go to get a good cup of coffee where would they go, a younger woman then tells me the cafe just behind has the only trained barrista in town. The coffee there is good.
The French themed room in the inn that we stay in that night looks very lovely, complete with squeaky antique French bed, has the worst shower I’ve ever experienced on my travels.
Funny old world.
And in our current political world the tts, or more particularly the maybot show is also marketising a fraught and fatuous fantasy. They, or more particularly she, is attempting to take Labour heartlands with some absolute bollocks that will sadly delude some folk. For example giving ‘workers’ the right to take up to a year off to care for loved ones. Ah, such caring from the tts. Bollocks of course. It’s unpaid so the carer and the caree would have to exist on the tory axed benefits. So it’s minimal cost to the employers, significant savings on health and social care, win win all round eh? Oh, except for the actual workers of course, plus ca change.
One hopes that, much as Napoleon found in his Russian campaign, that the extension into enemy territory so overstretches things that it ends in ignominious retreat.
Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.