I woke early in a static caravan on the outskirts of Whitstable. It was another perfect summer’s day. The kind of day that as a kid, you would remember as the best day of the holidays; sunburn, ice-cream, getting sand in your knickers & sea up your nose. I made the most of the Breakfast that my kind Airbnb host had left me, and read through some Whitstable tourist leaflets lying on the table, one informing me of it’s former and current famous inhabitants, among them, Alan Davies, Peter Cushing (Hammer Horror Films), Harry Hill and Janet Street Porter.
The previous evenings excursion into the town where still lingering on my mind. After my evening meal sitting at the harbours edge, I decided to walk/ride/push my bike along the sea-front back to the caravan park. It was a decision that I didn’t regret. It seemed like the whole of Whitstable had the same idea. Between each wooden groyne something different, champagne swilling revelers, somebody singing with a guitar, a group around a fire, people on deck chairs outside stripy beach huts, kayakers returning before the light finally dies, and everybody facing the same way, looking at the same thing; the sun slowly setting. Nobody wanted to miss the moment. The rare hot days of summer change the UK into a place that only exists in our dreams for most of the year, but when it does becomes reality Whitstable sea-front really is a lovely place to be. Needless to say, the photographic possibilities where endless but my phone batteries where flat, so I only managed a couple of shots.
Todays ride was to be a recovery ride after the previous days exertions with the Bello Vela ladies along the Pilgrims Way, and I intended to ‘wibble’ my way along the coast towards Ramsgate on Sustrans Route 15. Wibble I did (l think that wibbling is slower than wobbling), with temperatures already in the mid 20’s at 9 oclock, I wasn’t going anywhere fast! The broad concrete path took me past the suburbs of Swalecliffe, Hampton and Herne Bay to the ruined medieval towers of St Marys at Reculver, and then across Wade Marsh to Margate, where I stopped for a cup of coffee in the old Town Square, outside The Bulls Head Pub where Eric Morecambe celebrated his wedding reception to the pub landlords daughter. I could feel a theme coming on.
I had been told about Margate’s recent re-birth and thriving art scene, and it certainly had all the signs of being in the process of a slightly bohemian re-gentrification (and still had plenty of ‘edge’ to make it interesting). I wasn’t aware of it’s famous connections until I did some post ride googling.
Margate: Tracey Emin born there (Turner Contemporary Art Gallery), . TS Elliott wrote part of the ‘The Wasteland’ here. (recuperating from a nervous breakdown!). A favorite with Turner ‘painter of light’ who was sent there when he was 11, later was reputed to have fallen for Mrs Booths Lodging house.
Dunkers and Dippers. The ruby Lounge and Haekels experience?
Broadstairs: Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge …….to be continued!