I arranged-quite a while ago-a trip with a friend to the area of England called Kent known as the garden of England. It happened to fall two days before Maurice and I were going to move to a new apartment which made it a little stressful but it all worked out in the end and I’m so glad I went. Mary and I met via the AOL Paris forum which used to be really active. We connected right away and have met two other times in England and once in the States. Maurice went once with me but when he found out that we stop at every charity shop to look around and never pass up a boot sale (flea market) he declined to join us the next time.
Because of a strike going on I arrived a little later than I wanted to at Gare du Nord to take the Eurostar to England, to Ashford,in fact. near where Mary and I would be staying. I didn’t madly rush up the escalator and run to the front of the security line but I should have as I discovered that, unlike the TGV, they won’t let you board four minutes before the train leaves. I arrived with three minutes before. I couldn’t believe it. They booked me on the next train which went to a new station called Ebbsfleet which isn’t anywhere near Ashford. I tried to reach Mary to tell here but she didn’t answer her cell phone. The people at the Paris end of the Eurostar couldn’t tell me if I could take a train from Ebbsfleet back to Ashford or not. I never could find the manager on the train to ask him so I took a chance and got off at Ebbsfleet instead of going on to London. There was a train back to Ashford but by this time Maurice had received a call from Mary who told me to go to Dover where, luckily, the train I was on was also going. Mary and I couldn’t talk to each other with our cell phones but Maurice could call each of us so he got to be the middle man.
Finally we connected, two hours late. After stopping for groceries we arrived at our rental for the week, a rather rustic place once a gun emplacement overlooking the white cliffs of Dover. We spent our first evening on the lawn drinking vodka gimlets looking at the view.
The view from a window where we spent a lot of our time. It was a misty morning when I took this photo so you can’t really see how great the view was. On a clear day you could see France across the channel. Imagine being on duty there in WWII watching for airplanes to come over from France to drop bombs. How scary that must have been.
You can’t see where we stayed but it’s behind the trees at the top of the cliff. I read in the visitor’s book at our place that the 400 foot drop freaked out some people. One man wrote that he had brought his 95 year old grandfather along who loved to sit outside with binoculars watching the ships and ferries go back and forth. They teathered his wheelchair to something so he wouldn’t accidentally end up going over the cliff. People with young children aren’t allowed to stay here for obvious reasons. I guess there are no plans to put up some sort of fencing.