Wednesday and Thursday had been beautiful, mild days and Friday dawned the same. Because of the way the roster had worked out, we had Friday night and Saturday off, so we had planned a trip to Dover. Tom¹ lent us his Railcard to get some discount on the fares and with the promise of a fine weekend ahead, we set off after the morning session and walked up to Waterloo.
Return tickets only cost us ￡15-90 and we caught the 17:58 train to Dover and Ramsgate. It took about 20 minutes to leave the built-up area of London behind and the train rolled out into the sparse farmland that surrounds the city. The grass was green and shining with new growth and lambs gambolled with each other in the warm afternoon sun.
We passed through the hop-growing area of Kent, the Garden of England, with its strange drying towers and then, as dusk was falling, we arrived in Folkestone and had our first glimpse of the White Cliffs of Dover and the English Channel.
It was nearly dark when we arrived at Dover Priory Station but even in the poor light we could see that it was an industrial sort of place and decided to stay on the train and see where we ended up. I asked a lady sitting in the same carriage (there were only 4 of us by now) where a good place to get off would be and she suggested a place called Sandwich, where she lived.
About 15 minutes later, the train stopped at a tiny station and we got off. The lady, whose name was Lucy, was met by her husband, Lionel, and their little dog. They took us up to their house, a small, converted smithy, in the centre of the village. She showed us round the gorgeous little house, which dates back to the 16th century, and we had a cup of tea with them.
When we left, we wandered around the dark, cobbled streets looking for somewhere to stay. The only sound to be heard was the tolling of the church bell. We enquired at several places, to no avail then finally got a room in a B&B pub called The New Inn for ￡30-00 including brekkie.
After we had deposited our things in the room (which was large and comfy) we went out for a walk around the village. It was so quiet and peaceful after the noise of London and the evening was windless and mild. After we had done a circuit of the centre of the village, we made our way back to our room to plan our next move. The disco downstairs was making a shit of a racket so we went out again and walked up to another pub called the Fleur de Lis (the flowers of the Prince). We spent the rest of the evening there in the company of 4 other people but it was nice to sit in a quiet pub and have a quiet talk.
When the place closed we went back to our room and watched a Dutch stick movie on TV as we dropped off to sleep.
¹ The pub’s cleaner