What an amazing weekend . We have been to the seaside with some very dear friends. The weather was kind to us and all was very well indeed.
Before we left home on Saturday I had an apple and banana smoothie which was good but not amazing. I soaked 30 g raisins and 30g sesame seeds in water for 2 hours and then poured it all in to the blender with an apple, banana and 1 tbsp flax oil.
On the way out of Sissinghurst I stopped at my favourite cherry stall. Kent has many cherry farms and at this time of year little cherry stalls are set up by the farms to sell the freshest most delicious cherries you can buy. This one is my favourite – Aragon Farm, Sissinghurst. It’s on the road between Sissinghurst and Biddenden.
They are the biggest, blackest, juiciest cherries. Perfect. The cherry season is nearly over so don’t miss out. When you see a cherry stall, stop and buy some. Support your local farmers and give yourself a nutritious and delicious treat.
They also had raspberries which were lovely too.
When we arrived in Deal, we checked in to The Royal Hotel.
The Royal is on the sea front.
We didn’t have a room with a sea view unfortunately but our rooms (yes, plural) were lovely.
We had a family suite which had a bathroom, a massive double room and a separate room for the kids which was all within the one private area. It was brilliant.
I was in Deal to spend the weekend with Michelle and Gini, both of whom I have known for an extremely long time and I treasure their friendships. Lucy and Sally – you were very much missed and in our thoughts and recollections often.
We went to the beach for the afternoon and it was warm, sunny and glorious.
Michelle had packed a picnic.
To go with our fizz was a lovely assortment of freshly made flans, fresh fruit and homemade cakes.
In the evening the children took us to the pub.
We sat in the garden and enjoyed a drink and later on, were very glad we had been there as we needed a little favour!
We had fish and chips for tea. Not healthy I know but a British seaside institution and these were excellent. The batter was so crispy and completely non greasy and the fish was delicious. I wish I could say I didn’t eat the chips but I ate them all.
The curious incident of the seagull in the afternoon, the evening and the next morning: – Arriving back at Michelle’s cottage, we were prevented from entering because a baby seagull had fallen off the roof and was outside Michelle’s door and the Mother was aggressively protecting it. We were advised to use an umbrella for protection so we returned to the pub and borrowed one. Lara has very genuine bird phobia and it took quite some coaxing to get her back in to the house! Thank goodness the pub lent us very large umbrellas.
We enjoyed a lovely sunset on the beach and had a very enjoyable evening, popping to another pub and enjoying a truly incredible evening of Olympics.
One of the best Olympic displays any of us have seen was in a house round the corner from Michelle’s.
The lady who lives there knitted all these herself – check out Bradley Wiggins – how brilliant is that!
Michelle met them earlier that day and the knitters husband kindly serviced her bicycle for her. When he returned the bicycle and popped in for a cuppa, it turns out he was the architect who designed our splendid new hospital in Pembury. He was also a very good cyclist himself. Britain keeps winning medals so those knitting needles are being kept very busy Go Team GB!
We all breakfasted at The Royal this morning. Museli, yogurt, walnuts and fruit to start with.
Followed by Kippers, toast and then more toast and marmalade. I did have more kippers than this but had eaten most of them when I remembered I needed to take the photo!
We did so much today I feel as if we were away for a week. Deal pier does not look very pretty. It is an unimaginative concrete construction but it is lovely to walk along it and the view back towards Deal is lovely.
At the end is a good restaurant and this fishing platform. You walk along a combination of solid wood and then metal grills, through which you can see the sea far below. Not for the faint hearted but caused no concern for this little man who enjoyed hopping and skipping about.
Observe the grey clouds – we will refer back to those.
I love the sound of the waves slapping against the legs of the pier. If you come to Deal, please walk along the pier and round the fishing platform. It is a great experience.
We then began our longer then expected walk to a pub for a drink. The clouds are beginning to clear.
We walked past this very colourful display of hanging baskets and tubs.
We walked through Deal and through Walmer, sometimes on a promenade and at others on the beach, pausing to photograph boats, nets and lobster pots. Unsurprisingly, Harvey had a swim in all his clothes and Maddi made the best seashore discovery – a little starfish which was still alive so we put it back.
The clouds completely cleared and we walked to Kingsdown in brilliant sunshine. The landscape changed from a beach with pebbles to plant covered shingle. It was beautiful.
We finally reached our destination, The Zetland Arms, Kingsdown, which is a pub on the beach with a view towards St.Margaret’s.
These friends of mine are so very wonderful. I was wearing inappropriate footwear for such a long walk. So they offered me their shoes. I struggled with the sun in my eyes so Michelle gave me her sunglasses. My gorgeous little boy walked bare footed so I could wear his Crocs. Thank you lovely people.
That cold drink was ever so welcome.
We wandered back, in blazing sunshine, back through Walmer, past the bandstand (how very English seaside town)
and a Great Dane. I bet he never walks anywhere without being stopped.
We had a much needed cuppa and slice of cake at Michelle’s. Our short walk in the clouds turned in to a long walk in blazing sunshine so I now have a very red face and décolletage as testimony to how sunny it was beside the sea.
What a wonderful weekend, full of love and affection, happy reminiscences, laughter, personal conversations that you can only have with the rare few and new experiences to add to that expanding catalogue of a life shared.
All too soon it was time to bid a very fond farewell, to our lovely friends from Derby. Please come back to Kent very soon.