May 2014.

I've bought a campervan as a 60th birthday present to myself, made some curtains and a patchwork quilt, waved goodbye to my family, and set off. My aim is to explore the coastline of Britain, anti clockwise, starting in Kent. I have no idea what will happen.

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Well that was a rough night! I stayed in the main Camping and Caravanning Club site at Canterbury which is excellent – they get better and better. The rain lashed down all afternoon,  and didn't stop all that night. I felt too sick to contemplate the supper I had planned, so sat shivering in my coat, unable to remember how to put the heater on. Pathetic!  So I had a long, hot shower in the lovely bathroom block, filled a hot water bottle, and prepared for bed. And then I was very, very sick. Thank goodness! I don't know what the problem was... but at least it was soon over.
In the morning, still a bit wobbly, I packed up and set off to meet Sylvia (see first blog). We decided to visit the Isle of Sheppey. Sylvia used to live in Kent, and is about to move back, but neither of us knew much about Sheppey... except that Kent and London folk pour there on holiday to huge caravan parks. And I remember last year, when there was a terrible pile-up in fog on the Sheppey crossing, thinking what a good-looking bridge it was. I had been advised by wildfowler Dave to try the Harty Ferry Inn for lunch, so that's where we headed.
Sheppey Bridge looking south
The bridge is as nice as I thought, curling high across the Swale in the sunlight, and The Harty Ferry Inn is good too. It sits in a remote spot on the south of Sheppey looking across to Faversham, and the drive there is through low, open farmland, as rural as can be! Sheppey is a part farming - sheep and cattle on smallholdings, fields of rape and hedgerows bursting with cow parsley; part power station; and part dense holiday-land. The wind blows across the flat land, telegraph poles blown askew and the wild rural parts just doesn't relate to the holiday parks.
Yet just up the road Leysdown on Sea is trailer parks all the way, with a touch of Las Vegas, thick with take-aways and amusement arcades. We tried to book in to a caravan park, but they wanted £26 for one night, so we thought the price was too high to be funny. We visited the Abbey on a hill (the only one on Sheppey) at Minster, looked in at the jellied eel stall next door (but couldn't face those) and headed back via Sheerness to supper and spend the night in the Harty Ferry Inn car park. Sylvia's friends Martin and Judith from Canterbury were in the bar! They had sailed over from Faversham – so nowhere is really so remote!
Next day the Bank Holiday crowds were pouring north over the bridge to their holiday homes as we headed towards Faversham. Little did we know, as we were making a small detour into a Saturday morning car boot sale for a little bit of local colour, that 'Skull Cracker' was making his exit from HM Open Prison just down the road. As I write.. he's been incarcerated again.

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