Thursday, August 23, 2007

30.7.07: St. Margarets to Dover

11.30 am:
Temperature 24C, Humidity 4%, light west wind. Day's mileage: 4 1/2 miles

Missing the right turn, I trudge across two fields on a footpath a mere foot wide. This farmer never wanted a right of way across his field.

As I pass South Foreland lighthouse, the track is blocked by railway sleepers and as i heft the bike over these, a monster crop sprayer in full action rears up over the brow of the hill spewing out lung-poison. Idyllic sunny ride across the clifftop, until i smash a mudguard passing through a too-small turnstile, before descending a steep path overlooking Dover port.

Researching the route last year I met Volodya who lived in a clearing in the woods alongside this path above the port, his possessions hung for safety in plastic bags from branches overhead.

This year he's gone, his woodland cave home filled up with dead branches. Volodya had come from Turkey in 1948 and said he had lived in this spot for sixteen years. We discussed photography; he spoke about "cameras without focus" - I think he had meant pinhole cameras but he was hard to understand - and he gave me a book someone had left him, Chicot the Jester by Alexander Dumas. Maybe he has been moved on, found hostel accommodation, or perhaps he's no longer alive. But I know no-one here to ask. My home until Thursday will be at the Longfield Guesthouse on the edge of the town.