Thursday, August 23, 2007

4.8.07: Folkestone-Hythe-Newchurch

2.40 pm:
Temperature 24C, humidity 41%, west wind. Mileage: 14 1/2 miles

Before setting off to Newchurch, I pay homage to the King at an amusement arcade at the bottom of Tontine Street. It will be the thirtieth anniversary of Elvis's death in a few weeks.

I stop off at the new outdoor amphitheatre at the Leas Undercliff on the way out of town. Entertainment is happening so I chat to friends for a while then take off and later curse at forgetting to photograph the excellent acapello group. Singing is healthy exercise for the lungs, hence the male voice choirs which were a feature of the mining industry.

It's hot on the sea front, there's sticky pink icecream melting on the ground. People are enjoying the sun, making their private temporary homes on the beach.

At Hythe I meet Joe and Gareth, barstaff at the Hotel Imperial behind the beach. They are queuing for icecreams, sweltering in their work clothes.

Gareth says the job is easier since the new smoking legislation as it's quieter and there's less clearing up to do. It suits Joe as he's recently given up.

At the Hythe end of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway line, I stop for my own icecream before cycling along the Royal Military Canal, and on through flat, marsh landscape. I get directions from a man with a horse outside the Bottolph Bridge Inn, and along the interminable Lower Wall Road more directions from caravaners, Kathy and Dicky Bird. Jo phones to see where I've got to and four horses raise their heads at the sound of the ringtone.

6.50 pm:
Arrive at Newchurch on Romney Marsh. Jo's home is in the bakehouse of an old mill.