County Kent, England is an fabulous "landing" point for travelers seeking small village life, yet easy access to such notable places as Canterbury, White Cliffs of Dover, and coastal towns over-looking the English Channel. One of these towns is Folkestone; a historic port, population roughly 53,000, known for fresh seafood, its walking friendly streets, and it's long ocean view promenade known as The Leas.
Like many coastal ports, Folkestone was heavily bombed during WWII. Today, it demonstrates the resilience of the British with a mix of old and new, historic and trendy. As a US citizen, we're not accustomed to seeing War Memorials...in every village, or buildings reflecting a combination of original and rebuilt after a bombing. Here, you see and feel signs of war; often, my thoughts wonder what it was like here, where I'm at today, during the war(s). The War Memorial on The Leas is no different. Lovingly decorated with red poppies made of crochet, stitchery, faded by the sun, but always remembered, --------
'And now the Torch and Poppy Red, we wear in honor of our dead…'.
Traveling from Elham to Folkestone takes about 35 minutes on a quintessential red double decker bus swaying along fields, villages, dropping down to the coast. One can easily spend a day, or two, strolling the cobblestone streets, walking the harbor, soaking up some sand (at low tide), and noshing on seafood. The retail therapy ain't bad either.
Being this was my birthday weekend and the sun was shining... high tea was in order at The Grand Hotel; one of those behemoth, historical hotels dripping with what "once was." My server was a short, round Russian/Italian lady wearing a large, black clip-in hair extension that whipped back and forth as she and her bust line bounced around the sun room. When I told her it was my birthday, she grabbed me, gave me a big kiss and declared in her thick Russian accent, "Gemini women are best!" Well...ya!!
Nearby, 4 elderly women declared they were also celebrating
A Birthday in Folkestone, (video) so a toast to all Gemini women was in order. The hostess peeked around the corner, glaring at our less than dignified behavior, then retreated back to her perch of authority. The 4 women and I chatted and they proudly told me of their long friendships, life at 75, and their best friend who still has sex at 89! There's inspiration...I think. The Russian server gave me a birthday discount. A pianist tinkled away at Nirvana's Come As You Are; an interesting choice for soft, background, afternoon tea music.
Today was a reminder of time, ticking toward a pre-determined number of days. That may sound gloomy or inspiring; I choose the latter. I wonder if Turkey's know their days are numbered for Thanksgiving. This day trip also reminded me of my love for the ocean. Mark my word, when the day comes that I put down roots again, it will be at an ocean...where the sun shines!