XIII – Eastbourne to Newhaven

Hasteful MammalON FRIDAY night I decided that I needed to boot up Cleopatra, the old Windows 98 machine that lives in a corner of my bedroom, because I needed something on her hard drive. Perhaps because she is ancient in computing terms, or perhaps because she is still sulking over her replacement, Pandora, she repeatedly refused to boot up. But I am a stubborn mammal, and helpful, and eventually I got my way.

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XII – Hastings to Eastbourne

Hasteful MammalI HAVE to admit that, as I lay awake at night listening to the wind drive intermittent sleet against my bedroom window, I wondered if the Met Office’s forecast of ‘sunny intervals’ was perhaps a tad optimistic and that maybe I shouldn’t get up early to catch a train back to Hastings.

It was admittedly still bitterly cold when I did catch that train, and indeed had not stopped being so by the time I got to Hastings at around 9 am.

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XI – Rye to Hastings

Hasteful MammalYESTERDAY, I awoke at an ungodly hour and thought back to this time last year, when I was surrounded by friends and family, all dressed as pirates on a boat on the Thames. This year I opted to be more downscale and spent the day ambling about on my own. When I wasn’t unexpectedly recumbent in several inches of mud, that is…

If I had to sum up today’s walk in one word, that word would have to be ‘windswept’. And ‘muddy’. My two words would be ‘windswept’ and ‘muddy’. And ‘grey’. I’ll start again…

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X – Dungeness to Rye

Hasteful MammalIT’S been a few months since my last coastal perambulation and several things got in the way, not least of which were snow and Christmas. I’ve realised though that I’m spending too much time sat on my sofa in front of my computer. Thoughts along these lines were then greatly exacerbated by two visitations of pain, likely related:

Firstly, I did something to the muscles in my spine, an unpleasant development probably not unconnected with the fact that my battered old sofa has become less an item of furniture and more a torture device.

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IX – Sandling to Dungeness

Hasteful MammalBETWEEN one thing and the other (one being some writing and the other being a vomiting bug of the most spectacular awfulness), it’s been about a fortnight since I last went traipsing round the coast. This is, of course, a scurrilous state of affairs.

I rectified it by the simple expedient of getting up at some unfeasible hour before dawn and jumping on a train back to Sandling, in the parish of Saltwood, where my last perambulatory episode finished up.

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VIII – Dover to Sandling

Hasteful MammalFOLLOWING last Saturday’s fun and games, in which I came interestingly close to not so much shuffling off this mortal coil as slipping from it, I decided that I would continue my excursion around the Kentish coast. After all, the weather forecast was ‘sunny intervals with rain later’ and I still had more lovely cliffs to walk, with their slippery-when-wet clay topsoil.

As it happened, the rain didn’t even try to make a showing until after I’d come down from the cliffs and for this I was glad because one or two of them were quite scary enough as it was (I don’t like heights all that much and at a couple of points there was about a foot and half between the edge of the path and a very long way down.

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VII – Sandwich to Dover

Hasteful MammalTODAY I learned a terribly important lesson about the White Cliffs of Dover

Do not walk them in the rain.

I also learned that while the Met Office is one of the world’s best weather forecasters, and not at all the running joke it was when I was little, they are still not always right. Today’s forecast for Kent was mostly for ‘sunny intervals’ giving way to rain tonight. What we actually got was intermittent showers giving way to rain by about four o’clock.

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VI – Westgate-on-Sea to Sandwich

Hasteful MammalLAST week, after getting home from my walk to Westgate-on-Sea, I sat down and kicked off my walking boots. Or so I thought.

As I looked at the sole I had kicked across the room and waggled my toes in the boot upper still on my foot, I thought to myself ‘time to buy some new boots’. I was impressed with my boots’ longevity though—they were old, battered, had missing eyelets and in some places were held together with two-part epoxy resin but they had lasted an amazing fifteen or so years.

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V – Whitstable to Westgate-on-Sea

Hasteful MammalORIGINALLY, yesterday was not going to involve any walking as I already had plans. But then I got to thinking that my plans mostly involved the evening and, if I got up really early, I could also go for a walk. Which is how I came to be catching a train at the ungodly hour of not quite six in the morning. Even with this early start, the complications of a Saturday service and multiple connections meant that I only arrived at Whitstable at about 8 am. I immediately made my way back to the harbour, which is where I left off last time.

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IV – Faversham to Whitstable

Hasteful MammalI KNEW my plan to get up at silly o’clock this morning was doomed before I’d even gone to bed—I’d gotten engrossed in something and was still up and awake at 3 am. So, I decided there and then that today was obviously not going to be another walking day.

I was, of course, wrong.

Continue reading “IV – Faversham to Whitstable”