“Oh no,” I groaned, as traffic ground to a halt near Stonehenge. We were a few hours into our journey to Kent, with another anticipated two hours before reaching our destination. Two cars were involved in a collision. Thankfully, all occupants were uninjured, but their damaged vehicles awaiting recovery were causing a bottleneck.

Just like an oasis, The Bell Inn at Winterbourne Stoke appeared.

“We could have lunch now,” Mr Word Loft said, swerving into the car park. What a lucky coincidence; his goat cheese, beetroot and apple salad looked most appetizing, and my French onion soup laced with white wine and cognac tasted divine.

With no further delays, we arrived at our dear friends’ cottage in a hamlet set amid farmland and orchards. It’s always good to spend time with them, in an area where I used to live and haven’t been back to in years.

The ancient town of Faversham isn’t far away, and the next day there was an antique and vintage market. From stalls set up in the marketplace selling all sorts of memorabilia, I went in search of a small gate-leg table for my writing space. Unsuccessful on this occasion, but it was great seeing antiques and bric-a-brac, which fitted in perfectly with the streets’ varied architecture covering many eras from Elizabethan timber-framed and elegantly styled Georgian brick-built properties.

We met up with more friends and they kindly showed us around their new home, a Victorian house on the outskirts of Faversham which they have renovated incorporating old and new. From the porch’s stained glass and jangling sprung doorbell, through all rooms, including the addition of the children’s playroom, fully equipped with a child-size drum set which, when in full boom, is a stark difference from the cheery doorbell.

Whitstable was a place from my childhood. Back then, the town and harbour were dull and uninspiring.

Famous for its oysters these days, Whitstable is trendy with its boutiques, arty/gift shops, and all types of eateries. It’s only a forty-minute drive from where we were staying, so I was pleased to return on our last day and surprised to see so many beach huts in a myriad of colours spaced in rows along the promenade from Tankerton. I bet they are cosy inside and thought the ones with bijou verandas very appealing.

From the shingle and seashell beach, views across the English Channel, show white wind turbines and dark Napoleonic Martello towers jutting up from the horizon. The looming structures were developed as defensive forts in the early 1800s. Today many are converted into homes or holiday lets which make innovative dwellings because of their round shape.

Strong winds blew across the landscape. I looked out, focusing on kitesurfers close to the shoreline being swept along the waves and then lifted joyfully above the sea. I pulled my scarf around my neck, and yet they didn’t seem to notice the cold as they skillfully spiralled through the air with not a care in the world.

Until next time,
Sue. X