Thursday, 30 March 2017

"There'll be Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover"

On Tuesday with the promise of fine weather and our eldest Granddaughter staying over a couple  of days we thought a day out was in order. We decided to take her to Dover Castle (Nanny's idea) followed by a stop on the way home at the Hop Fuzz Brewery (Grandads idea) for a refreshing pint. Dover Castle has been a favourite place to visit over the years, great historical interest and plenty of walking along with some wonderful views down over the port. We set off with our picnic and arrived only to find the castle closed Mondays and Tuesdays!

 As it was a fine day we decided to take our picnic down to Samphire Hoe, which sits at the bottom of the Dover cliffs and is accessed via a one way tunnel off the M20  motorway. It's not widely known among tourists and is a quiet spot even in the Summer.  It's a unique spot in that it was created from the spoil dug out during the construction of the Channel Tunnel and is now a Nature Reserve. There are some great walks along the bottom of the chalk cliffs and good fishing off the wall that now protects the cliffs from erosion, it's also the perfect spot for a picnic on a nice day with lots of wooden benches dotted about. Standing at the bottom of the famous White Cliffs is quite stirring for anyone who understands the historical significance and symbol of  Freedom that they became during WW2, and you can still see the lookout posts along the top. For hundreds of years rock Samphire has grown in the chalky soil and used to be picked and shipped to London by  the barrel load. Today it remains an expensive delicacy on the menus of fancy London restaurants. I took a few (poor) phone pics as I had left my camera indoors, but it really is a lovely spot to visit.








On the way home, turning off the M20 and dropping down to the Romney Marsh we drove over the Napoleonic Royal Military Canal and pulled into the Hop Fuzz Brewery, only a couple of  miles from home at West Hythe to find it ......you guessed it ...... Closed (open 5pm to 9pm currently) .... Blast!

On a fine day it's a lovely spot right beside the Royal Military Canal!
Nothing fancy here, just great beer.

There was nothing else for it but to go home and pop over to The Ocean Inn in Dymchurch where a pint of Courage Directors went down a treat, a long standing favourite of mine since the 1970's and was in perfect condition ( I have been poured a few sour pints of this over the years, I was once told it's difficult to keep).
The Ocean Inn, Dymchurch, a stones throw from home!

Not the day we planned, but a lovely day anyway, I spent the day walking around in a t shirt, not bad for end of  March. We will be revisiting Hopp Fuzz this evening (Thursday).

8 comments:

  1. Sounds great Lee - can you get Directors in Spain?

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    1. Was a very pleasant day. Re Directors, no, but then I'm also a big Rioja fan!

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  2. Excellent post - sorry about the brewery! Vera Lynn, eh? - 100 just the other day - marvellous. I always liked that Eskimo song she did, "Whale Meat Again".

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    1. Like what you did there Tony :)

      My pictures were poor, but the Samphire Hoe link has some great shots including construction shots. It's still owned by Eurotunnel and there is a memorial to the 12 British construction workers who died during the project, there were also many more serious injuries including a friend of ours who broke his back.

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    2. I hadn't realised there was so much physical hardship involved in the Chunnel - I suppose it's a hazardous environment - shame about your friend. Presumably it will be bricked up now to keep the foreigners out.

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    3. The very high salaries drew construction workers from from right across the UK, an entire village was created to accommodate them during shifts. Death and injury compensation payments ran into millions, certainly our friend bought and adapted a new house from his payout and never had to worry about future finances.

      I recall an attempt to build a tunnel in the 1880's was abandoned due to fear of French invasion!

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  3. Sounds like a smashing day, regardless of some of the places being shut.

    My Dad liked drinking and carrying Courage Directors when my parents owned a pub outside of Camarthen in Wales 30-odd years ago. Pubs I worked at there after never carried it though, perhaps because it was indeed a tricky one to keep servable?

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    1. Interesting Dai, Directors was probably at its peak of popularity back then, it's harder to find now days. I was introduced to it when I was a young printing apprentice in the late Seventies, I worked in Westminster and every Friday was paper delivery day which ended in a long lunchtime pub session, my manager raved about Directors and encouraged me to try it instead of drinking lager. He was a true mentor!

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