The inaugural gathering of this year’s HRFC ladies and their weekend away happened close to home this year, the popular coastal town of Folkestone and it’s sadly redundant harbour. The author had ordered fine and sunny weather and was gladly obliged to witness that this was indeed delivered for at least 60% of the time. The main characters involved in this years adventure comprised of Jane Moseley, Ruth Spiller, Jean Read and Kim Warren. There were also minor parts for Kim’s now retired, footloose and fancy-free parents John and Sue Walker and their campervan/motor home Victor.
Arrival during the Friday afternoon gave my fellow adventurers a first taste of being greeted by the Caravanning and Camping club and their highly trained ‘PR driven’ on site wardens. Pursed lips, tut tuts and head scratching ensued, as Ruth explained that she definitely informed the team on booking that she had requested a pitch to accommodate one large tent and a small one. Phew disaster was avoided when a suitable pitch with regulation distance (6 metres between tents) was sourced to comforta- bly accommodate the customer’s requirements. I arrived after this incident and had a relatively smooth check in, apart from having to witness warden A (they will remain nameless) telling some poor foreign speaking punter how to find the site, and repeat- edly with an escalating tone of frustration and a volume level that approached rude saying: ‘I’ve told you already a number of times don’t use the sat nav it won’t get you to your destination’. From the foreign punters perspective I was tempted to ad- vise follow the sat nav, it might take you to a friendlier place.
Finally we are all pitched and stage one of ‘camping weekend away’ is successfully completed. Geocaching Jane has managed to plot a walk from the site for us which takes in some cracking views of Folkestone, Dungeness in the hazy distance, the French coast line and busy shipping channel from Dover harbour across to Calais. We pass Martello Tower number one and note that it is up for sale, the renovation project half finished, anyone interested, it’s advertised on Rightmove, go halves? Inevitably we also had a few geocaches to find and we made light work of them all. Sadly our walk was interrupted by the Valiant Sailor, who persuaded us in for a drink, we must have looked thirsty. Said Valiant Sailor then had us booking in for supper the following evening. The walk then took us through the Battle of Britain Memorial site; if you are ever in the area it is worthy of a visit. It’s a sobering and poignant reminder of when war was on our doorstep rather than some- thing we view on the news in our de-sensitised state. We finish off the walk with a cliff top stroll and steep descent to the railway line where there a convenient bridge leads over it and on to the beach. I use the word beach loosely at this point because it is actually a vast slab of concrete resembling the newly proposed runway for Boris’ ‘new airport in the sea’. As we amble along we note a number of wily folk have opted out of paying to camp at the designated site and pitched directly on the beach, and no I for one didn’t approve because either it seemed a bit too cheeky or I maybe because I hadn’t thought of that idea first. The evening see’s us enjoying a pleasant BBQ feast, before a relatively early night, the waves as they lumbered and turned on the sea shore provided a beautiful hypnotic sound-scape to lull us to peaceful slumber.
Saturday arrives, minor roles John and Sue also appear in this act. Geocaching Jane has figured out another walk that comprises of wood- land and open farmland, again with those country views that never become tiresome. No Valiant Sailor to persuade in for a drink on this walk, but we all came prepared a la famous 5 (+1) with provisions of food and drink for a spiffing picnic. On the caching front Sue comes up trumps in locating a cleverly disguised cache (a giant fir cone) that had been moved from it’s hiding place, she had a second look as in true Sherlock fashion deduced that no such species of tree was in the surrounding environs, therefore merited further investigation.
?Oddest incident of the day has to go to the lonely cow in the woods. Our clover footed friend met us at the entrance to the wood was not inclined to follow, but then whilst having our famous five lunch it came lumbering out mooing woefully, cantered past doing a circumnavigation of the otherwise empty cow free pasture. Are you home let lonely cow?
The late afternoon was spent relaxing; those with swimwear braved the sea, a nice refreshing way to finish off the day’s activity. The four main roles hasten to get ready for their date with the Valiant Sailor, he doesn’t disappoint with tasty food and a classy music act. The classy music act’s name escapes my memory, but I did note that he was ‘big’ along this coastal strip, on my journey home he was billed to play at a watering hole in Hythe, I will try to get other tour dates in case anyone wishes to make a special trip to watch him perform.
Sunday, yes it is Sunday already. I am staying for an extra night so unhelpfully spectate as my fellow three adventurers de-camp. Geocaching Jane has one final route planned for us; this takes us through some more beautiful woodland and a field with lots of mushrooms to harvest, as well as juicy blackberries. We successfully found all our caches, and the bonus, which Ruth found after ferreting about like any seasoned woodland animal you care to name. We turn promiscuous at the expense of the Valiant Sailor in favour of the Cat and Custard pot, which was used by the pilots and ground crew from nearby R.A.F Hawkinge. The weekend came to an end rather too quickly especially as the weather has perked from quite warm and sunny to very warm and sunny. Still my sorrow didn’t last too long as I had another night to spend listening to waves upon the sea shore as well as a tasty BBQ with my folks.
Thanks all for a splendid weekend.