14 July 2012 (Saturday) - Dover in the Rain
A reasonably decent night's sleep for a change. I got up fairly early and did the morning's weigh-in. No weight loss, but no weight gain either. I mucked about for a bit with silly Facebook games, then spent a bit of time fiddling with my phone. I've downloaded Google Sky to use as a star atlas, but will need to use it in the dark (when it's not cloudy) to be sure it works.
I noticed that somehow or other my phone knew about the planned outing to Dover today. I wonder who told it? Perhaps it reads the "Dates for the Diary" section of this blog.
Steve's arrival prompted me to get dressed, and after a quick visit to the cashpoint machine we set off to the clifftop café in Capel for a bite of brekkie. It might cost, but you can't beat the Full English, and Capel has such wonderful views too.
Just as we finished, the Brightonians arrived, and over a cuppa we were treated to a magic show. Rhiannon might only be small, but she's got quite a talent for magic tricks, and a few of them had me stumped as to how she was doing the tricks.
With brekkie scoffed and cuppas drunk we made our way to the Western Heights car park to meet up with the rest of the crew, and a dozen of us mooched round the gun emplacements as the rain started to fall. I had a look at the entrance to the deep shelter. Someone had replaced the gate with one that I couldn't climb over. I wasn't happy about that.
We made our way to the Grand Shaft. Built over a hundred years ago, the Grand Shaft is a triple spiral staircase going from the top of the cliffs at Dover down to the sea front. Going down is easy enough - going back up is a killer.
As we eventually struggled our way to the top so the rain really got heavy, so we went into the Drop Redoubt. Anyone who's ever been to Dover will have seen the majestic castle overlooking the town from one of the hills. Maybe one person in a hundred who's been to Dover will have heard of the Drop Redoubt on the opposite hill. Because it's not given the same priority as Dover Castle by it's owners (English Heritage) the Drop Redoubt is the poor cousin. But, to my mind, the Drop Redoubt is every bit as good as Dover Castle. Today the Western Heights Preservation Society had an open day, and the Drop Redoubt was opened up. Which was good - it gave us somewhere to get out of the rain.
Last year when we went to this place's open day we had a great time. There were things to do and see, there were re-enactments going on. This time there was torrential rain, and everyone was huddled inside hiding from the rain. We made the most of the day, and saw and did what we could. The pic-nic was interesting; normally we'd lunch in the sunshine. Today we lunched in a draughty corridor of a two hundred year old fortress. It was such a shame: most of the events and activities were cancelled. We were all soaked through. But it was a wonderful day with wonderful company. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
And then back to the car. In the meantime the rain had gone from medium monsoon to completely torrential, and we all got soaked during the two minute walk back to the car park. We said our goodbyes and went our various ways. As we drove home Tony Blackburn was on the radio re-running the top twenty from 1978. There were some good memories there - John Travolta, The Boomtown Rats and the Smurfs to name but most of them. Once back in Ashford the Brightonians (having bought dry socks) came home with us for a cuppa, which was good. The sixty miles which usually separate us can be a nuisance.
Saturday night - film night. Tonight we watched "Underworld Awakening" which frankly made no sense whatsoever. I'm told that if you've seen the three films which come before it, then it becomes somewhat more understandable. The second film of the evening was "Journey to the Centre of the Earth II" which went nowhere near the centre of the Earth. Instead it went to Atlantis (which was on dry land) and had more than just the occasional plot hole. But it was still quite watchable.
I've not been to a Saturday film night for some time - I've quite missed them.