In Kent, we spent a lovely day enjoying a BBQ with family at their beach hut. I do love a beach hut. It is one of those things, like fish and chips and bright pink sticks of rock, that absolutely screams 'British seaside'.
And it's a bit like glamping, in that you can have all the informality of a picnic or BQ at the beach, but still have a chair and the ability to make a good old British cup of tea when it starts getting colder.
The beach at Tankerton isn't exactly the Caribbean. It's pebbles rather than sand, the water is generally cold, and you'll have to make do with a 99 ice-cream instead of a pina colada in a coconut shell.
But one thing that I have always liked here is the stunning sunsets that you can get. When I lived here and commuted into London, I loved to see the sun setting across the beach if I happened to pass by at the right time.
That evening wasn't the one of best sunsets, but it was still beautiful, and I rather liked the inclusion of a stray sky lantern floating across, and people paddling through the dregs of the outgoing tide.
|Old Sea Bathing Hospital, Margate|
While in Kent, we also took the chance to catch up with some of my family in Margate. Now Margate really is one of the classic British seaside resorts.
Years ago, this would be a destination of choice for the seaside holiday, or just a day out. From factory workers on a daytrip from London, to groups of Mods and Rockers coming to have a scuffle in the sand, Margate was a major attraction.
I remember coming here as a kid, playing on the sandy beaches, going as high as possible on the swing-boats (which when I see them now are much, much smaller that I remember them), and best of all, going to Dreamland.
Dreamland was my first taste of an amusement park, albeit on a much smaller scale than somewhere like Alton Towers, and at that time without the big rollercoasters. But it did have the Bumper Cars, the Waltzers (still a favourite of mine), and the Scenic Railway.
The latter was an old wooden roller coasters, that at the time, felt very big and very fast, but really wasn't! Enough about Dreamland for now though - perhaps I'll write about that some other time if we get around to going to it again.
For now, we were here to go with family to watch the carnival. Now as a child, I remember going along to the carnival of whatever town we lived in at the time, and seeing all the big, colourful floats, throwing change for the charity collections and trying to catch the boiled sweets that they threw.
The best decorated floats - and the ones that sometimes had better sweets or even little gifts - were the big company one, but the prettiest ones were usually those that carried the Carnival Princesses.
Each town would have crowned it's own Princess and ladies in waiting, and they would turn up at all of the local carnivals, waving and smiling. it was always a fun day out.
Now I don't know if it's just that everything just looked bigger and better when you were a child, that I'm older and more cynical now, or that I've been thoroughly spoiled by seeing the huge Mardi Gras carnivals in New Orleans, but I have to say I was pretty unimpressed by this Margate Carnival.
There weren't that many floats, and most of those that were there were clearly far more about the advertising than about the carnival. The decorations were generally a bit sad, and in a very sad indictment of your average British carnival goer these days, the Princesses' floats had been surrounded my netting, to stop people from trying to hit them with projectiles. We used to throw money onto the floats for charity - now they are using the poor girls as target practice!
Hmm, perhaps carnivals aren't really the thing for me anymore. But at least the kids seemed to enjoy it. For me, the best bit was the yarn-bombed mini.
After the procession passed, we headed down to the seafront to pick up some fish and chips, and sat eating those and fending off the increasing bold seagulls.
It is still a fun day out, but these days Margate is a little down at heel. The town is working on a revival, but it still made me laugh out loud when one of the travel guides included it is a 'must go' list a little while back. It definitely isn't there yet, but maybe in time it will be back at its best
The other thing that we did in Kent was a quick visit to Howletts, the local John Aspinal zoo park famous for its gorillas. So I'll leave you with a few lemur photos at the end of the post, and an odd pig.
Our other seaside destination was Brighton. We were doing a weekend cat sit, but first we treated ourselves to a couple of nights at the fancy little Blanche House hotel, which we had been to once before some years ago, back in the days when we worked and earned money!
I like Brighton, it has a nice feel about the place, although it can be unbearably busy at times. We've been here a few times before, so we didn't do the touristy stuff like the Pavilion - which is definitely worth going to, but just strolled around the streets and lanes, doing a bit of window shopping and finding nice places to stop for refreshments.
|Yarn-bombed mini, Margate Carnival|
|Crowned lemur with baby, Howletts|
|Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Howletts|
|Red Bellied Lemurs, Howletts|
|Crowned lemur with baby, Howletts|
|Red River Pig, Howetts|