Reminiscing with family on the SE English coast

Trip Start Feb 28, 2010
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Trip End Aug 28, 2010


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Where I stayed
Tim and Josie Simmonds

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, August 8, 2010

We had another drive through the pretty Kent countryside yesterday morning on our way to Sandgate on the  SE coast. We decided to have a quick photo stop at Bayham Abbey after the second lost camera incident a couple of days ago. It hasn't been handed into the police so I think we are out of luck unfortunately. We arrived at Tim and Josie's in time for lunch. Tim is Mum's first cousin so it was wonderful to meet up with some of the English family. They have a gorgeous old house overl˛ooking the sea which they have renovated over the years. Their 11 year old grandson, Liam was staying with them which was great for Felicity and Genevieve. We chatted away for hours catching up on all the family news. It was refreshing to walk along the promenade smelling the sea air and looking out at the English Channel. We even welcomed the annoying sea gulls. Felicity and Liam rode the bikes and the rest of us strolled along. We stopped off at the Rowing Club for a pint or two before heading back for dinner and more talking. With his career as a aeroplane engineer on the flight deck, Tim and Josie have travelled the world many times over. They are always ready to share their stories of the crazy adventures they have had over the years. Their son, Richard joined us in the evening and we reminisced about his travels to NZ many moons ago. He has held interesting roles in British customs so the stories continued to get more colourful as the night progressed.

Today we headed off to Dover Castle with Liam joining us. For over 2,000 years these fortifications have protected the English coast. Henry II built the present castle in the 1180's and over the next 800 years its buildings and defences were adapted to meet the changing demands of weapons and warfare. The secret wartime tunnels were the highlight. Expanded during WWII, the fortresses secret Napoleonic tunnels wre used as an allied command post during the evacuation of Dunkirk. We went on a tour of the recreated Command Centre and hospital with sound and lighting effects. The views from the Admiralty Look-out First World War Fire Command Post were superb - the white cliffs of Dover, the English Channel and France on the horizon. We came home to the most scrumptous roast pork dinner, with Yorkshire puddings cooked by Richard. All the family joined us except for Charles who was away working. So along with Tim, Josie and ourselves there was Richard & Claire, Becky, Jordan and Liam. A fantastic Simmonds family gathering. Afterwards a few of the group headed out to seaside park to watch Ghostbusters on the big outdoor screen. Tim and I picked them up about 11pm so it was another late night after tea and hot chocolates around the kitchen table.
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