On my recent visit to England I hit the road with my old chum Ed Pritchard. The last time were were on the road was in New Zealand and he ended up returning to the UK having found himself a new girlfriend. We are two hairy men fond of a beer, food and a fine cigar and endless story-telling. The perfect travel companion in my book. For your wee road trip we decided to visit Whitstable in Kent. I'd never been before and Ed decided it would be a great destination for a lads weekend away. And do you know what? He was right.
We set off from his place in Peckham Rye I think this shot sums up Ed and Cass's house in the up-and-coming suburb of Peckham Rye.
On the way we stopped off in Canterbury and look in a quick visit to check out the cathedral. I couldn't go inside because I regularly burst into flames in religious locations.
More exciting than the cathedral was this mint Ford Angela we stopped on the journey. Look at this thing of beauty.
Whitstable is famous for its oysters, which have been collected in the area since at least Roman times. The town itself dates back to before the writing of the Domesday Book. Whitstable's distinctive character is popular with tourists, and its maritime heritage is celebrated with the annual oyster festival. Freshly caught shellfish are available throughout the year at several seafood restaurants and pubs in the town. The town itself is like stepping back to a gentler place in time. As usual the English Summer was on form...
The wooden walls you see in these last two pictures are called groynes. Ancient wooden seawalls designed to hold the beach in place. Just take a look at that last picture, at the sky. It's easy to see why J. M. W. Turner would often paint his pictures off this wild and wonderful coast.
Perched out here on the edge of the coast we found the perfect little spot to wet our whistle. The Neptune Pub nestled in the amongst the groynes and seemingly on a slow crooked march into the ocean. As if Neptune himself is calling home his namesake.
On the weathered walls of this pub there are blurry photographs and tattered flyers that seem to talk about greater days of this old ship of a pub. The plate above commemorates a time when this pub was filled with film people and excitement. Bands come here to play in the tiny stage area bring some life. When we come in we're served drinks but the locals and the staff don't exactly embrace us. This is a place to come and have a quiet drink between friends. It's not exactly The Slaughtered Lamb but it's not Cheers either. And that suits Ed and I fine.
Our first night there Ed and I managed to wrangle our way into the Whitstable Oyster Company. This proves to be a successful choice. The food is fresh and perfectly cooked. The service is bubbly and welcoming. In fact it's so good we immediately book to come there for dinner the next night.
In another fantastic twist of fate we discover that there's a musician playing upstairs that night. It's someone that Ed has heard of - he's a real music buff. So we wrangle ourselves a couple of tickets. The band and promotor are actually dining in the restaurant with us!
So after our meal we retire upstairs to Oyster Catchers Hall and check out the musical stylings of Devon Sproule. She's a terrific performer and I'm still humming her tunes right now. I actually purchased a copy of her album - Live in London - which features the song One Eye Open. If you like your country and western with a strong indie edge then Devon will definitely tweek your playlist. I think she's great.
In all my stay in Whitstable was filled with fine ales, good food and the company of a good friend. It doesn't get better than that does it?