To Birchington

The view from our hotel window this morning is very different from what it was on the previous two mornings.

A view from the window
A view from the window

Has the heatwave turned tail and fled? It rather looks like it. This was how it looked at 6:45 am today.

The young gull pays a visit
The young gull pays a visit

As we sat and drank our tea, the young gull came back and perched on the balcony rail. He remained longer this time than on previous visits, showing no impatience, just waited quietly for whatever he was hoping for. At a particular moment, the gull “community” in the harbour became active, flying about and calling noisily. “Our” gull turned round to watch, obviously paying attention to what was going on. When things quietened down again, he turned back to us and resumed his patient wait. He flew away at last but will no doubt return later or tomorrow.

The sun breaks through
The sun breaks through

Contrary to the Met Office forecast, the sun later broke through the clouds and by 8:30 the scene looked as shown above. As we are taking the train and visiting a relative in Birchington-on-Sea, this change for the better is welcome – assuming that it stays.

Aboard the bus
Aboard the bus

We took a bus to go to the station but…

Some Creative Folkestone
Some Creative Folkestone

…it turned out to be the wrong bus so we had to walk a bit, passing some more Creative Folkestone on the way.

Bridge Coffee House
Bridge Coffee House

We stopped at this small cafe, the Bridge Coffee House, for coffee and croissants.

Antique cigarette machine
Antique cigarette machine

Set in the wall outside is this memento of times past, an old cigarette machine. When did it dispense its last packet of “gaspers”? Years ago.

Folkestone Station
Folkestone Station

At Folkestone Station, we just missed a train and had a while to wait for the next one.

On our way
On our way

The train is an HS1 but in this area it has to travel on ordinary low-speed tracks so there is no speed advantage.

We needed to change trains at Ramsgate.

Birchington-on-Sea Station
Birchington-on-Sea Station

We arrived at Birchington-on-Sea. Above is the picturesque railway station though we think the larger building on the right may have been sold off.

The name of Birchington dates from Anglo-Saxon times, being formed of two words, bircen, “birch trees”, and tun, “farm”.

Station Road
Station Road

We were meeting a relative and so went to a cafe in Station Road. Birchington has a mixture of old and new buildings and in parts has a village atmosphere.

Victorian canopies
Victorian canopies

This shop still has a Victorian-era canopy covering the pavement.

Dog Acre
Dog Acre

In Sainsbury’s we bought items for a picnic and to eat it found a shaded bench in this small park or garden bearing the picturesque name of Dog Acre.

Birchington Library, exterior
Birchington Library, exterior

Birchington Library, interior
Birchington Library, interior

We visited the small but pleasantly styled Birchington Public Library.

Obelisk in honour of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Obelisk in honour of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

On our way to the railway station, we paused in the diminutive Rossetti Gardens to photograph the obelisk raised by the Birchington Rossetti Society to the famous artist who died in the town in 1882.

House and business of John Chawner & Sons
House and business of John Chawner & Sons

Just beside the railway bridge stands the house and business premises of John Chawner & Sons, established 1891, repairer of clocks, watches and barometers. There are precious few such businesses left in this age of electronic devices.

Birchington Station
Birchington Station

We went into Birchington Station and caught the first of two trains back to our current base. Once again, we needed to change at Ramsgate.

Through the window
Through the window

The second train, destination Charing Cross, is an HS1 “Javelin”, but running here on ordinary slow track. Not that it matters as we do not have far to go.

The long slope
The long slope

The exit from Folkestone Central Station is down a long, steep slope. It’s also the entrance in which case you have to climb the long, steep slope. Going down is easier!

Back in Folkestone
Back in Folkestone

Soon we found ourselves out in the streets of Folkestone. I realised that I am already quite fond of this oddball town with is maritime history and its brave attempts to reinvent itself.

We now had to wait for a bus back to the hotel. I won’t bore you with further grumbles about the defective bus service but you may take it as read.

Arriving at the hotel, we called the lift and rose to the 8th floor. We entered our room and… who was waiting for us?

“Our” gull was waiting
“Our” gull was waiting

Yes, “our” gull was perched on the balcony railing. He didn’t stay long, though, and soon took wing, whither I do not know.

Though we spent much of today sitting talking or eating, what with the travel by bus and train and the heat, we were quite tired on arriving back in the room. We shall probably have recourse to the hotel restaurant for our evening meal. I will, though, leave my account at this point for now and take it up again in due course.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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