What I did on my holidays

I’m tempted to make this a photographic record but there is a limit to the number of atmospheric shots – shingle beaches, empty oyster shells (empty because you always remember the camera after the oyster has been slurped down), half-timbered facades with the date displayed in ornate stucco arrangements, charity shops, general quaintness punctuated by austere Caspar David Friedrich-like seascapes and unusual views of Canterbury cathedral – that people are prepared to stomach, and I’m worried that I might not know exactly what it is. I’d put on a video or two, made with our new camcorder, of places we’ve seen and stayed at, but I learnt – alas too late – two cardinal no-no’s in the amateur video business. One: Don’t whizz round like a dervish because it makes people dizzy. Two: a picture really is worth a thousand words, which means that a moving picture tends to obviate the need for any commentary at all, and particularly commentary along the lines of ‘…and this is the very attractive and well-equipped bathroom…’. So I’ll keep them to myself (and maybe YouTube, where I can pretend to be anonymous). 

Which leaves me with moments. My first taste of samphire, and wondering if its gathering is still a dreadful trade. Using the predictive whatsit on my mobile to tell my sister we’re eating at the Crab and Winkle in Whitstable (where I had the samphire, as it happens, as part of an excellent meal – I recommend it) and only realised as I was about to send it that my phone had predicted Arab and Winkle, two words that don’t often go together. Wondering on the bus to Faversham what the woman with a baseball cap and ankh earrings was writing feverishly over dozens of pages of a spiral notebook and finally reading the words: ‘I wish to let go of the past – with love’ on each line of each page. The luck of finding a Donna Karan suit for men (I didn’t know she did stuff for men) in a charity shop – in what will be my size after a fortnight’s semi-serious dieting – for a tenner. An exquisitely detailed latex seed, sprouting from latex earth and wrapped in a strip of paper with a fish printed on it, the whole thing no bigger than an eggcup. Wind, water, rain, the scent of asphalt. A pyramid of cockle shells constantly fed by a rolling strip of rubber crankily emerging from the side of a building. The sheer variety of fishermens’ huts. A security guard at Canterbury who, when asked which building was the Archbishop’s Palace, said, with a hostile leer, ‘I do know, of course, but I can’t tell you.’ People having time to talk.

Be warned. Photographs will follow.
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2 Responses to What I did on my holidays

  1. equiano says:

    Glad you enjoyed our neck of the woods! Very odd about the Cathedral guard – I could have sworn there was a big sign on the gate to the Palace saying “Archbishop’s Palace” so it would be rather daft to refuse to tell you where it was. Perhaps its been taken down – you have me intrigued, now I’ll have to check. Isn’t Whitstable charming?

  2. I’m sure the sign is still there. I think the guard may have been dallying with us. Yes, Whitstable is a delight and I’m looking forward to my next visit…

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