Friday 16th August arrived and it was already the last day of Folk Week which had simply flown by due to my delayed start. It also occurred to me very quickly that it was my late Mother’s birthday, may she rest in peace, which always happens either during or just after Folk Week depending on how the calendar falls. This year was a bit special, however, as it would have been her 90th birthday.
Sadly, we lost her to the evil that is cancer ten years ago although it certainly does not seem like it.
Certainly I owe my Father a huge amount, notably my very defined sense of right, wrong and fair play but it was my Mother that instilled in me my great love of reading which I suspect influenced so much else in my life. She was not a huge traveller herself with a trip to Vancouver Island in Canada accompanying my Father’s Male Voice Choir her sole foray outside Europe but one of her many jobs was as a librarian and the more she encouraged me the more I read about “exotic” foreign places and the more I wanted to visit them. As I approach my 60th birthday (yes, I know, and there is nobody more surprised than me at how it crept up) and this situation still exists.
The tagline of this website is “Travelling while I still can” and that is very much the case. I have all sorts of ideas half formed although many have had to be put on the back burner for a while for reasons that will become apparent if you read on a few more entries in this series.
My usual “Thanet Loop” bus, which is an excellent service, whisked me quickly to Broadstairs, ordered a pint of breakfast and set up with Paul. for the last playaround of the week in the George Inn. For me it had only been four but it really did seem to go quickly. If the Tuesday had been a day of greetings then the Friday was very much a day of farewells. There are events until the early hours of Saturday morning and the campsite is open on the Friday night, many people will tend to drift off on Friday afternoon especially if they have a fair distance to go or, as in the case of several friends, are heading straight to Whitby Folk Week for another week of much of the same.
After our session, a few of us headed to the Magnet micropub for a drink and a bit of a play again I still was not feeling up to much but I had something I needed to sort out before I headed back over to Ramsgate for my last night in my digs there. The last sentence should give you a clue here. It would have been no problem to head back to London on the Saturday but I felt as if I had only just arrived in Thanet and I always stay for a little while after Folk Week to hang out with my numerous friends here and usually pick up a few gigs as well. When I say a little while, that is a fairly subjective term as I did not leave until 9th November in 2018! Come on, I love it here.
Any of the conventional accommodation options locally would have proved to be a bit of a strain on the budget especially as it was still in the relatively short high season and hoteliers rightly have to make a bit of money when they can. My “ace in the hole” here was my dear friend Jackie who is the landlady of the wonderful Wrotham Arms pub situated on the Ramsgate Road and far enough out of the centre to leave it quiet even on weekend nights when the local youth can create mayhem in the town but still central enough that leaves it less than a ten minute amble to Albion Street / High Street, the “main drag”. There are rooms above and I have stayed there many, many times over more years than I care to remember. Jackie has been there ten years now and before that the Wrotham was run by another dear friend Jenny and between them I doubt if there is a room of the nine available that I have not laid my head down on one occasion or another. It suits me down to the ground.
I spoke to the lovely Jackie and she told me that I was in luck. I knew she would have probably been full with musicians during the Festival but may have had a room free now. I was in luck, although Jackie wasn’t, as she had been let down at the last minute by a gang of visiting workers who make up much of her clientele. She told me to pitch up the next afternoon as she does not open lunchtime and I would be most welcome. She also quoted a most attractive “mates rate” for the room which was easily within my budget and meant that I could stay more or less as long as I wanted which suited nicely. As a bit of a quid pro quo I told her not to bother the cleaner (yes, before you ask, I know her as well!) as I would make my own bed and tidy up after myself. I don’t see the need for the poor woman to knock her pan out every day making my bed etc. and if I needed a new bin liner or towel or whatever, I’d dump them outside the door for replacement. I am fairly low maintenance and everyone is happy.
The bar was fairly quiet and so I had a couple of leisurely pints whilst catching up on the gossip but was still a fairly early return to Spencer Court and another early bed. Something still wasn’t right with me and I had no idea what it might be.
All will be explained soon so stay tuned and spread the word.