Hello again all and, as seems almost inevitable with this website which I so naively embarked upon a few months ago, I begin with an apology.
Any of my handful of readers who were following matters sequentially will have left me back in Northern Ireland in early August 2018 where I had spent about two months at home with my Father having only intended to be there for about a week. I ended up staying until the 10th of that month when I returned to London for a literally overnight turnaround which entailed unloading the few dirty items of laundry (I had laundered at my Dad’s before leaving), replacing them with clean from the Himalayan pile of clean clothing awaiting ironing which may happen sometime before a politician tells the truth but don’t hold your breath. I swear that little suitcase has not been fully unpacked for about 18 months now.
The next day saw me on a train and heading for the utterly delightful seaside town of Broadstairs in Kent, which is about as far East as you can go in that county without getting wet as you will have fallen in the Channel! Apart from the many obvious charms of this delightful town you may wonder why I was taking myself there and the reason is simple, it was Broadstairs Folk Week which is arguably the largest and certainly my favourite of the numerous Folk Festivals that take place all over the UK every year.
Most UK festivals are weekend or long weekend four-day gigs but Broadstairs is one of the three week-long events that take place throughout the season (the others being Sidmouth in Devon and Whitby in North Yorkshire) and I am unsure exactly how many years I have played it but I reckon it is 27 this year. I missed one in 2016 as I was travelling in Canada but otherwise it has been an unbroken run. The Canada trip will eventually form the basis of another set of retrospective entries here but there really is so much to be done beforehand. Likewise I have more than enough images, memories and written pieces salvaged from other now-defunct sites to construct travelogues on many different years here but again it is all a matter of when I get time to do it.
I am something of a standing joke in Broadstairs although I have to say that that particular state of being is not at all confined to this location. The reason is that, like my four-day Dutch trip last year which took three and a half months and my week back in Northern Ireland which took two, I have a habit of not going home. I am not even going to start explaining my five-week trip to the Philippines in 2012 where I managed to substitute the word months for weeks and is yet another travelogue waiting to happen. I just tend to get marooned in places and last year I came to Broadstairs to play Folk Week but ended up going back to London in early November as I wanted to attend Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph as I habitually do if I am in the country. It is just the way I am, I get cast up on foreign shores and tend to remain.
You may well wonder how I manage to do such things and I do try to explain them as I go along in my various little travelogues here. I am certainly not a rich man and cannot afford to just sign into some hotel or another for months on end. I hope I can give a few tips in my writing about how to minimise costs for the independent traveller but in the case of Broadstairs it is very simple. I have two wonderful friends who live right in the middle of the town and are kind enough to put me up, allowing me to stay as long as I like even though I often tell them to throw me out when they are sick of the sight of me. They never do. I am not going to name them here for various reasons but they have my deepest thanks and are the most lovely people. Again I am drawn back to another of my travel / life mantras (is there a difference?) that there are a Hell of a lot more good people in the world than bad and so here I am on a gloriously sunny Summer day in a town I love with an almost ridiculous passion. A dear friend whose opinion I greatly respect once told me it was my “spiritual home” and, whilst I shy away from the term somewhat, it is undoubtedly true.
I am typing this in a great bar (the George) which is not 200 yards from my bed and “home” where I have my own key. I have free run of the kitchen and bathroom, access to the washing machine (vital when you travel as light as I do) and I am living with friends who I socialise with on an almost daily basis. How bad can that be? If any of you have been reading the account of my little European excursion last year you will have heard me speaking of the “travel Gods” who I firmly believe in. No, that is not a belief system nor religion and, no, I am not intending to start a cult worshipping them but I genuinely believe in their presence, not as deities per se but just some sort of “something” that looks out for travellers. I have a Hell of a life on the road and I fully appreciate that fact.
Enough of the philosophy and back to the details. I am in Broadstairs again for whatever length of time, I have been asked to play at the local Folk Club this evening which is generally a good laugh and I believe there may also be a firework display which really are spectacular here. I’ll keep you posted. I have been asked to play at a house party on Saturday for other friends where there will be a bunch of musos hanging about as the male half of the couple is a bass player in no less than three bands so that should be fun. Of course this sort of thing ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy as someone sees you at a gig and asks you to open for them the next Tuesday or “dep” (stand in for someone) at another gig and so becoming stranded here is not too difficult.
Right, I think that is me caught up with my present position but for anyone who is coming upon this site for the first time I shall provide a couple of links to the other travelogues I have alluded to as the only way I can keep any semblance of order here is to post events on the days they happened.
You can find the start of my European jaunt here.
If you want to know about my recent trip to Northern Ireland trip it is here.
I should say that both are works in progress but the N.I. one should be finished in a day or two and the European one in a little while as I have much of it written.
As a final comment, thank you as always to everyone who has read my pages here and sent comments or “liked” them and there is much more to come so please stay tuned and spread the word.