Locomotive on the M25
Yes, you read that correctly!
Leaving Aylesbury following a fulfilling breakfast, we headed towards the M25 – the ring-road motorway around London. Whilst you’d expect this to be free-flowing, it rarely is… a couple of years ago on one of our trips, it came to a halt in order for a duck & ducklings to walk across (I jest not), this year, the traffic slowed as it passed a low loader carrying the Bittern locomotive on its way to a heritage railway somewhere; unfortunately, as I was driving, I couldn’t get a photo.
Apparently, it was on it’s way from Crewe to Margate & here’s some further information https://theisleofthanetnews.com/bittern-has-arrived-in-margate/
Planning pays off
Prior to setting off this year, Glyn had done some research and found some brew pubs and other interesting places to visit (yes there can be something more than brewpubs that are interesting!). One of these was on Folkestone harbour where some containers had been set up to be used as a base for fledgling businesses one being a small brewery: the Docker brewery, where we had a beer and some bread as they make both!
Battle of Britain museum
We then went to the Battle of Britain museum on the site of the old Hawkinge airfield.
This was a very interesting museum with very large number of artefacts, including many replica aircraft (mainly Hurricanes). However, we both felt that an opportunity had been missed in that many of the artefacts were related to two or three pilots and the museum had spread these throughout the exhibits rather than pulled them together as a single series telling the story of the battle from a pilot’s perspective in a more interesting way. Unfortunately, we do not have any photographs from the museum as cameras are strictly not allowed as they had had an unfortunate theft where they believe that part of the reconnaissance for which had been done by someone taking photographs.
Leaving the museum, we drove past the memorial to pilots who lost their lives flying from Hawkinge
On to Dover
We then set off for Dover where we were staying for the night. We found this fairly quickly & easily, unfortunately, there were a lot of steps that needed climbing up to just get to the front door and even more inside. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, however, whilst visiting the museum Colin had pulled a muscle in his leg and was finding walking difficult.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to climb all the way up to the castle
So, what to do about tea? Fortunately, our pre-visit research had found that there were a number of micropubs that had been set up in Dover together with a couple of breweries’ brewery taps where you could try their beers. Micro pubs are a relatively new trend in the UK where a shop is taken over & fitted out as a mini pub… you don’t get the same facilities as you find in a “normal” pub, but they’re usually run by Real Ale enthusiasts & so of interest to Colin & Glyn!
The nearest one to our accommodation was The Lanes Micropub where we were made very welcome by owners Debbie and Keith; even though it was our first visit, we were welcomed as friends. A couple of beers there and then off for some food to a restaurant recommended by them: The Allotment, an English restaurant run by an Italian gentleman! The food was fantastic and definitely somewhere to consider a return visit. Having eaten, we then headed off to another micropub, this time The Thirsty Scarecrow which had more of a focus on cider. A swift beer, here, before catching a bus up to the brewery tap that we had decided to visit.
Brewery Tap splits opinions
This was the Breakwater Brewery Tap. Our beers here split our opinions! The first was “Cow Juice”, a Milk Stout. Colin was expecting this to be very sweet and creamy, but it wasn’t! It was the new style of milk stout coming to the fore in the UK which Glyn really enjoyed. We then had one of their bitters before once again heading back in towards Dover on the bus.
As we were walking past The Lanes we decided to pop in for a final drink and for a change, we both opted for cider as they had a number available & we thought it would get us in the mood for Normandy!
In addition to “standard” ciders & perries (ciders are made from apples, perries from pears) we had to have a quick taste of one called an “apple pie cider”… and that was exactly what you tasted: first the apples, then a hint of cinnamon coming through and then finally, (& frankly unbelievably), a taste of pastry!!
If you are ever in Dover, then The Lanes micropub run by Debbie and Keith Lane is most definitely to be recommended. The welcome that you get is wonderful whether you’re a new visitor, a returning visitor or a regular, you are equally made to feel very welcome.
So, it was then back to accommodation ready for an early start as tomorrow we go across to France