Thursday 15 February 2018
Dickens, Fleming, Roddenberry and a mini Grand Tour
"To the last, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!" Khan Noonien Singh, commander of the Botany Bay and first seen in the Star Trek (original series) episode Space Seed and of course the film, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
The other Botany Bay near Broadstairs in Kent - our destination to celebrate Laurel's birthday and our first wedding anniversary. We stood by the chalk cliffs you can see - luckily the tide was out....
A trip to Broadstairs can only mean one thing - Dickens and the original Bleak House. The weather was overcast, windy, cold and drizzle-laden so Bleak seemed an apt name....
The Isle of Thanet was of course the setting for Ian Fleming's James Bond novel of Moonraker as well as the early stages of Goldfinger . I chuckled inwardly as I remembered Fleming's description of the 'Bungaloid world' of Herne Bay, Whitstable and of course Reculver where Goldfinger had his smelting facility. We drove along that wonderful stretch of the A28 (again mentioned by Fleming) from Canterbury via Chilham up through Molash and Charing and on to Maidstone.
The 13th February was not only Laurel's birthday it was also our first wedding anniversary so we decided to have short break away. I made all the arrangements and so we spent the night at a small hotel overlooking Botany Bay. The hotel was fine and the food was outstanding. The only problem we experienced was the weather in that it was cold, windy and drizzling all day. The second day was much better and so we were able to take a short walk along the beach before departing.
I should mention that we took a rather circuitous route going on our outward journey - via Manston and the Spitfire Museum (sadly not this visit but earmarked for the future) and through Broadstairs - but the return home was through Margate, Birchington and then swinging south at Canterbury
via Chilham, Molash, Charing and Maidstone.
Charity shop find (there was no shortage of these in Maidstone - we visited 5!). This is the hardback version of Tom Holland's acclaimed account of the last century of the Roman Republic. This is a favourite period of history for me as the Romans took on a wide variety of opponents as they drifted towards the Empire.
I was a little disappointed with Maidstone as it seemed quite ragged around the edges compared to when I lived there some years back. Perhaps I need to polish my rose-tinted spectacles a little! The book above is one I have been after for time as my paperback version has all but disintegrated. I must confess to enjoying the wars of the later republic rather than the more usual Imperial phase. I have a small section of the library devoted to this era and will certainly game something from it at some point.
The book was really a bonus on our whirlwind tour of Thanet and despite the weather we had a really good time. Laurel was happy and we have resolved to visit the area again at some point - preferably when the weather is around twenty degrees higher....
(I also want to go to the Spitfire Museum...)