Thursday, 6 October 2016

A trip into Kent

Sue and I originally planned to visit the National Archives at Kew today ... but when we woke up the weather forecast predicted good weather for South East England, and we decided that we would rather spend the day visiting Canterbury and Herne Bay in Kent.

We arrived in Canterbury before midday, had no difficulty finding somewhere to park our car, and then spent a very pleasant couple of hours wandering the streets of the city. As the tourist season is coming to an end the centre of Canterbury was not too crowded, and we had no difficulty walking through some of the city's narrow medieval streets.

There are plenty of restaurants in Canterbury, but we decided to drive to Herne Bay so that we could eat a fish and chip lunch in our favourite seafront restaurant and ice cream parlour, Makcaris.


We parked in the car park on the seafront ... and when we got out we realised that there was a strong cold wind blowing from the east. Luckily it was only a short walk to the restaurant, and by just after 2.30pm we had both ordered cod and chips for lunch. (The mushy peas come unless you choose not to have them, and the fish is always served with a piece of lemon and a pot of tartar sauce.)


As usual the fish was fresh and fried to perfection, and the chips were (to quote the captured U-Boat captain in the famous episode of DAD'S ARMY) 'crisp and light brown'.

Our drive home was uneventful, and by 4.30pm we were sitting in our living room having a refreshing drink.

So did we feel that we missed out by not going to the National Archives today? The simple answer is a resounding 'No!' We had a pleasant day out on what might be one of the last nice days before the Autumn weather begins to take hold ... and the records we would have looked at are still going to be there when we do pay our next visit to the Archives. After all, they've been there for almost two hundred years, so a wait of a few more days isn't going to make much difference!

16 comments:

  1. Bob,
    Sounds a very relaxing day out for you both- Hmmm that Cod looks terrific- I'm getting hungry just looking at the Canterbury Cod! Cheers. KEV.

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    1. Kev,

      We had a great day, and both of us returned home refreshed.

      I understand that the locally-caught cod comes from the wonderfully named Knock John area of the Thames Estuary. This is also the location of a World War II Maunsell seafort.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. The old expression about making hay comes to mind. Sounds like a good way to spend a day.

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    1. Ross Mac,

      It was a great way to spend an early autumn day ... and we both felt much the better for it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Yum. I love eating fish and chips at the seaside outside overlooking a nice harbour hopefully wrapped in paper. They don't taste the same here. I do have issues with mushy peas.

    My only story about tartare sauce was when I had just started uni oop north. I was in a traditional hall of residence where we all eat in a dining hall. Fish and chips was served. There were those massive catering bottles of tomato and brown sauce. I asked for tartare sauce and the withering response from the serving lady was 'where do you think you are - the f**king Ritz or somewhere'.

    Guy

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    1. Guy,

      It was a bit too windy outside to eat our fish and chips in the traditional manner. As to the mushy peas ... well I like them when they are prepared properly, but not if they are a luminous green and tasteless.

      Yet another example of the north/south divide! From what I understand the fish used in fish and chips means fried haddock in the north and cod in the south.

      All the best,

      Bob

      PS. I didnt know that the Ritz served fish and chips, but the serving lady obviously did!

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    2. As any Grimbarian will tell you, haddock is by far the superior fish, even my kids brought up in exile appreciate that ;-) . But that fact isn't appreciated that much even in the rest of the North. Thankfully, as that leaves more for us.

      I have been known to take colleagues to task for denigrating mushy peas. I pointed out they were in breach of the company diversity policy.

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    3. Nundanket,

      Haddock or cod? I've eaten both and enjoyed both. My wife prefers plaice or skate, and I have a friend who will always choose rock if it is available.

      Not so long ago I ate minted mushy peas in a top fish restaurant ... and they were the best I have ever eaten. A proper accompaniment to the fried fish they came with.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Replies
    1. Phil Dutré,

      They are great ... with moules and mayonnaise. I've never eaten them with fried fish, but I'm inclined to believe that when it comes to fish and chips, the chips have to be chunky ones.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Sounds like a great day out Bob. Canterbury is one of my favourite places to visit, and at busier times of year the park and ride scheme is excellent. As for Herne Bay, I know it well as my parents used to take me there on hot summer days :)

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    1. 'Lee,

      It was a very enjoyable day, and one that helped us to relax more than we expected.

      Canterbury has so much to offer is such a small area, and I always enjoy visiting it ... when there aren't too many tourists about! (I have the same problem visiting Greenwich; too many tourists - usually with guides - who have little or no concept of what they are looking at. Seeing the way they behave has made me very conscious of how to conduct myself when I am visiting somewhere abroad.)

      Herne Bay is a good example of what a small seaside town can be. Not too commercialised, not too overcrowded, and the prices are reasonable. I understand that there are moves afoot to rebuild the pier, although whether that will happen or not is dependent upon outside funding.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. We like Canterbury as it's very convenient for us to visit by train. There's a very good Moroccan restaurant I'd recommend. If you like the medieval streets have you looked round Sandwich? It's centre was mercifully saved from the worst of both the Luftwaffe and postwar redevelopment. Good Italian restaurant by the old quay.

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    1. Nigel Drury,

      It must be almost as quick - if not quicker - for you to reach Canterbury from Chatham than it is for you to travel to London!

      I've never tried Moroccan food, but I somehow suspect that it might be a bit too spicy for Sue as she has an allergy to certain ones that are commonly used.

      At one point Sue and I looked at buying a house in Sandwich, and visited one dating from the late medieval period twice with a view to purchasing it. The older part was used as the main living space (i.e. living room, dining room, and bedrooms) whilst a much newer annex housed the kitchen, bathroom, toilet etc. The two buildings were separated by a tiny gap to meet the very stringent building regulations regarding ancient buildings, and it was the expense of the upkeep of a Listed building that eventually put us off buying it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. For us it's just over 40 minutes to Canterbury, just under to StPancras. Rye is the other place not that far for medieval streets.

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    1. Nigel Drury,

      Forty minutes isn't too long a journey time to get to either place.

      We've been to Rye ... but not recently. We really must go back soon.

      All the best,

      Bob

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