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Day Three

Dungeness (you will of course know it from Derek Jarman’s Garden) is the largest area of shingle in Europe and the only place in the UK where the rainfall is so low, it’s officially a desert. There is a fish shack there which does amazing seafood, which one simply eats at the counter in the open air. And John has his classic Mazda MX5 convertible.

At sixty-five, I had thought that I, like Lucy Jordan at the age of thirty-seven (in the song), would never ride through Paris (or Kent) in a sports car, with the warm wind in what was left of my hair. Now a combination of a long, hot summer and a snazzy-carred friend offered that belated experience.

We’d not been gone fifteen miles when the rain started and we had to put the hood up. It was my first time in an open convertible. It lasted half an hour. I got wet. Story of my life.

And it rained and rained. At the fish stall, we crouched under an umbrella and had an instant coffee; then we drove into Rye for a whitebait snack and a beer in a quaint — and dry — pub.

We strolled round the picturesque but damp town, childhood holiday haunt of my host, and headed back to the dryness of his apartment. In the evening we collected Doreen and went to a very good restaurant in Tunbridge Wells, called Vittles and Swig.

The return to London and the hell-ride home, next week.


Meanwhile I’ve waited in all morning for a new electricity meter and no one has shown up. This is the second attempt (they brought the wrong one last time), but they’re still charging me estimated bills and I’m getting more and more frustrated, when I should be out trying to tempt punters to come and see the very wonderful …

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