Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Twin Sisters

Last Sunday I was going absolutely stir crazy in the house.  My plans the previous day to have lunch with some girlfriends in London had been cancelled due to snow and that day I was supposed to be meeting another bunch of girlfriends for high tea in Canterbury - one of our favourite catch up and gossip past-times.  Unfortunately two of the girls live in one of the nearby villages on the Downs and access is up a very long, very steep hill.  This coupled with the deluge of snow we had received meant that all my weekend plans had been cancelled.

My lovely husband is not nearly as daunted by the prospect of skidding, ice and a grisly cold death as apparently I am and suggested we go on a little driving adventure to the seaside.  His excuse was that he wanted to see snow on the water.  I thought he was absolutely crazy but jumped at the chance to get out of the house.  On went the layers and off we drove to Herne Bay (via a quick stop at M&S for some supplies and popped into a friends house in Herne just outside of Herne Bay for a coffee en-route and to confirm another friends birthday plans for the evening).

Herne Bay was beautiful in the snow - eerily quiet with the beach covered in deep drifts.  We come here frequently in the summer (some good independent boutiques help to break a day up on the beach and the Italian ice cream at the Band Stand is divine) but this was the first time I have seen it quite like this.  Normally you struggle to find somewhere to park in the summer as the place is inundated with sun seeking locals and tourists alike but today the place was like a ghost town! We ventured onto the beach and Steve had to help me as the snow covered pebbles kept dropping away under my feet.  I had my iPad with me so got some OK pictures on that of the pier and the water lapping by the end of the wooden groynes.  No snow on the water though which was a shame.
We only spent about 30 minutes in Herne Bay in the end as it was just too cold and decided to hop back in the car and nip down the coast to Reculver.  Reculver is tiny and despite living in the area for 10 years, it took me until last Summer to finally figure out how to get to the Towers (the ruined St Mary's Church) which are one of the coastal landmarks.  It is so well know to mariners that they nicknamed the towers the 'Twin Sisters' hundreds of years ago.  It's the oddest journey - you basically end up driving through a dense residential area to a country lane near the back, down the lane following the same route as the old Roman road that led to Canterbury, past a holiday caravan park or three and it opens into a wide car park with the seacoast directly below and a cosy pub (The King Ethelbert Inn) nearby with the Towers reaching up into the sky overhead.  I love this place - it is a beautiful spot and would be great for a picnic when the weather warms up.
In the snow it was magical.  There were some families with kids (only about 6 people in total) sledging near the side of the Towers.  Other than the laughter of the children it was deathly silent with the pervading smell of burning cedar wood coming from the pub next door floating on the air.  Heavenly.

The Towers themselves are ancient with the central structure in surprisingly good condition and the remains of the Roman fort built nearly 2000 years ago behind  - all surrounded by fields and the sea and the glinting lights of Herne Bay in the distance.  We arrived just before sunset and I wish I could take credit for the photo.  Sadly that has to be claimed by husband - he took it on his phone of all things.  Reculver to me is wild, untamed and moody.  The coast around the Towers is treacherous and filled with rocks with little beach to access and it appeals to the hopeless romantic within me.  The Towers are such a lonely, isolated edifice.

Places like Reculver are one of the reasons I have set up this blog.  It is so tucked away and off the tourist trail that most visitors to Canterbury won't ever get to see it.  These towers have been standing guard over the coast since the 12C and the fort a thousand years longer.  It is a wonderful place and I can't wait to picnic here with some friends in the summer, listening to music, drinking chilled Sauvignon Blanc and playing frisbee and rounders in the shelter of the Twin Sisters of Reculver.

1 comment:

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