August 5th, 2004

full steam ahead

The town the ferry ate

We often talk about British seaside towns as having decaying gentility: I think Dover has downright decayed (and not just because I seem to have picked the only day this summer it's going to rain to pop down!). Cars have carved the town up more than most, to get you on the ferry and gazing back through the haze at the grey green cliffs as fast as possible. Pleasant promenades of Georgian and Victorian houses have roads carved down the middle. Historic Dover is cut off from the sea by an underpass so you find the pebble beach almost by accident. Not melancholy but - well, small and hemmed in by the docks but the bay is full of tiny coloured boats and windsurfers pootling about. I have found at least five different red stones on a beach that's a startling tan leather from a distance, and a good secondhand bookshop and I have seen a vintage double decker complete with the ad 'it's better by bus' being towed away by the breakdown truck. Out goes another ferry!

Mary on a Blackberry so pardon typing errors