Finding I had an extra days holiday available…a nice surprise for sure, we booked the May bank holiday weekend to go to the Caravan and Motorhome club site, Daleacres in Hythe, Kent.
We knew the weather could be marginal and the closer we got to the weekend the various sources of weather were not painting the best picture, but we based our hope on the most positive of the forecasts.
As it turned out the trip down saw a few spots on the windscreen but nothing major and when we arrived it hadn’t rained, nor was it particularly chilly. We wanted to use a grass pitch this time as it would be easier with the awning. And so it proved to be, we chose a spot a little further in against the edge of the boundary, thinking we’d got it right with where the sun would be…should we see it over the weekend!
As it happens the sun did make an appearance for the evening and all Saturday, but we’d managed to choose a slightly shaded area with trees blocking the best of the rays, we still got some through the awning though. One day we’ll figure it out and be basking in the sunshine all day!
The set up was so much quicker this time, less thinking about what to do and just getting on with the tasks. I had planned to make a time lapse video of putting the awning up, but along with a sponge and a paperback it got left behind at home. In any case it was so much easier this time, we’d taken out the two side and front panels when we packed away last time, and it went up incredibly fast this time, I had to remind myself not to be a perfectionist about the pegging down, and soon we nearly had a fully functioning holiday home, only needing to get some water to finish it off.
We use the two containers that come with the Freedom caravan, that are stored behind the loo, but there was a slightly longer walk, and we started to envy all the aqua rolls attached to most caravans, maybe an upgrade in our near future, along with a wheeled waste, such as a a waste hog? Only the storage of them putting me off for now.
My wife had made the mistake of finding some leaflets on the WW2 Battle of Britain museum and the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway not far away, because of course once I’d seen them, that’s what I wanted to go and see on Saturday!
There was a beautiful back drop to the campsite, a lovely hillside with Lympne castle at top, and fields all around with the sound of birds, lambs and the aforementioned train in the distance.
Speaking of birds, we had a Robin, keep calling in on us, he ventured right inside to pick up the odd crumb from the floor!
And so the next morning we headed to the museum near Folkstone after a breakfast made on the ‘Teppanyaki’ grill, as we climbed the steep and narrow road we realised there was an amazing view looking back and we were right near the castle, it turns out we would have been a day early and it was by appointment only to see the castle, so after a photo of the view, it was time to continue the journey.
I wasn’t able to take pictures at the Battle of Britain museum due to their rules after a theft, but it was fascinating to read the personal stories they’d accumulated, identifying wrecked planes that had been discovered over the years since the war and the brave pilots that flew them. Lots of Rolls Royce Merlin engines cracked and damaged from the crashes were on display. As we were leaving a Super Marine Spitfire flew over head and the volunteers hurried outside with us to catch a glimpse of this beautiful machine, roaring overhead.
We next traveled into Folkstone and parked near the harbour to have a bite to eat, although there is quite a bit of work going on here and at the beaches, it was still a pleasant place to sit and watch the boats bobbing in the sea.
We later walked along the beach and quite a few people were enjoying the day and even a few children splashing about in the cold water.
As we still had plenty of the day left, I suggested we took in the railway also, it would be a relaxing journey toward Dungeness to see it’s slightly barren landscape. Mostly made up of a fleet of narrow gauge steam loco’s, the engines looked almost new, and yet they were dating back to the 1930’s having been fairly recently refurbished.
We embarked on our journey and the unmistakable smell of the coal fired steam engine wafted through the open doors of our carriage, with a slightly bumpy ride between the bungalows that backed onto the track, it was interesting to nose into the gardens with an occasional wave from a resident sitting out in the sun. Arriving at Dungeness, we had around 55 mins before the return journey, so some walking was in order, over to the rather large lighthouse and then to sea.
Lots of people were fishing along the beach and a single pub that catered for both the locals and visitors, seemed busy. A newer lighthouse sits a little way off and of course the power stations create’s an interesting juxtaposition.
Soon we were back at the little station to catch the next train, and what a fine example turned up! There’s was quite a lot of interest in it, and rightly so, it was looking in great condition, probably as the railway is nearing it’s 90th anniversary, and they are running a 33 hour gala to celebrate it soon.
Once we got back to our car we headed back to the campsite and our Freedom Jetstream to plan our meal, it turned out to be a local Chinese takeaway, which arrived pretty soon and we enjoyed it in our awning watching the sunset across the field.
A film and some more wine would complete the evening.
The following day we’d decided to take it easy, we were not expecting the weather to be as nice, so thought in the morning we’d go into Hythe for a bit of a wander before the expected rain. We also wanted to watch the Formula 1 race in Sochi, Russia that afternoon, which luckily was being shown live on Channel 4, being that I have Freeview in the caravan not Sky. Before we left though, we decided to do ourselves a favour and put the awning down early. The forecast was getting worse for the afternoon/evening and thoughts of packing it away Monday morning in the rain made the decision easier. In fact it didn’t take long and were we glad by the morning that we had!
The weather turned out slightly better in Hythe than we’d thought, although the wind did pick up quite a lot, good for the kite surfers that were enjoying the conditions.
We returned to the caravan to watch the grand prix, almost wishing it would rain there and then to vindicate our choice to pack the awning away early. As we’d booked a table at the local pub for a roast (gotta have a roast on a Sunday!) we knew we wouldn’t really need the awning that evening and sure enough as we sat later, eating our meal, people started to come in wearing coats. Later in the night, it chucked it down and we were pleased with our decision.
The following morning it was leaving day, we packed up and were keen to leave fairly early on in case the promised bank holiday traffic reared it’s head.
The journey home was trouble free and we’re looking forward to our next break coming soon, but before that the caravan needs a good clean inside and out!