Originally, I had planned to write about the entire past weekend in one post, but I simply couldn't get the post short enough to make that feasible; my internal editor couldn't convince the writer in me to cut much of anything. Instead, I'll be sharing via 3 posts -- one for each day. I hope you enjoy them (and thank you for your patience as I try to figure out I get an error message when downloading pictures).
The past three days found me in three places that were very different and also extremely interesting, each in their own way.
On Friday, I took a day trip to Whitstable (Whitstable Kent), a charming fishing village on the North Sea. Before I left for England, several people told me this village, about a 20-minute bus ride north of Canterbury was a “must-visit”, so off I went. I arrived about midmorning, decided to have a cup of tea before exploring, and found a cute shop on the high street.
I ordered my tea and found a table in a side room, overlooking the street; at a larger table sat 6 or 7 women -- obviously good friends -- chattering away. Several of them glanced my way and smiled, and when the waitress delivered my tea and I thanked her, one of them turned toward me and asked, "You're from the states?" (My nationality exposed in 2 words “Thank you” lol) I explained that I was, and she invited me to join them. Two of the ladies had lived in both New York and California in the 1960's and 70's, and the daughter of one of them is now married and lives in New York. We had a wonderful time chatting about the United States, Whitstable, children, and dogs, and then they invited me to join them every Friday morning. When I explained that our group's excursions are every Friday, several of them shared their phone numbers and email addresses so we could get together for tea on another day.
One of the ladies shared with me that she lives in a house that dates back to the 1400's with her Newfoundland, Humphrey, and she invited me to visit her at her home on a day convenient for me. She had an appointment to keep, but another two of the ladies took me on a very interesting tour of the waterfront, pointing out things I would have missed and sharing stories about Whitstable. It was so very nice to spend some time with ladies about my own age and to simply relax and chat away. What struck me most was that, aside from the setting and their accents, our conversation was no different than any I would have with friends back home. We are so alike, despite our differences.
After we went our separate ways, I meandered in and out of the charming shops on the high street of Whitstable, wandering back to the waterfront again to sit on a bench and enjoy the beautiful view. Reluctant to leave such a beautiful place, I finally boarded the bus again and travelled to Herne Bay for a brief stop at a wool shop before continuing on home to Canterbury.
I will definitely be visiting Whitstable again while I'm here in Canterbury; I don't know that I will find a more charming village or more delightful new friends.