I met a friend at Canterbury West station last Saturday morning. The clouds sat low and the train ride to get there was ridden across misty grey back-fields. From the station we rode the bus up the big hill in town and if we squinted just enough we could see the Canterbury Cathedral in the middle. Kent College was our stop, the red brick boarding school with green grounds. We were served lunch in line on a tray in the school dining hall. With too big a choice of dishes I ended up mixing foods that shouldn’t be mixed. I saw the lambing seasons new lambs in the school farm and watched netball matches that were fought in the name of school reputation and tradition, not team effort. And then we went down to town. Down town is built around the Canterbury Cathedral, it was quaint and bustling despite the rain. The necks of pubs poked out over High Street and their walls were bursting with age and history and stories. By 7pm we were inside one, sinking into their couches. By 8pm we were having a giant dinner at ‘Cafe Des Amis’ Mexican restaurant with friends of friends.
Sunday we went for un petit dejeuner at the local french cafe. We filled ourselves with chocolate croissants and hot chocolate and baguettes and sat there wondering how the french stay so thin after such a breakfast. From Canterbury we went to Whitstable to wander the seaside streets. The second hand bookstore selling books for 95p caught me and wouldn’t let me go until I saw the beach. Whitstable’s beach was full of pebbles, yachts and crusty oyster shells. It had rows of beach huts painted flashing colours. The English summer can’t come soon enough I thought, as I got wind whipped.