Local Heart, Global Soul

February 2, 2017

Wards Hotel, A Restful Spot To Spend Our Stay…

Filed under: Accomodation,ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last year Himself and I crossed the English Cannel via the Channel Tunnel in order to attend the funeral of a friend.

In the past when we came to Folkestone we would stay with these friends, but on this occasion, with the husband having passed away, the wife is busy hosting family who have travelled from outside the region.

Also, they no longer have the massive house that they raised their six children in, having downsized to a smaller place since our last visit after it became clear that his cancer was in an advanced stage and that nothing more medically could be done.

We hear that the new house is packed with guests, many sleeping on the floor and added to that, there are a constant stream of visitors because her husband was active in many aspects of not only the local community but also in a small but UK wide specialist organisation as well.

Our accommodation whilst we are here is the Wards Hotel, handily located just a street or two away from our friends home. The bedrooms are on the first floor and there is no lift, but luckily I will only have to use the stairs once each way per day. This a family run hotel, the family and the staff are friendly and as is often the case in the UK and western European hotels these days, many of the staff are made up of eastern European migrant workers.

Our room is on the quiet side of the hotel (not facing the road) therefore there is no view to speak of, just an interesting piece of roof line from another part of the building. There is an attached bathroom and whist the room is not huge, it is definitely big enough for our needs. The location is in a quiet street off one of the main roads in one of the older established neighbourhoods of Folkestone, it’s leafy and remarkably quiet. Tired from our journey here, Himself fetches fish and chips from a local take-a-way and after a picnic dinner in our room we get an early night.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 11, 2015

Visiting Friends And Heading Northwards…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On a long weekend in May, two  years ago Family Kiwidutch travelled to England for a family wedding.

Since we opted for the channel tunnel instead of the cross channel ferry, we arrive first in Folkstone.

One extra advantage of coming to England  via this route is that good friends of ours live in Folkstone and we love catching up when we can.

A few months prior though the husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness,  so now more than ever, every visit with them is especially treasured.

After a short break visiting them and then going to the harbour to visit our favourite fish seller, we get back on the road to head north to Ely.

There are some interesting vehicles in the stream of traffic,  including one truck that had a forklift loader on the back of the truck (none of us have seen that before) and a truck carrying three tractors (both of these vehicles pleased Little Mr. no end!)

We use the Dartford crossing, and make pretty good time, despite the traffic but soon our stomachs are rumbling and we decide to come off the motorway to find some lunch…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr. was very impressed with this…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

November 20, 2014

Some Who Go Walkies, Also Take The Train…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are finally back in Folkestone,  and although we didn’t originally have a place to stay planned for the night before our channel tunnel crossing back in the summer of 2013, we found the Little Satmar camp-site so easy, friendly and convenient that we rang  two days ahead and asked if they had a spot for us, and when they said they did, booked it immediately.

We had to be up bright and early for the channel train the next day so it was a dawn breakfast and we were just driving out just as the first campers were emerging from tents and caravans and making for the showers.There was a haze around camp as the sun came up so I attempted some arty photographs of some parked up bicycles … and failed. Within the hour we join the queues at the train, where it’s already surprisingly busy and seriously warm, in fact it turns out to be 29 C (84.2 F) and we have blue cloudless skies for the trip back.

From the loading area waiting for the train we have a brilliant view of the chalk outline of the horse on the hill by Folkestone and  the kids giggle at the dog walking and toilet area marked “Walkies”, complete with big bone gateway. Again we are sorted into a queue with the other high vehicles and board the train. The passport control is easy enough, they are asking a lot of questions so it takes longer but they are friendly enough. That said it’s strange to be speaking French again, takes a few minutes to switch. We have somewhere we want to stop off  at on the French side very soon so we need to get our  Continental brains working again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Out in France…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

November 19, 2014

Ticking Another Little Red Box…

Filed under: ART,ENGLAND,Folkestone,Quirky Letterboxes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I have seen the red coloured round “pillar box” letter boxes in the United Kingdom, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one that looks like this one. Therefore I’m adding this to my collection of letterboxes from around the world. It’s less quirky that some in my collection, but for me it’s nice to get some of the less well known ones into my collection anyway…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 30, 2014

Our Very First Bash At Pitching Up With A Camper And Locals To The Rescue…

Filed under: Accomodation,Folkestone — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The camping park where we spent our first night in the UK  on our 2013 summer holiday was called “Little Satmar” and it’s located a short drive away from the top of the Dover cliff and hill behind Folkestone.

The signs can be a little hard to spot,  we had to look for a little lane off the main road first and once we’d found that we were fine finding the address.

There’s a large car parking area by Reception, a small shop for last minute essentials,  laundry facilities and friendly staff who get us checked in easily.

Our pitch is reasonably close to the toilet block, so easier for me to negotiate.

Our camper is so big it has an on-board toilet and shower but we quickly discover that just the toilet alone depletes the on-board water tank very quickly and lugging water to refill it is a tiresome job that lands squarely one Himself’s shoulders because of the weight of the buckets and the distance to the water supply. The toilet is has a small tank and would need emptying frequently if all four of us used it all the time.

I’m more than happy to take a morning shower in the toilet and shower block, and to walk to the toilet bloc during daylight hours: it’s the middle of the night stop for my water works that I’d prefer not to do around the camp-site in the dark on crutches. Therefore on the first night we decide to not bother using the shower in the camper at all, and that I would be the main user of the camper loo, and would restrict that to night-time necessities.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The kids could use it if they were desperate and couldn’t get to a toilet anywhere else, but otherwise they would have to use their legs so that Himself wasn’t on full time loo emptying duty as well as water replenishing duty.

Once again we realise that popping out for fish and chips is seriously impractical because Himself has set up the little tent outside, the large fold-out table, the bikes etc and the nearest fish and chip place is back in Folkestone so driving there would mean having to pack half of the stuff up again. For a while it looked like our fish and chip treat is off the menu but our Folkstone friends come to the rescue by suggesting that they pop out to visit us rather than via versa, and offered to fetch our fish and chips for us on their way out of town.

It was a perfect solution, we paid them for our meal when they arrived and  enjoyed our treat doubly because we were tired and hadn’t been looking forward to cooking. It was excellent to see our friends again, they  were getting busy to sell their big house and not everything was running smoothly, and added to this our terminally ill friend had had some ups and downs in his medical treatment progress so we had plenty to catch up on.

The camping ground isn’t only for tents, caravans and campers as I imagined, but there are also static caravans… actually they look more like little houses than caravans. It seems that people buy these and then pay a fee to park them here, (some are hired too) and return year after year to their little holiday homes. Some even have patios and beautiful flower gardens around them! It’s something I’ve never seen before and not something I expected in a “camping” place.

The camp is nice and quiet, our fellow campers are lovely, friendly and helpful: Kiwi Daughter rides a unicycle and the bolt that holds the peddles on broke, a fellow camper from the UK saw Himself rummaging though our very limited tools, overheard a disconsolate Kiwi Daughter being told that we didn’t have anything to fix it and offered to fix it for her.  She was delighted when these seasoned campers pulled out a serious tool kit and fixed it for her. It’s our very first stay (ever) at the camp site like this… lots of nationalities side by side and friendly. As holidays go, this is an excellent start.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

October 3, 2013

The White Fog of Dover And the Smoky Mackerel of Folkestone…

Filed under: CHURCHES,ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page from my diary, detailing our last summer’s adventures with visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine”.

We are back on the road, heading south towards the channel tunnel,  but with a little careful planning and a lot of luck with traffic, arrive early enough to stop off at the harbour in Folkestone to sample some of the fresh seafood from Bob’s Seafood stall on the quayside.

I didn’t notice the sign on the side of the stall last time we were here… it raised a giggle for the refreshing honesty of it’s humour.

Himself and Velvetine indulged in the shellfish mixture of goodies and crab salad, whilst I delighted in the smoked mackerel one last time before we leave.

Since we had allowed a little extra time for possible traffic delays between Canterbury and here, and there had been none, we also had enough time for Himself to zip into a local supermarket and stock up on a few British foodie treats. We also drove up the hill a little so that we could try and catch a proper glimpse of the white cliffs of Dover, since last time we were here there was sunshine but also a thick sea mist, but the English weather conspired against us once again and we could only catch a glimpse through the rain shower clouds and fog. In the drizzle of the English weather we take to the road once again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 30, 2013

Setting The Menu For Future Days…

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,Kids and Family,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Turning the page of my diary of a trip we made last summer with a visiting friend from Singapore.

We did so much and visited so many places that it’s taken me a year to sort the photographs and go though my notes to put everything into legible order.

I’ve done research where needed (and where possible) so that you too can experience a whistle-stop tour of parts of Europe that the tour busses may not take you (but also a few places where they do).

We are about to leave our friends in Folkestone, but before we do, I oogle our friends massive oven, generously sized kitchen, large selection of catering sized cooking pots and as a result we go shopping and make a big dinner for our hosts.

Our hosts and the rest of our party nip out to their “local” …a pub just down the road for a pre-dinner “pint”… and the return for a slap up meal.

I did attempt to make my New Zealand “Corned beef” recipe both for tonight and to take to the group buffet meeting we will be attending, but I had a misunderstanding at the butcher I went to, I asked for corned beef and they gave me beef that needed to be corned rather than pieces of corned beef that needed to be cooked. (Yes, they did explain that this was all they had at the moment, and they did ask several questions which seemed to me like they were asking did I know how to make corned beef ?… since my recipe was for corned beef I then misunderstood and said “yes” so mea culpa the fault was all mine).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Only after I’d cooked it did I realise that they were really asking if I knew how to “corn” the beef first. The resulting meat was edible enough, but not a patch on how the real recipe would have tasted had the meat already been corned.

I was suspicious because meat that’s been corned has a characteristic red colour which I did notice was missing here, but dismissed because I thought the process might result in the different amount of colour from one country to the next depending on the local recipe.

Since I had been dreaming about making this recipe ever since our last New Zealand trip (corned beef not being a particular cut of meat the Dutch butchers know of or cut) I was actually the one most annoyed and disappointed that the recipe did not turn out to plan.

Everyone else, including the group we joined and added the rest of this to the buffet table to, cleaned it out in record time.

The photographic steps to make the recipe were made with glee by Velvetinenut because she was amazed that I could cook so many huge pieces of meat at once and was intrigued by the steps.

We rounded out the meal with an ice cream taart and retired to bed far later than planned because of many hours of good conversation, and in the case of Himself and our hosts a good raid on some excellent European wines. Tomorr0w brings an early start because we need to hit the road… new adventures are just around the corner…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) posted with permission

Our friend’s big kitchen with lovely big oven and cooktop…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

They have a big house and are amazing hosts…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And a big garden…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 29, 2013

Getting Up To Monkey Business at the Grand…

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page from my last’s summer’s diary, where we are talking our Singaporean friend (we will call her here by her internet nickname“Velvetinenut” for internet privacy reasons) on some European adventures.

We’ve met up with friends in Folkestone and one of them is showing us the sights. After attempting to see France from the cliff tops here, we now turn our attention to the other massive chunk of man-made scenery behind us, the majestic form of Folkestone’s Grand Hotel. Our host suggests we go inside so that we can get a cold drink, so we get to see the inside of this beautiful building as well.

Velvetine requests a large glass of water and is a little surprised find that they take this very literally, serving her a pint glass full of iced water.

The Grand Hotel sits just a short distance from the former Metropole Hotel and together they make an impressive pair. If you like architectural detail, and character buildings you’d be most happy to stare at these buildings for a very long time.
Maybe it’s just me but I find this views just as enchanting as the grand views of the cliffs on both sides of the channel (that we could have seen this day if only the sea mist would clear)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“When The Grand was built just over 100 years ago, it incorporated many novel features which have since become the norm but it had a rival: the Metropole…

At the time Folkestone was one of the most fashionable and prosperous coastal resorts and The Metropole, which standing immediately next door, had just been constructed. A local builder who had been disappointed not to secure the building contract became determined to build a rival establishment which was better in every way.

The builder, Daniel Baker, was in the forefront of innovative design;  he had already developed the use of cavity wall ties, and went one better with The Grand – waterproof cavity wall insulation.   He used a steel frame – one of the first – to give the large clear spans to the main reception rooms, and – said to be a world first – infilled it with reinforced concrete.   And he used suspended ceilings for improved soundproofing. Not only was he innovative, but also he was able to utilise new techniques to excellent effect. The steel frame allowed his formative use of curtain walling, resulting in the windows covering almost the entire width of the elevations to make the most of the sunny location and the fabulous views and a by-product of the concrete floors was one of the first examples of wall-to-wall carpeting.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The place to be – The building was constructed as gentlemen’s residential chambers, and immediately established a reputation as the place to be and be seen. The King, Edward VII, became a frequent visitor, so much so that the locals would wander along The Leas in front of the building peering into the glasshouse to catch a glimpse of him;  apparently because he and his friends were heavily bearded, it became likened to looking at monkeys in a cage, hence the sobriquet “Monkey House”.

The King came not only with the Queen but also his intimate friend Alice Keppel, an hour-glass blue eyed beauty the epitome of elegance, lively wit and discretion, popularising the expression “monkey business” and his favoured three piece suits are still known as monkey suits in America.

A drink problem – Although the area now known as Keppels was then surrounded by an earth bank to keep out prying eyes, which Mrs Keppel’s great grand-daughter the Duchess of Cornwall might appreciate, this was more to do with the absence of a drinks licence!

When the local landowner, the Earl of Radnor, granted the lease for the building of The Metropole, he accepted a condition that he would not allow another hotel to be built within 600 yards.

Hostilities commenced even before the laying of bricks, and became so acrimonious that Lord Radnor and Daniel Baker fenced off The Leas to prevent Metropole patrons gaining access!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A solution – To overcome the liquor problem, patrons’ requirements were summoned from the local purveyors by telephone, and a lad would deliver them by bicycle! A subterranean cavern was excavated below Keppels accessed by hidden stairs to secrete customers’ own supplies, incorporating another new invention – refrigeration.

Another solution And to further assist discrete communication, a telephone box – in rustic style – was installed outside on The Leas, said to be yet another world first.
The chef, M Dutru, came from the Savoy, and the manager, Gustav Gelardi, from the Walsingham, both friends of the King. A descendant of the latter’s family, another Gelardi, is now manager of the Lanesborough.

In 1909 the King opened the new ballroom containing the first sprung dance floor in Europe. The first dance he took with the Queen, and the second with Mrs Keppel. A medal was struck to commemorate the event, and the King allowed the royal coat of arms to be used to publicise the establishment.

During the Great War the building was used as a refuge for the Belgian royal family and military hospital; thereafter the Prince of Wales’s patronage, later Edward VIII, assisted its resurgence, although Mrs Simpson stayed a little way away. Ward Lock’s guide described The Leas outside the front door as indisputably the finest marine promenade in the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Robert Morley made his stage debut here, as did Michael Caine – not a lot of people know that! Albert Sandler started the Palm Court Orchestra in the Monkey House, but all were driven away from Frontline Folkestone by the fall of France. The building was badly damaged by shelling from the French coast.
In the 50s it was Princess Margaret’s turn, and Agatha Christie, who had been writing Murder on the Orient Express at the time she stayed in one of the suites before the war, still came regularly. But by the 60s rail travel was being supplanted by air to more distant climes for the beau monde, and rent controls were such that the sale of leases of the apartments became the favoured option.

With the ending of rent controls and the vast improvement in communications in the wake of the Channel Tunnel, the apartments are again being let; but whereas they cost two guineas a day in 1903 – probably equivalent to £200 today – some can now be had for a week or more for under £200.

Once again – enjoyment for all To complement this, the unrivalled public rooms have been restored; Keppels, at one time decked out as the Seventies Disco, has had its years of accretions stripped away, and once more exudes its Edwardian ambience as an intimate bar/bistro.
The Palm Court alias the Monkey House has acquired a tented ceiling, a magical array of plants illuminated by over 5000 lights at night, and fine food and service to match, and the adjacent oak paneled Tudor Room has a bar, sumptuous sofas and a collection of massive old oil paintings catalogued as part of the national archive.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 28, 2013

France On the Horizon … But Where is the Horizon?

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A short drive away from the harbour in Folkestone we start to climb the steep hills that make up the local terrain and include the white cliffs of Dover, only 7 kms away.

What’s maybe lesser known is that France on the other side of the channel, has it’s own matching set of white cliffs, and both are of course a natural geological continuation of each other.

Sadly although we have a beautiful sunny day in Folkstone when we visited, there is a sea mist above the channel and France is somewhere behind the haze.

Instead we turn around to admire the view in the inland direction, part of which is dominated by a truly enormous building that was formerly the Folkestone Metropole Hotel.

These days it houses apartments on the top levels and an art/ exhibition gallery on the ground floor. It was also once a very grand rival to it’s neighbouring  building just a short distance away…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 27, 2013

Sea Asparagus is Samphire …and Vinegar Gets A Kick!

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From my last Summer’s Diary: We are taking “Velvetine” our Singaporean friend on a whirlwind tour, she barely got her feet onto Dutch soil when we bundled her into a rented people carrier van and headed via Belgium, France and via the channel tunnel to England.

We are spending the night with some friends of ours in Folkestone and they’ve bought us to Bob’s Seafood kiosk at the harbour, which featured in yesterday’s post.

It’s as mystifying to me why the English put vinegar on their french fries as it is to the English why the Dutch put mayonnaise on theirs…  but today my visiting Foodie Friend and I saw something that may completely vindicate this strange habit.

The vinegar at Bob’s Seafood has been infused with chilies!

If I were French it would be Oh La La… this place has surely found a way to make vinegar very very interesting indeed. We were so busy enjoying the fishy dishes we completely forgot to be bold enough to ask for the recipe, but if some of my other infusion recipes are anything to go by, the just plain simple method is probably the best… I’d hazard a guess at it being: Vinegar + Chilies + some decent infusion time!

The harbour at Folkestone is also very much a working fishing port as well as a tourist attraction.

There are  shops for daily caught fresh fish along the quay and our Singaporean friend is very keen to sample a local delicacy:  Samphire Himself really likes Samphire every now and again but I know relatively little about it so looked up Wikipedia:

“Samphire is a name given to a number of distinct edible plants that grow in some coastal areas. Rock samphire, Crithmum maritimum is a coastal species with white flowers that grows in the United Kingdom.

This is probably the species mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear. Golden samphire, Inula crithmoides is a coastal species with yellow flowers that grows across Eurasia. Marsh samphire is another name given to the edible glassworts, genus Salicornia. Samphire is commonly used to describe plants from the Australian genus of succulent coastal plants Tecticornia, and from the cosmopolitan genus Sarcocornia.

Originally “sampiere”, a corruption of the French “Saint Pierre” (Saint Peter), samphire was named for the patron saint of fishermen because all of the original plants with its name grow in rocky salt-sprayed regions along the sea coast of northern Europe or in its coastal marsh areas. It is sometimes called sea asparagus or sea pickle. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In Norfolk it is commonly called sampha [sam-fa]. In North Wales, especially along the River Dee’s marshes, it has always been known as sampkin.

All the plants bearing the name are annuals that begin growing in late autumn and vegetate throughout the winter until the first warm weather arrives.

Then the first stems and internodes form, and by mid-spring the plant measures 6 to 8 cm. Marsh samphire ashes were used to make soap and glass (hence its other old English name, “glasswort”).

In the 14th century glassmakers located their workshops near regions where this plant grew, since it was so closely linked to their trade. Samphires of all kinds have long been eaten in England.

The leaves were gathered early in the year and pickled or eaten in salads with oil and vinegar.

It is mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear: Half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade! (Act IV, Scene VI). This refers to the dangers involved in collecting rock samphire on sea cliffs.

Marsh samphire (Salicornia bigelovii) is being investigated as a potential biodiesel source that can be grown in coastal areas where conventional crops cannot be grown. Samphire is gaining popularity in the UK, being served more often in restaurants as an accompaniment to fish dishes, and is also found more often in supermarkets. On the west coast of Canada the plant is known as “Sea Asparagus” and is served in restaurants and specialty markets.

I like to see that the fish is caught by their own boat and then sold on the quayside of the harbour… as far as buying your food as close as possible to the source, you can hardly get fewer “food miles/kilometers” than this!  At the end of the harbour area is a bridge, the low arches of which we need to go under ro get back into the town. Then it’s one last look around and a few quick views of the harbour before we head away. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

around Folkstone 1s (Small)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samphire

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