The Real Deal

Standard

As if further proof was needed that man is not a rational animal who learns from past mistakes and makes decisions based on evidence, we again struggled as we made our way from London to Deal. Despite frequently and fervently swearing to travel light, we lugged out 45 lb suitcases, plus loaded carry-ons and briefcases from our hotel in Soho, through the tube system (avoiding man-eating escalators) to the St. Pancras train station, though we initially went to adjacent King’s Cross and almost missed our train.

Arriving in Deal we discovered we were 2 hours early for check in and, having dragged our luggage across a bridge we popped into the nearest pub to have a beer and work out details of our arrival. I must say the locals were friendly if somewhat perplexed to see two heavily laden Canadians in their pub. Still, they were free with their advice as to where to get the best and most economical lunch platter and the cheapest beer. We eventually wound up in a taxi to drop off our luggage. “You went to The Eagle?” he queried. “Not first on my list of recommendations.” Apparently we managed to find the one notorious pub in the entire town of Deal. We may go back again this weekend to watch the fights.

Deal itself is charming, stretched out along the channel between Dover and Sandwich with a long pebble beach and large private and public gardens. It has a charming High Street with plenty of interesting shops – all closed because yesterday was a national bank holiday (the Canadian equivalent of Victoria Day apparently) – more good planning on our part. We met a lovely couple (John and Lynda) – amazingly fit and spry for being in their seventies – tending to a large garden on the edge of Deal on the location of a castle that fell into the sea. They were hoping to win the upcoming garden competition, having finished second last year, and were busily weeding and deadheading. They confessed to having been award winning dancers which perhaps accounted for their continued flexibility. I got sore just watching them work.

Our cottage is exactly as described and photographed – once you remember that in England, the first floor is actually the second floor – which makes for quite a climb up narrow stairs to bed every night. Still it is well equipped and has better Internet than what I have at home. It has a washer and a dryer though the dryer consists of a line in the backyard and a heated rack for drying towels in the upper bathroom. And, sadly for our guests, the second bathroom is downstairs from the second bedroom. But we’ll work something out.

Last night we feasted on some of the best Indian food I’ve had in years (though the service was marginal) and today we are off to the store for groceries. Tomorrow I’ll return with more of the usual political fare but for now that’s ten minutes.

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