Exploring South England

Back in the northwest of England where things had brightened up a little again, we took a drive into the Peak District again to find some viewpoints around Kettleshulme and on to the very dry Errwood Reservoir. It had been one of the hottest and driest years on record for much of England. The landscape up this way presents a different vista around every corner and is very picturesque, however, an angry storm chased us back home.

Time was passing, our return date was approaching, and we had to make our way back south to Essex to get rid of the rental car which was costing a small fortune. Before that happened, we took a trip down to Folkestone to take care of some business and catch up with family.

The weather was beaut again, topping 25 degrees in mid-September, so we enjoyed the settings of the Folkestone harbor for the afternoon. Since it was out of tourist season, many of the bars and restaurants were closed, however. Our rooftop view from the ninth floor of the Grand Burstin was superb which made up for the rather drabby room and having to pay to park in the hotel we were staying at!

The next day was like a different season altogether so going out of Dover port on a fishing boat in the wind and rain. Still, we made the most of it though the fish haul was pretty light. That night most of the town was closed so we had to make do with a rooftop kebab and Polish beer.

Back in Essex, we ventured to a coastal spot etched in memory where we used to spend summers as kids – Walton-on-the-Naze. The old crabbing jetty where I would spend hours watching the tides ebb and flow and seabirds hunt for food was exactly the same, though some of the caravans in the park now cost more than houses.

Our last week was a little subdued with the news dominated by the Queen’s passing and royal funeral plans. We spent most of it shopping for stuff that was far cheaper than in Thailand and visiting local markets, parks, and the like.

We had covered 2,000 miles from south to north and back again and the two months had flown by. For the first time in memory, I wasn’t really ready or looking forward to returning home to Thailand since I knew what awaited … masks, rain, and roosters!