Continuing the theme of trips to different parts of southern England, we headed off to Dover and then Deal on Thursday, to see our Canadian friends Doug and Margot Miller. Doug founded GlobeScan in 1987, the same year we founded SustainAbility. Thirty years ago this year – and we have been fellow travellers pretty much ever since.
We walked along the beach from Deal to Walmer, visiting Walmer Castle, where I had to exit the castle to take an urgent call with Geoff (Lye). A high wind, with dust devils swirling across the gravelled drive alongside. Semi-apocalyptic feel.
Then the four of us walked back for dinner at Whits of Walmer, whose proprietors we knew from the days when they ran Whits in Kensington. Wonderful atmosphere and food in an old smugglers’ inn.
The next day, yesterday, Elaine and I went for the first time to see Dover Castle, expecting to stay a couple of hours – and staying five. Wonderful reconstruction of a royal court in the late 12th century in the Great Tower. Got there at opening time, so visitor numbers allowed a reflective exploration.
Later, we went down in the once-secret tunnels in which Operation Dynamo was planned, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. As we were waiting to go down into the tunnels, a lone Spitfire growled past. Talking to the guide afterwards, he mentioned meeting one man who had been 17 when he was part of the crew of one of the Little Ships. He came back an old man.
Hope to see Christopher Nolan’s new Dunkirk film, launched this week. That said, it apparently pretty much ignores Ramsay’s role, and many other things. But at least it does help counter the misconception that the RAF went AWOL during the evacuation.