Doing the Hokey Cokey!

The last thing I do before I leave for Rome, is write this post…

Doing the Hokey Cokey

Readers of my last post may recall the fuss surrounding a slight injury to the Achilles of my left foot. Subsequent to that, silence fell, the Dark Ages descended: I couldn’t quite bring myself to offer detail of the tedium of waiting for this foot to get better.

Well, it’s better, if not best. I’m still conscious of it, it aches a bit after walking, but I have come to the belief that I can go. There is no certainty it won’t let me down but I can’t wait; I don’t want to be crossing the Alps in October or arriving in Rome in December. If it won’t work, then so be it; I shall return in the spring. I will do this thing!

Yesterday, Ange and I left home (managing to, seemingly and symbolically, lock ourselves out of our home permanently). Thanks to sister Cara for getting us to the station. Thanks to Sally J whom we met on the train and who took this photo…

Sally J captures Dick and Ange at Bexhill station as they leave for Rome!

Sally J captures Dick and Ange at Bexhill station as they leave for Rome!

While we’re on thanks. Thanks to James (‘Jimmy Page’) for getting the website to work, to PT Lance for attempting once again to help put Humpty together again.

A Blessing

And thanks to Canon Clare who escorted Ange and I to the crypt chapel of Canterbury Cathedral and blessed us as pilgrims. Ange wept profusely.

The start of the Via Francigena at Canterbury Cathedral.

The start of the Via Francigena at Canterbury Cathedral.

The Best Hotel in the World

We are staying in the best hotel in the world. Now, I’m no reviewer, like those people who complain of ‘tired decor’ or poor facilities to demonstrate their familiarity with posh – they live in it and they damn well expect it. The Cathedral Gate Hotel leans like an old friend against the famous Christchurch Gate.

And the present makes all kinds of concessions to its history. No first floor/second floor as such but a variety of steps and stairs to different levels and different higgledy piggledy corners and surprise dead ends. And everything leans and slopes and tips. I learn from the manager that the hotel (1438) pre-dates the gate and has always housed pilgrims. As a result of its more recent (1517), thrusting, stone neighbour, it has been literally shoved sideways and leans to the right.

It is so great, especially at night, because of its two faces. Look out the front at the flesh pots of Canterbury, hear a shout, a glass break and rollickings of laughter bounce off the walls of narrow streets. Return to your bedroom and look out the window at the still cathedral washed in light and hear the silence. We are on a bridge between the riotous life and rich contemplation. I love it.


In search of not quite riotous living, Ange and I descended on Deeson’s restaurant, round the corner. Fully expecting days ahead of wine gums, water and day-old baguettes, we ate richly and English. At one point Ange remarked: ‘this is the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten … and I don’t say that often’! They have their own farm and everything is seasonal and local. We drank English wine, sparkling but also red, from down the road. Delicious.

The Hokey Cokey

Why all this detail, you’ll be asking. Well, nervous prevarication. As soon as I finish this, we’re off, in the direction of Shepherd’s Well. No more false starts, shilly shallying, stop/start. Just the frisson of uncertainty.

The rain is falling steadily but not hard. It is time to begin…

You put your left foot in

Your left foot out

You do the Hokey Cokey

And you turn around

And that’s what it’s all about!


5 thoughts on “Doing the Hokey Cokey!

  1. “Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.”
    ― Walt Whitman

    Go well my friends.

  2. I think this has been part of your journey to support refugees- a journey fraught with frustration; false starts and being detained against your wishes. Enjoy today xx

  3. Excellent, excellent! The best of luck – I think it was Wilde who said that he never travelled without his diary as he felt he should always have something sensational to read on the way. I therefore greatly look forward to your own updates – take care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *