It’s amazing what things from one’s childhood stick in the mind!
One thing that’s always stuck in mine is Mum singing “there’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover” whilst she worked. It may not have been exactly the same as Vera Lynn’s version, but I know Mum’s version by heart!
It was important, then, whilst in Kent for me to see these famed white cliffs.
So towards the end of my time in Kent I hired a car for a few days and visited the places that would have been more difficult by public transport…..Dover being one.
I thought I’d only be there for awhile, but I spent the day! So much of my knowledge ( patchy or otherwise ) of England, the war years, the English Channel , Roman invasion, etc, all fell into place today!
For a start, France is SO CLOSE! I’d never really got that until I stood on the cliffs of Dover looking across! It put the World Wars into a perspective I’d never had……the ‘enemy’ ( I’m talking retrospectively ) was just across there! How terrifying it must have been!
I knew many Brits make the crossing often to France, and Europe beyond, by ferry, Chunnel or swimming, but now I could see why! Wow!
After I’d gazed at views for awhile, I then headed to Dover Castle, atop a hill, a perfect vantage point for seeing visitors (friendly or otherwise) approaching! Once again, my mind was blown away with the age of everything there……there’s the remains of a lighthouse from Roman times, there’s Saxon parts of the castle, there’s the Norman part, more modern sections, then there’s all the tunnels in the cliffs that were used for the two world wars! Amazing !
Some parts of the castle was kept unfurnished and fairly original, whereas other parts were furnished in Medieval style, using colours and furnishings that depicted the times(mostly replicas) . Whilst I was there, there were several school groups exploring also…mostly British but a French group as well. What a way to learn history!
Now, the last part is without photos, partly because I couldn’t take them in some places and partly because my old phone/camera had given up for the day! But it was no less fascinating! I did an hour and a half tour of the underground passages all tunnelled into the cliffs….that were used in quite a few wars, but especially in World War 2. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no lover of war, and things of war…..can’t spend time looking at weaponry or things like that…but it all happened and it’s part of our history! So I’m interested in that context, and in that I like to walk a little in others’ shoes. The tour was well done, interesting and horrifying all in one! So glad I did it!
Then to finish off the day, I went off the beaten track ( by accident, I’m afraid!) and watched the sun set over France, the English Channel, and those White Cliffs of Dover! Awesome!