Having enjoyed the warmth and ocean of coastal Cyprus so much, we were a bit apprehensive about heading back to the UK in April. Pre-booked flights and train trips, and a committed house sit (not to mention the lack of accommodation elsewhere), won out and we set off for our next adventure.
And here we are, in a beautiful seaside town in what has been very pleasant sunny weather for most of the week and a half we have been here. We have swapped the sandy beaches of the deeply turquoise tropical Mediterranean Sea for the golden pebbly beaches of the pale aquamarine North Sea.
It’s not a bad deal to be in Deal, a small seaside town in the county of Kent in the southeast corner of England. About 12km to the south of us is Dover, of the famed white cliffs and a little farther is Folkestone, the English end of the Channel Tunnel.
Our home is a 4BR townhouse with beautiful windows that let in lots of light.
We are surrounded by trees and enthusiastic birdsong, and can walk to the seaside or, in the other direction, to footpaths through farm fields.
Keeping us company are 13-year-old Coco, a sweet Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Totty and Tiger, two 4-year-old cats. The way travel dates worked out, we didn’t even meet our homeowner here (her friend met us and introduced us to the house and pets), yet all 3 animals accepted us immediately. The cats are assertively affectionate. Tiger looks like a meerkat as she pops up to push her head into our hands for a rub. Totty loves to play and chase her new glow-in-the-dark shoelaces. Coco quietly goes anywhere with us and snuggles up beside (or on) us when we settle on the living room sofas.
We had a challenge with no WiFi after our first two days in this home. To kick off the problem, someone at one of the service provider companies involved changed a phone number. On day 2, they figured that part out, and by day 3 they changed the phone number back. We had been waiting ever since for either Plusnet or British Telecom to reconnect the home’s broadband to the correct phone number. Today, day 10 without WiFi, the planets (or perhaps the satellites) aligned and, miracle of miracles, WiFi has returned to our little piece of the planet. Kind of crazy that it can take two large high-tech companies 10 days to right a wrong that one of them caused.
Thankfully, a half-hour walk away are several cafes and pubs with WiFi, some of which even allow dogs. Having my office in a seaside pub has its perks but spending 8 or so hours there was a bit much. I tried using my cell phone’s data but, after chewing up almost 2gb of my allowance in the first couple of days, I realized it was not a sustainable solution. And it’s amazing how hampered we felt. Everything we do has an online connection, like planning nearby activities, managing finances, renting a car, applying for house sits, interviewing for new sits, making travel arrangements, streaming entertainment (music, Netflix and others), writing blog posts, and keeping up with family and friends through e-mail, Facebook, and Skype.
April 23 was St. George’s Day in the UK. It was not a bank (or stat) holiday, but it was celebrated with a military parade along the seaside roads. School children played about on the beach and grassy areas, still in their school uniforms. Folks of all ages lined the streets in anticipation, some with a beer in hand from a nearby pub. The parade began … and then about 5 minutes later it was all over. Maybe half a dozen different groups had passed by, led by a marching band. It was astonishing how much of the local community came out to support such a short, but obviously important, event.
We are taking life slow here. We are here for a month and don’t have a car at our disposal. Now that we have WiFi 24/7 we are making plans for a few days with a rental car so we can explore a little farther afield. We could use the buses and trains, but the car will give us the freedom to drive coastal roads and poke into towns and villages at our leisure.
- Flight from Larkana, Cyprus to London, UK: £423.40 (about $762 CAD) for both of us. We only booked about 1 month ahead once we had confirmed our house sit in Cyprus. At that time, the price would have been about 1/6 of the bill had we travelled 2 days earlier.