Recognise this place? Yep, it's Prospect Cottage, previously home to Derek Jarman the film maker, situated on the slightly otherwordly place known as Dungeness.
He managed to create a garden in an ostensibly barren and inhospitable environment. Now he's no longer with us, appearances suggest there is no longer the will to keep it up in the same way, but it still felt magical to see it in real life.
Dungeness is a very distinctive environment, apparently the largest open shingle beach in Europe. It's a weird mix of discarded fishing paraphenelia, massive moody skies and an ethereally utilitarian beauty created by the odd mix of Heath Robinson type buildings randomly dotted about.
I found it charming and compelling. It reminded me of my idea of places like Newfoundland. Separate and romantic in a tough bleak way.
When Derek Jarman bought his place, it was just him and the fishermen, but now I get the impression that the money is moving in. We saw a very luxurious beach house being built.
All the wandering around in the sea air did the trick. We took our appetites and repaired to the Pilot Inn for a massive plate of dinner. It was almost bigger than me. A great icebreaker. Several of the other punters engaged me in fish and chip based conversation.
And no, that is not a load of codswallop.
The other place we visited by the sea, was Hastings. That part of the country is so historic. They call it 1066 country, because that is the year the Battle of Hastings was fought. There is actually a little town called Battle, where the fighting took place. Loads of places are mentioned in the Domesday book, which was commissioned just 20 years later by William the Conqueror, the Frenchman who won the battle and became King of England.
I've heard mixed things about Hastings. I think it had become very run down, but it has had a lot of regeneration over the last few years and the Old Town in particular has been reinvigorated with lots of charming quirky little vintage shops. The buildings are amazing, a lot dating back from Elizabethan times.
I can imagine the narrow alleys and back street pubs filled with sailors and pirates in years gone by.