Michael McCafferty - European Biplane Tour

Back At The Beach Again

New Romney, England

It was with mixed feelings that I packed up and left The Savoy in London. The hotel, of course, was excellent, even if it was outrageously expensive. And London is a place that could be explored for years, but it is also a big city, and I can only take it in these cement mausoleums for a couple of days before I need to breathe fresh air and feel real earth under my feet, and see a horizon unblighted by civilization.

Taxi, train, taxi, and within a couple of hours I was back at the Lydd airport to stow my large bag back in the plane, and continue to the hotel selected by Zoe at the airport. Unfortunately Zoe thought that a four-poster bed in the room would more than offset my absolute requirement for a shower, and I did ask her to find the best hotel in the area of Lydd, but what I got was clearly substandard, so I decided to take my chances and keep looking.

I couldn't believe my luck when I found the Romney Bay House, a delightful small hotel fronting on the English Channel (more precisely the Romney Bay part of the English Channel). Not only did it have a shower, but the room looked out over the Channel and I could watch planes from France appear out of the mist and make a left hand turn into the airport at Lydd. (The visibility for them, today, was much better than it was for my crossing!)

The hotel is situated off by itself, away from everything else in town. It looks almost lonely. I have heard that it was originally Hedda Hopper's home. At first I was wondering how I would entertain myself at this very out of the way place, but was made to feel very much at home by Helmut, the Austrian-born owner, who has a great sense of humor. It wasn't too long before I was enjoying the company of the other guests, and in particular Jim and Claire, who were here for dinner on vacation from their two young children and their apple and pear farm about 40 miles away.

I really enjoyed being by the beach again. It was great to be able to walk along the water's edge again. It isn't a great beach, there isn't much sand, only lots of small rocks, but the natural open space and the sound of the waves is very relaxing.

On the train from London to Ashford, I had the very enjoyable experience of meeting the lovely and charming Anna Peterson, a medical student who is on vacation and going home for the obligatory visit of her parents for maybe a week before she is off again to spend the holidays with her friends. She has toured Spain, Peru and Chile.

My plane is resting comfortably in a large hangar at Lydd. I visited it today, and it is looking well. The weather is supposed to be marginal for tomorrow (thunderstorms, etc), but much better for Thursday and the weekend. I should be flying again soon...

For now, it's time for some sleep, and the window is open to the sounds of the surf just a few dozen yards away.

Here's the Romney Bay House. I have the upper left room in front.

Romney Bay House

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