They don’t make it easy to get out of London. I left home at 10am. It’s 2pm and I’m still trying to get to Margate. It was fine as far as Sittingbourne but then I was decanted into a rail replacement bus full of very talkative racists with no teeth. In the course of a picturesque drive from Sittingbourne to Herne Bay via Whitstable, I heard a lot of opinions and also found out way too much about “that Ben Gibbins” who appears to be an object of contempt and fascination. He’s “snorting and snorting and smoking everything he can get but he’s a grass as well.” By the time we limped into Herne Bay I was longing for some peace. But the train hadn’t waited and it was 50 minutes until the next one.

I walked into town rather than remain on the platform finding out more about Ben and his habits, and how people who don’t look like them drive. I wandered through the Herne Bay memorial gardens. It’s that precious week when the magnolia is in bloom. I wandered smiling past the generic home counties graffiti. “Ban the burka”, shouted one wall. “No Sharia law in the UK”, observed another. There was heat in the air. “A bit of sun and we all come out,” said the geezer leaning on his Harley with an ice cream. He wasn’t wrong. There were loads of bikes. People thinking they should tick it over using the half decent weather to head to the beach. The seafront was packed with pasty skinned families with their skin out but looking like they’d just emerged from a cave. I tried two places for a coffee but they both stank of meat had huge queues and wanted £2.95 for a latte.

On my way back to the station I stumbled on an Alice in Wonderland themed tea room, which was sufficiently mad to take my fancy and charged a bit less than the seaside fat palaces.


It was packed with families gorging themselves on immaculately presented teas. I had a coffee and got on this train.

The train finally took me to Margate. It probably shouldn’t have taken 4 and a half hours on a Sunday. “Hey kids let’s go to Dreamland… Ok we’re here. Now let’s go home immediately!!” But it means that now I get to sleep on an improvised bed in front of the fireplace. I’m glad to be out of London for a night.

I’m pretty tired. Ethan and I played “It’s a ball. Throw it I think.” for hours. Then we played “aaargh tickleninjjas” and then “Are you making ‘ubbles or is that the universe? Nevermind. ‘UBBLES.” These games don’t need rules to be fun. Ethan is nearly two. So we totally understand each other being similar mental ages.

But he’s been in bed for a while as has his mum and dad. It’s now approaching midnight. It’s time for me to enjoy this palette I’ve made for myself in front of a dying fire, accompanied by a grunting Siamese cat who I’ve slept alongside before when she was younger and healthier.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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