Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

March 2002

Landing on Planet Thanet

Broadstairs hostel stampThese are the Voyages of Chelmsford YHA... Our two day mission to explore new footpaths, to seek out new youth hostels... to boldly go to Broadstairs for the weekend...

As wind and rain battered the rest of the country, the Isle of Thanet (or "Planet Thanet" as it is known to locals) was bathed in sunshine. This is not unusual, apparently Thanet often enjoys it's own weather system. Just one of many spooky oddities that sets the Isle apart from the norm. For a start it isn't an island! In the eighth century six hundred yards of water separated Thanet from the mainland. But, with the gradual silting up of the Wansum Channel it has not been a true island for centuries.

However, as you might expect from us, the bits that attracted us most were the striking chalk cliff scenery and the really good fish and chip shop down the road from the hostel.

Broadstairs seafrontExotic Broadstairs

A weekend in the Far East - and yes, the hostel was full of eastern promise, with artefacts from Thailand, and inscrutable cats, obviously originating from aristocratic lines in Siam, Burma, or Ramsgate. Clearly they had chosen to relocate in order to live next door to Fruits de Mer fish shop, and let us know their tastes were superior to ours by rejecting our fish fingers. Their loss!

Through the ArchOn Saturday morning we made our way through the bazaars to the beach - no palm trees waving gently in the breeze, but golden sands, chalk cliffs, rock arches, and scenery worthy of a Kuoni brochure. In the afternoon we visited Margate caves, and dungeons where inquisitors threw (literally) tortured souls into a hole leading down into the sea. It is now blocked, but as we perched on the rock ledge to which the tortured souls would have clung we were imagining their grisly fates, and feeling somewhat chastened by thoughts of mans inhumanity towards his fellows, presumably in some medieval crusade against terrorism......

Botany BayThis created the need to console ourselves with food, of which Broadstairs could offer cuisines of the world - Thai, Chinese, and the local delicacy, fish and chips. Exotic dancing might have followed, but we were just too absorbed in watching Shrek (thanks to Gerry), or in my case, catching up with my sleep.

On Sunday we left the Far East, and headed south, for the less obvious attractions of Sandwich bay, which was more like Suffolk than Sarawak, particularly on a grey and misty day. Sandwich itself was a sleepy place after its distinguished past, so to create some action on an uneventful Sunday afternoon, we decided to stage a coup and occupy a teashop. But no prisoners were taken, the other customers left without a fuss, and the coup was bloodless, so Sandwich didn't seem even to notice us, let alone wake up.

Thanks to Helen for the organisation, and Kent County Council for the provision of a most commodious shelter for all of us to eat our lunch.........


See more of Gary's photos of the weekend.

Congratulations Roz & Waldy

Our congratulations go out to Roz and Waldy, who have just announced their engagement. I'm sure everyone will join me in wishing them every happiness for the future.

Blackwater & Chelmer Canal Walk

River Chelmer near ChelmsfordA good turn out early on a slightly misty Sunday morning, and our regular walk from the sea to Chelmsford went like clockwork, arriving at the pub for lunch five minutes early, and getting to Chelmsford just as it was getting dark. We discovered that the official distance, according to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Company, is 137/8 miles with a climb of 76'11" through 12 locks - but we weren't counting. As usual, the day was rounded off with tea and scones at Lorna's.

Lynn's Birthday Games

I'm sure everyone who came will agree that Lynn's birthday was great fun. True to all such parties we made a lot of noise, a bit of mess, ate lots of chocolate and everyone got something to take home. Many thanks to everyone who came, and particularly to Lynn for her splendid pass-the-parcel.

Magic Magicians

Thank you Lorna for organising such a splendid evening of magic and mystery. The two charismatic magicians had us puzzled and enthralled by their cleverness and sleight of hand. You couldn't work out how it was done, even though it was right under your nose! Apparently it is very easy to be a magician, you only need to know 6 basic tricks - but you have to practice them from childhood!!

David Tennant

Many of us will remember David Tennant, who joined us last year on some local walks and the weekend to Golant. We've received this sad news from his wife, Naye:

"My husband joined you for the trip to Cornwall. At the time he was in remission with Multiple Myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. Shortly after this the cancer re-occurred. He died at Christmas time.

He did value the possibilities of what you offered in the YHA and I am sure he would have joined you for more activities had he been well."

Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer