Looking back to Iron Wharf from Faversham Creek
Today I cycled out from Faversham and fell back in love with my country.
I sometimes forget how lovely England still is when I spend so much time seeing and despairing at the destruction of our countryside. At times it seems that we have become one big building site and ugliness both physical and ideological threatens to engulf us.
Today however I remembered all the good things as I weaved past the lively market and down to the boatyards of Iron Wharf where people clambered over their weekend projects with renewed enthusiasm because the sun was out and the days were getting longer. I then crossed a ever more rickety bridge over a creek and spun across Nagden Marshes.
Spring was everywhere, butterflies courting, birds singing, blackthorn spangled in lacey blossom.
Spring in England is a blessing which you can enjoy all the more after the gloom of a long winter and, even these days, when winter is not what it was, then I can revel in the first sun on bare skin. I fully subscribe to Robert Browning’s philosophy in his poem ‘O to be in England.’ and never wish to live full time in a country where the summer is endless. Like many things in life the joy of pleasure returning is all the sweeter when you’ve come through the dark days.
Away from the banks of Faversham Creek I swung down quiet lanes, passing farm workers, horseshows and stopped at St Bartholomew’s Church in Goodnestone run by the Churches Conservation Trust and stepped inside to discover it’s simplicity and cool whitewash. On, past quirkily named pubs and first pints of shandy back to town. The world had gone all John Betjeman and I was thankful for it.
Rescued from Sheppey – this time not by the lifeboat!
Cycled to Lower Halstow on a beautiful winter’s afternoon to admire the boats and dream once again about buying one.
I have toyed with the idea of buying a boat ever since moving to Medway. Something to escape down river in on a summer’s evening to enjoy the peace and commune with the seals or, rather more intrepidly, chug across the Thames to Essex to visit the folks. But I currently have zero boating knowledge and no spare cash. Strangely neither of these small issues is likely to deter me.
This year, having spent so much time walking along the river and meeting people living in many weird and wonderful ways along its banks, the idea has really taken hold, but just what boat should I be dreaming of? a motor boat? a sail boat? a canoe? I have no idea what a cash strapped, total novice should buy and have a healthy respect of the dangers of the estuary after being rescued by a lifeboat from an ill-fated canoeing tour. Consequently I don’t know if this is one of my many crazy desires that I should squash or one of those rare moments of inspired clarity that I should run towards. Today, with the river spread out before me and all those islands and inlets to explore, every boat looked tempting.
A few weeks ago I had spent a merry half hour perusing the ‘for sale’ board at Iron Wharf boatyard in Faversham and saw an advert for a sailing boat called Katie;
‘Sloop rigged, motor sailer, twin bilge keels, roller reefed, mailsail and furling jib, £3250.’
I have no idea what it all means but it sounds beautiful.
I am tempted, too tempted but rather fear I could become like one of the inhabitants of Iron Wharf who, having spent their life savings on the boat, realise that they don’t have the skills to keep it afloat and instead end up living in a rented railway carriage at the dock. At notice next to the boat informed me that I could rent my very own railway carriage for £10 a month. At this price life on the dockside was quite tempting too.
Railway carriage home – Iron Wharf