Dover stands at the narrowest part of the English Channel, next stop France.
Remember the Vera Lynne wartime song; “They’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover…” Yep that’s this place, I think referring to The Battle of Britain and our returning heroes of the time.
Much history is here too as it was and still is a focal point for people entering and leaving the UK, and has been there since the StoneAge.
Did you know the name comes from its river? The RIver Dour. It is also only one of a handful of UK places that have a different name in French – Douvres. Romans called it Portis Dubris. It has had lighthouses there for ever and in fact the oldest building in Dover castle is the Roman Lighthouse.
It served as a bastion against various attackers: notably the French during the Napoleonic Wars, and against those pesky Germans during World War II with Operation Dynamo being run from the secret tunnels beneath Dover Castle – Mr Churchill and crew in residence. Operation Dynamo was the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk in World War II. My Granddad, Joe, was in the 3rd lot of troops coming back in that Operation – saving circa 380,000 Allied Troops – quite an amazing feat.
It was also one of the Cinque Ports during medieval times, as you’ll see from the photo of Ollie in a short while leaning against the beacon. Basically the early warning system against invading Spaniards and French. If someone saw something untoward they would light the beacon and then all would light up therein warning of imminent attack. Clever right!
This was Joe’s view for years when in the artillery defending Britain’s shores. Looks kind of peaceful and tranquil apart from the howling wind. Back to 1940 and the howling was a different noise! Bless those men and women. UK is what it is because of you all.
Lest we forget!
Let’s ponder the hospital from WWII that we just visited. 4KM of tunnels in the white cliffs of Dover. Actually tunnels originally excavated during Napoleonic war time. Tunnels that saw Operation Dynamo extradite 300,000+ troops from Dunkirk back to Blighty, spin round and view the Roman lighthouse, or the Saxon Church…
Nah sod it I got me iPod Dad. MineCraft innit…
Dover from the tunnels.
Actually the ‘spit’ between the two halves of the harbour wall.
This is where Granddad (Joe) sat with his mates firing over to France and defending Britain with that one bullet. Amazing!
Look carefully at the horizon.
Yep that is France, about 22KM only away – our friends got that close. Thanks Joe!!!
OMG even in the 1100’s they have a Mary.
So King, Queen and Dame Philip Ino of Kent.
I tell you what it’s good to be King.
My Queen is getting away with nothing.
But in true form check the face – you reckon anything sunk in there?
Pedia – me taking a picture of Ollie whilst explaining what arrow slits are.
Yes people these are not just small windows they are a defence mechanism.
Very similar to Ollie’s pants = small but deadly!
This is incredible – a map sewn on silk or something from 1100’s.
When the world was supposedly flat.
Well this is, isn’t it.
Hmmm theology. Stopping now.
The King viewing his sleeping chamber.
Clearly on his mind; “It’s gonna take a big fart to lift that duvet – but I think I am THE man for the job!”
Just some beautiful cropped (to show only the beauty of them) stained glass windows.
They were casting rainbows of light across the floors – stunning.
So why called them ‘stained’.
You get stained pants, stained trousers, stained clothes – completely different context is it not. So why that for glass. Come on check em out. Have you ever had this in your pants?
This is a classic.
Come on we’ve all been at a recycle bin, bus stop, poster or some other inane thing and had a group of Asia girls stand there for a photo and flick the V’s (OK OK I can say that as I live here!)
We would know Winston Churchill doing that to celebrate the V for Victory.
Those on Facebook in any Asian Photo clearly not, something different.
Well f*ck me if Saint Thomas Becket isn’t ‘in the scene’ too. Check him out. Not a wheely bin in sight as well, it’s ad hoc V’s. Luckily my two spotted it and jelled with him immediately!
See this in the distance.
Did you know Dover had castle No.2 – in fact No.1 as this was before the one I am standing in taking the photo.
When at school I had to stand at the bottom and pretend I was an invading army. An invading army covered in chain mail and armour. An invading army that then had to charge the battlements of the, then, wooden fort at the top of the motte and bailey castle.
Either a sadist teacher or a good one trying to put in perspective how bloody hard it would have been – or maybe even both.
Still it was sodding hard work running up in shorts, t-shirt and trainers. Even at that age I was like give me new lungs please. No chain mail in sight. Not even Readers Digest then (get it – chain mail).
On an historic note – chain mail used to weight 60Kilos. SIXTY. And cost a years salary to buy. Can you believe it.
Inside the grounds is a model Trebuche.
Pedia time again sorry.
OK it’s a flipping big catapult!
The oldest bits.
Roman lighthouse -by far the oldest.
Next to that the Saxon Church.
And what was built around it – yep the caftle (not spelling mistake – no s’s then) of Dover!
Here we go.
Stand and salute.
How could you not get massively patriotic seeing this fly over the white cliffs of Dover.
Oh no – my two found the dining room.
Ollie said something along the lines of; “please Sir can I have some more…?”
Where he got that from I just don’t know!
Outside the dining room is the public toilets.
These are in fact the good ones with a seat (well hole) and buckets (not sure what they’re for).
My two pretending to extend their regal status and have a poo all King and Queen like.
Nice faces kids.
Hope you wash you hands before you Knight someone!!!
Actually here is the real picture of Ollie on the loo.
The man that disappears for 50 minutes to the toilet and why…
Yep Kindle and iPod.
Ollie try wiping your bum with a Kindle.
Why do you think they invented paper?
Now here is my two finding the giant bears porridge bowls.
I don’t think these are actually big enough for these two to prepare their food.
I think at max they’d get a starter from these two.
Still on a positive it is nice to see them stirring these not each other for a change!
Two photos for me now – all me – ha ha!
I found this poor little thing all alone in the kitchens.
I’ll look after you my love.
I shall hug and kiss you.
I shall take you home and call you Brian.
I love you!
And my Amy even finds my drinking ‘cup’ to share this thing of beauty.
Come on Amy you can lift it, it’s not even full yet.
Come on now give me some time with my newish camera.
Yes I went artsy.
But, have a look.
Beautifully haunting and hauntingly beautiful all in one are they not!
Off to the cafe as bugger me it was cold.
Nikki and Amy turn in to Zombies (why…?)
Luckily they had both eaten already!
Ollie below at that beacon I mentioned.
Imagine the scene.
Soldier on watch; “Sir I think I espy the Spanish Armada on yonder horizon coming to attack these fair shores of England.”
Captain; “Well then Sir, light the beacon of hope and share the impending assault with our comrades, so that we may repel these dirty Spaniards from our sacred lands!”
Soldier on watch; “Er you got a ladder, I can’t reach to light the f*cking thing!”
Man that’s tall…
See history lessons may never need to be boring again!
This is incredible.
This plaque was made by my Granddad and his mate to commemorate Operation Dynamo, them being in it and all. All those little boats back and forth from Dunkirk to Dover to save 100,000’s of allied troops.
Amazing thing is that days later I sat at my Nan’s and was looking for a photo in an old album. What photo falls out on to my lap, yes the very similar one of my Sis and I when we were 5-6 (I think) sat in the very same place in a very similar pose. Now that is strange.
Final one for this blog, what can I say…
‘I said Captain, I said what!’
Thank you Dover, Mum, Nikki and family for a great day out! Phew!