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While the rest of the country was celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee I was at a long pre-arranged classic bike race meeting at Lydden Hill with an overnight stop in Folkestone. Still, the flag was flying at home, in the car and in my heart – yup, I’m a Royalist. 🙂

Now Folkestone isn’t somewhere I’ve ever thought of staying before, it’s a place I only go through on my way to, or from, Europe. The town had been celebrating but the party was over by the time we arrived and a few worse for wear revellers staggered between semi dismantled marquees in the half dark. It rained heavily during the night and drizzle had set in when I was finally able to grab an hour of sightseeing and photography before heading back to the circuit. There was an air of morning after blues and the place was deserted apart from a two man crew dealing with an army of portable toilets. Any rubbish bins that hadn’t already overflowed were being torn apart by scavenging seagulls and the place was swamped by tides and runnels of rain soaked litter. Several seafront buildings were boarded up and the ‘For sale/ to let’ signs were well past their use by date. A lacklustre tidal ebb had no energy and even the harbour seemed down at heel with flocks of squabbling gulls fighting over the remnants of a catch on the quayside and deserted fishing boats lay numbly at anchor. A melancholy air of neglect hung over the front, heavy with faded memories. I tried to capture this feeling – let me know if I succeeded …..

Not wishing to deter anyone from visiting Folkestone (or incurring the wrath of those who live there!) had I been there the day before it would have been a different place with the sun shining, a fun fair on the beach, the party in full swing and the place a riot of colour and music. What a difference a day makes!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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