We left London with heavy hearts – we were exhausted from all the sightseeing, but we didn’t want to leave Charles and Maralyn. Amy burst into tears a few times on the way, wishing she could stay with them a bit longer.

We got lost. Well, we got stuck in the traffic and took one wrong turn which took us an hour to correct. So we didn’t get to Deal until 6.00pm, and we thought we’d be there at 4.00. We were so relieved to be greeted by Dianna who had a 5 year old boy, Michael. They both showed us around the flat and Michael went outside to play with Daniel and Amy, which cheered them up no end. The flat was bright, sunny and modern, right by the beach, which made the transition from ‘home’ back to the weekly accommodation routine easy. We really enjoyed staying there, it kinda felt like it was still part of Maralyn and Charles home.

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We stayed in the basement level.

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Unfortunately we only had two full days there, so we had a rest on Thursday morning (well we did some homeschool to try to get back into routine). In the afternoon we went for a walk along the beach, discovered the Pound Shop (toblerone for a pound, yum), had a coffee and visited Deal castle.

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Deal Castle was built by Henry VIII to protect against possible attacks from Europe (you can see France across the water from Deal). We had fun exploring it, there were some cool meter wide gaps between the walls where you could walk around. We talked history with the National Heritage guide and got home for a late tea again! I wonder if we’ll ever get back to NZ teatimes..

Friday we went to Dover Castle – which is huge. We spent the whole day there, the first part visiting the tunnels and the afternoon visiting the castle. The tunnels were built underground into the chalk and then extended before the second world war. It was from these tunnels that the evacuation of Dunkirk was planned and executed. The tour of the tunnels is called the Operation Dynamo tour and it taught us all about the evacuation, with films and commentary. It was sobering, but excellent.

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We also visited the wartime underground hospital. There are at least four miles of underground tunnels and so the guides kept warning us to stick with the group as we could get lost for days down there. Every now and then we’d see a corridor going off from our tunnel and it looked pretty dark and mysterious! We kept a close eye on the kids!

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We went through the castle after that. There were rooms made out as they would have been in the time of King Henry II (1100s) , including large kitchen, bedroom, dining hall, guest room and chapel. The kids had a great time in the kitchen, if only I could get them to be so enthusiastic about working in my kitchen!

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We had a great time at Dover Castle – it was an excellent place to visit. It was our last day at Deal, as the next day we were booked to stay in Wealdon. We wished we had more time to stay in Deal as it was a lovely spot with many more places to explore – if only we had a bit more time!

(Week 15B: Wednesday 30 May 2012 – Saturday 2 June 2012)