By Ken Percival
My father and mother were keen cyclists, Dad worked as an engineer on Tanks at their depot in Lydd, Kent where I, Ken was born. So when I came into the world. Dad built a sidecar that fitted along side his bike. (Much like the motorcycle ones you see today).
From Lydd there were only four main ways to leave the Romney Marsh, through Rye, Appledore, Hamstreet and Dymchurch. So with a love to see the quiet countryside my parents often left the Marsh via Appledore. My early impressions of Appledore , climbing up to the church over the canal bridge were of a Sleepy Quaint little Town. The road was well worn with potholes and puddles straw and horse dung and weeds braking through the tarmac, just like at Lydd and Romney – and most of the other local villages.
Here came a slow moving horse pulling an overloaded hay cart and a couple of dogs chasing around the legs and wheels – as if to hurry it up. “Marn-in “ from the voice of the the old farmer waving his wip as he past. Then a woman with a pram and an old man leaning on his gate smoking a pipe, who waves his pipe as if we are the first people he’s ever seen come this way.
Then back in the countryside and the familiar sounds of bleating sheep and skylarks the hum of insects as Mum and Dad get off their bikes to push them up the steep road onto the main land. After a long haul they push their cycles over to a gateway, to show me the view, the Romney Marsh stretching out as far as the sea beyond.
Dad points out the Lighthouse and just down there is the sleepy little village of Appledore we have just come through. With its now miniature Church tower and the quiet street like a little model. There’s been no traffic passing us, just an old farmer with his crook and his dog “ On his way to count his sheep Dad say’s”.
I felt sleepy. It’s a wonder every one doesn’t fall asleep here I thought. Just the hum of bees and the sound of skylarks and bleating sheep.