Scouts

My brother was over from America a couple of weeks ago. He’d brought a boy scout troop with him. There were nearly two dozen of them, almost as many adults as there were children.

They were staying in the scout camp in Ross Woods, on the road between Herne Bay and Canterbury. It’s a great place, right next door to the Wildwoods, so the kids went to sleep to the sound of wolves howling.

Not that a few caged wolves would have impressed them all that much. They come from New York State, about four hours drive from the Adirondacks, which is a National Park about the size of an average English County. There are no wolves there, but there are black bear, and beavers and coyotes and bobcats and moose and porcupines, as well as mountains and waterfalls and white water rapids and forests as far as the eye can see.

But that wasn’t why they’d come to England. They came here to soak up the culture. So they saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and went on the London Eye. The changing of the guard was so packed with tourists they hardly saw more than the odd bearskin bobbing about above the crowd. They also went to Chatham dockyards, to Dover Castle, and to the Cathedral and the Roman Museum in Canterbury.

Crabbing

Towards the end they came to Whitstable, where they went crabbing on the beach, which they seemed to love. All children love crabbing.

I overheard one of the boys talking. He was perched on a groyne, with the sea slapping at his feet, with a crab line loaded up with raw bacon, dropping live crabs into a bucket full of water. “I could stay here forever,” he said.

After that we took a back alleys tour of the town, down Squeeze Gut Alley, and passed the Favourite, on our way for some refreshments in the Old Neptune. Later the boys had a fish and chips supper in VC Jones’, before catching a bus back to their camp.

Now that’s real culture for you!

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