Kent! Known by fame, known by name, but still – what can possibly prepare you for the reality? Suddenly Headcorn hove into view – a fact noticed only by Bas after I had settled myself down with a British Rail sandwich, thinking we still had at least half an hour to go.
We arrived in a flurry and recognised a handsome man at the other end of the platform by virtue of (1) his own description of himself (tall, blond) and (2) the fact that he was the only person there. The name Kinloch features regularly in my great-grandfather’s diaries and here was the desendant of the person who had been so kind to him as a young bereaved army officer in India all those years ago.
Colin swept us away to his Tudor home in the quaint village – one of course of a string of quaint villages – called Tenterden. Daisy the Weimaraner graciously consented to share her space in the boot with our luggage, and we were on the way through adorable English country villages and hedge-lined country lanes, our eyes saturated with visual delights.
Colin’s wife Mary welcomed us and we were shown to an upstairs room which had been there since the 1600s and was showing the effects of time only with respect to its floor levels. We realised that any ambitions to play marbles were quashed. Luckily it hadn’t occurred to us and anyway, we didn’t have any marbles.
My cousin was anything but a stuffy Pom, and generous to a fault. He and Mary made it their primary aim to give us a good time. So, we had it.