A great believer in exploring the off beat, non-touristy things hidden inside every city.
For my professional practice check
Published September 9th 2014
Time travel: Steam engine's final stop-an old lighthouse
Many years ago as part of our high school curriculum, we read 'The Fog Horn' a short science fiction novel by late American author Ray Bradbury. The subject of the story is a remote lighthouse whose fog horn attracts an ancient sea monster which believes it has found its soul mate. The eventual sadness of that lonely creature when it realises that it has been tricked, created in me a pathos that has always stayed.
When we visited the tiny town of Dungeness off the coast of Kent two weekends ago for a short break and found there was an old lighthouse that we could climb up, I knew that we just had to do it.
Built in 1901 and operational till 1960, this is definitely not for those with a fear of heights. But to those who are willing to brave the 150 feet up its narrow spiral staircase, a panoramic, almost 360 degrees view of the English Channel awaits. On a clear day, like when I visited, one can also see France.
The sheer climb, the fascinating history of the brave men and women too (ok they weren't lighthouse keepers, but they did keep house for their lighthouse keeper husbands in the middle of nowhere!) who lived and worked in the tireless service of operating its simple yet profound mechanism of oil-lit glass prism lights flashing every 10 seconds, miles into the sea night after night averting many a ship disaster, was soul-stirring indeed.
For anyone who wants to 'rise' to the occasion, I am told that the lighthouse is also available on hire as a venue for weddings, film shoots and more.
At the base of this lone sentinel of the sea one can find wares both of the edible kind and the kind you can keep on your mantelpiece back home. A small almost Thomas- like steam train is probably the quainter way to reach this through the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch line, but for the more prosaic of us keying in TN29 9NB on the Sat Nav will take you there too.