A FEW STEPS TO HEAVEN
Late Spring 2002 didn’t make any impression, though Summer was almost on the doorstep. Breezy, changeable, not especially warm, typical English weather. To properly wake up, I walked in to my garden and looked around. In every corner of that green, I could see plenty of work and duties; too much for two pairs of hands.
As newly arrived Senior Citizens to Folkestone, we adore our house and garden and our plan for renovation and change of design was endless! After my breakfast, when I started to enhance a flower border I could feel a pricking pain in my spine. Took several minutes to get relief with the help of deep breathing and slowly walked to the chair. Sadly looked on the number of tools which I had prepared. I knew that my husband would be surprised at what still needed to be done. As a spiteful act, the sun appeared and with it I got a new idea. Walk for health! While tidying up the tools in the garden shed, there looking at me was my best friend – my purple bicycle. No, no, today not, my friend… but I couldn’t break away from it!
Later on, walking gently by our road, leading my bicycle, I created a new plan. Remembering a saying of my Physio Teacher at High School, Active Rest is The Best, I decided to obey him!
Aiming in the direction of the Leas, crossing Sandgate Road, I noticed two cyclists – seniors enjoying easy, of gentle speed, riding down to Sandgate. Great! With silent thanks for this gentle hint, I followed them, full of joy. Without any effort, after a few minutes got the end of Sandgate. I slipped to the coastal path for a stop, to decide on the next part of my journey. Sat on the beach and with amazement, adored the turquoise sea and the tranquillity of the seaside, only several walkers passed by.
Although only the first time at that spot I recognized that I had to turn left to get home. Taking the coastal path, just after Sandgate Castle, I could see a male-cyclist who has stopped for a chat with friends.
”Excuse me Sir!” I addressed him, ”Could you help me? I don’t know this area and need to take an easy way to get to Folkestone!”
”I could! Maybe a few ways!” Answered that chap with cheeky smile. ”The road you probably don’t like, but after about hundred metres, by that coastal way, you can find three paths to the Leas, but only one is easy! Or down to the Harbour. It would be best for you!” With a glimpse he recognized, he was speaking with a senior.
With thanks I waved at him and within a few minutes I passed the first exit with stairs. That is a bad one! I deduced. Next one smooth exit near the Mermaid restaurant, was closed for building work. I could learn from one worker that I should continue to the Harbour or go back to the previous exit, where there is the zig-zag path with several steps only.
After a few minutes I found it, but it was again the one, I had seen before! Grabbed my bike and managed those forty steps to get to the Parking on the Lower Sandgate Road. I stopped, breathing with relief and looked around. In front of me I could see stairs again, on the right a small road to the Harbour or left to Sandgate. No way!? After a short hesitation, I took my bike again under my arm and with that idea, proceeded onwards and upwards, hoping, that I could see a landing. Soon I started puffing and had to have a rest.
”Wow, that is training for Tour de France?” Mid aged couple, descending stairs, were wondering and watching me with a light smile.
”Not at all, that’s a mistake only!”, I answered and continued. After several steps , I finally could see a landing! What a relief! Stopping for breath, I noticed a beautiful view – the
water of the English Channel! At that moment I was approached by a group of walkers. ”Do you really go in the right direction? The easier way is to go down, not up!” They were joking and laughing.
”I know, but I want to try the next way, for a change, what will happen?” I answered and moved on.
Then I could spot the roof of the Grand and Metropole on the Leas. It was as a dose of energising drink!
The last part of 140 stairs I made so easily, I couldn’t believe it. Standing with amazement and adoring the Panorama of Folkestone’s Victorian pride. The flower bed in front of the Hotel, as a colourful lace, always to attract everybody who passed by. At this moment I had the feeling of being twice amazed, with my achievement and …
”Hello my Neighbour!” The senior lady, of about my age, who I knew from our street, pushing a baby buggy with a grandchild. Waving and smiling at me.
”Oh, you are sporty!” She added as a compliment.
”Thank you, I do cycling occasionally only, but I like it!”, still visibly out of breath.
”Just fancy, what I saw last week?!” With widened yes, Lady: ” Three lads, with racing bikes, suddenly appeared just at this spot, where we are standing now. Sweat dripping from their faces, puffing and from their speech I knew, they had climbed by these steps from Lower Sandgate Road!” Turning her head in disbelief. ”Maybe, they have climbed from the coastal path, with another 40 steps?! This is hazardous, isn’t it? In my opinion they are mad!?” Waiting for my response.
”I agree … there are enough areas to choose for that sport!” I answered with a little stammering.
”I am glad, you use the advantage that lovely Leas! That is really a gorgeous area! Mainly for relaxation!”
With smiley face and bye, she left.
Only now, I come to realize, why I am here? Where did I leave my backache?
Jana is a new member of the writing group so it is a pleasure to have her story on our site, including Jana’s photographs which go so well.
When Jana was recoverring from an illness she did some mosaic work which I would like to show you. I think it is wonderful.
A very talented lady who will be a lovely addition to our group.
Please send any of your work that you would like to see on our site to myself, Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org