Dover Priory And Vandalism

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 14th November 2009


I've not been looking forward to all the Train travel especially as the curtain comes down too late for me to catch the ridiculously early last train to Walmer - 10.00 pm.  It wouldn't be so bad if there were a connection from Dover Priory or Canterbury West where one could link to Walmer - but No - Southeastern Rail does not exist for the benefit of the customer but the shareholder.  (Was totally shocked to learn from a young traveller that is she travels in rush hour from Walmer to Charing Cross the fare is over £40)

Imagine how I felt at 1.00 am on Friday morning - after an incredibly long day - to find my car had been vandalised yet again - the passenger window had been totally smashed.  A mindless piece of vandalism as there was nothing in the car to steal.

I had been unable to park in the woefully inadequate Station Car Park (haven't counted but about 20 parking spaces) so had to park around the corner in a quiet street and parked under a lamp-post.  (How are they going to cope when the High Speed Train service commences in early December?  No one has given a thought to it - totally inadequate parking and not even a facility to Park and ride to the Station!)

Some absolutely lovely 'Good Samaritan' had covered the broken window with plastic/hessian sacking for which I was intensely grateful as it had been raining Cats and Dogs that day.  Unfortunately the lady had not left a contact number only a note to say that she'd reported it and there was a crime number - fat lot of good that is - the last time I contacted the police in Cornwall for another act of Vandalism they asked, in my opinion, a load of totally inappropriate questions like - Did I need Counselling.  No I didn't, I was just damned Angry! What was my age and my ethnic origin - what has that got to do with the price of fish!)  If by any chance the Good Samaritan happens to read this, please make contact via the local newspaper as I'd love to repay the kindness in some way.

I'd had a very long day - Julie Goodyear was unwell so we all had to pitch up at Midday for Understudy Rehearsal, then do two shows.  I'd left home at 10.00 am and got off the train at 1.00 am.   I was tired and cold and then to see my car damaged was just the last straw.  It wasn't so much the damage but my feeling about the sort of people around these days.  I was brought up in a house with an outside Loo and no Bathroom, no phone, no TV and certainly no Car.  BUT my generation had a sense of pride and a desire to better ourselves - we had a WORK ETHIC and respect for other people and their hard-earned property.  All that has gone and I feel so SAD and HELPLESS.    I got home and Wept with sheer frustration at the kind of World in which we now live.  It's a World without Shame - no respect for anything and no Work Ethic.  I feel very very sorry for those who do want to work and don't have a job (and it's appalling to see the poor homeless folk around the Strand bedding down for the night in doorways - and this in an affluent country) but, in my opinion, there are too many who simply don't want to work and are totally happy to live off State Benefits.  Do they actually think the Government has a money-tree (well perhaps they do with the way they have been bailing out banks and allowing ridiculous bonuses) - don't they realise that  it is the hard-working tax payer who funds their lives.  

I haven't had a new car for 35 years and only bought my Ford Focus because I wanted to cut down on repair bills, reduce petrol consumption and have reliable 'wheels' under me.  I thought this would be the car to 'see me out'.  I've had it vandalised three times in 4 months. 

I had reservations about parking at Dover and those fears were certainly fulfilled.  So what do I do now.  Well I'm certainly not parking there again so I will have to pay for Taxis - approximately £20 from Dover Priory to my home.  And there's no way around that because the last train to my station from Charing Cross leaves at 10.00 pm - so Dover Priory is the only option.

And as for travelling on trains -  I loathe it.  There is a total lack of respect for other travellers.  People are shouting into their Mobile Phones, having Loud Conversations (I really don't want to know the intimate details of the lives of Strangers nor the latest prices on stocks and shares) and children are just let loose to do what they like.  The Lavatories Stink and are Dirty with a combination of no toilet paper, no soap and the hand- dryer does not work.  Travellers constantly put their feet on the seats - consequently I've become the traveller in black reckoning that at least Black won't show the dirt picked up off the seats.  And, if you are on the last train with a journey of two hours in front of you when you'd really welcome a hot drink - there's no refreshment service.

I was assured by the Station Staff at Dover Priory that there is always a guard on the trains - well if there is, you certainly don't see them.

Although I'm enjoying my stint in Calendar Girls, my journeying on Southeastern and Southwestern trains can't come to an end soon enough.  I've not had to travel by train for years and I only hope I don't have to again in the foreseeable future.  If parking were not so prohibitively expensive (plus the congestion charge) I'd drive in.  Mind you with what I'm going to have to pay in Taxi fares, it might make travelling by car a viable alternative.

British Rail may have been a bit of a lumbering giant but they manned the Ticket offices, manned the trains and they did run to places slightly off the beaten track. Now, ticket offices, like Police Stations are open for a few hours a day and one is left to the vicissitudes of the damned Machines. I always felt that Utilities should never have been privatised and I feel that way even more so now.

The Grumpy Old Woman is getting even Grumpier!

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