Monday 7 May 2012

The Grand is a hotel that over-looks the sea but is set back so you can experience the glorious views especially on a bright, sunny spring day, like it was today. I have such a weakness for British seaside towns and Folkestone has been going through a renaissance in the last few years, attracting new business, restaurants such as Rocksalt in the harbour and fantastic artists such as Lian Wilson who has started up Tamalpa UK, a dance therapy programme currently running its first course at The Cornerhouse. If you haven’t seen the changes at Folkestone it’s time to pack your bucket and spade and catch the 50-minute fast train from London and start enjoying the delights of a fine seaside town.

There’s nothing I like more than a Nostalgia day, it is part of being British to be constantly looking back, tracing our ancestors (my new hobby), in fact there’s a book I want to buy called Retromania, which discusses that we are ‘living in the "future" and just endlessly recycling the past’. Yes, guilty as charged, as I floated around the stalls touching pieces from the past, settling on a lovely 80s fluffy jacket and a nice feather enhanced pink hat for a fancy dress party I was shortly to attend as that doyenne of the British romance – Barbara Cartland!

We joined the fabulous Gypsy John who played big band greats from the 20s to the 50s and had a room full of lindy hoppers and jive dancers the whole day.

We were placed upstairs with the browsers and filled their background with the music of Doris Day. We were the Doris Day Duo – myself and the lovely Simon Golding on guitar. Nostalgia days always attract a wide variety of people – the retro dressers (usually in 40s wear of the war-time fashions), the dancers and just anyone who fancies a day out.

I had a lovely chat over the vintage clothing stall (Ruby’s I think) with a couple of ladies: one was putting on a nostalgia show and was reading the Doris Day autobiography so we got out all our Doris chops and impressed each other with our knowledge of all things Doris! Another lady was telling me about her time as a model in Paris and she still looked glamorous as a septuagenarian. She was telling me about the ordeal of teenage girls (including her grand-daughter who thinks at 16 needs a boob job because English men are obsessed with boobs) but of course in her wisdom she said, “all men might want to go to bed with big boobs but they won’t want to marry them”. Exactly, young teenagers – DON’T DO IT! You’re beautiful as you are!

It was lovely to see Yvonne and John from Whitstable dancing to some of our songs before joining the lindy hoppers downstairs. During our break we took advantage of the fine dining they have at The Grand and as usual I enjoyed a scone (of the cheese and chive variety with lashings of butter) and my pot of green tea.

The Grand will shortly be doing a variety of jubilee celebrations including some reasonably priced high teas so go and indulge yourselves, also a stylish venue for wedding.


So thanks to Nita who booked us; to Gypsy John, who I believe is starting lindy hop classes in Herne Bay soon and will be appearing on the 18th August as part of the Herne Bay Festival; The Grand for holding such events and to Folkestone, a place being returned to it’s former glory (let’s hope Margate follows shortly!)