Battle scars & faded grandeur


“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”


Long before cooking was cool and chefs were celebrity there was someone else with a story of food and fun. Not a story you see in the reality kitchens of the modern show but a true story that really did start (and finish) with the f word. The story was a story not just told, but lived, by a chef called Antony Bourdain. And I thought of that chef, and his phrase above, as I struggled through Folkestone on an early morning MARCH yesterday.

Maybe it was the delightful bottle of NZ Pinot Gris I MARCHed through, the night before. Maybe it was the new 8 month old mini MARCHer who delights in the dark hour. Whatever the reason, I was hurting. I was feeling old. My body didn’t feel like a temple. It felt like an amusement park well in need of oil.

As I thought about the struggle, and considered my surroundings, I saw a meeting of decay. But resilience and survival too. A new sense of wonder and satisfaction in the grandeur that fades. In the battles that scar. Life really should be lived as an amusement park.

I know little of Folkestone. I could read wikipedia. I could research further. But I have decided to do only this. Reflect my virgin impressions during a 60 minute hard MARCH early one morning in July….

The start of the journey. I head out from the campsite in to Folkestone. And as I look at this photo it makes even more sense now. The promise of nature and a great running trail. But it’s muted. The cloud cloaks true beauty and hints at balance and perspective. Things can’t be quite perfect.

And so it is. First encounter with the beach. Concrete seems to live in hand with nature here. Often asserting a force on its face greater – but of course it never could be. A beautiful coastline of sea and sun but scarred by man. Meeting a fellow runner on the return MARCH I hear it was once the beach front amusement park “but I’ve lived here for 10 years and it was already gone when I arrived.”

But there is hope. New beachfront developments lift me. There are people that believe. There are people who know what I now know.

And people who believed before. Grandeur – and some not yet faded. This is a place of long life. Of long memories. This is a place that has lived. It wears its scars with fortitude. Not proud of them. But living with them.

Mystery and intrigue. Scars speak of a past. An uncertain past. But an interesting past. A railway where? For what? I wonder deeply as I drag my wary legs across the tracks.

And joy! Joy despite. Survival despite. Despite the concrete. Despite the architecture. These are not the quaint beach huts of Wells-Next-The-Sea. But they speak even louder. More than one person has learnt what I have learnt. There is joy and life in faded grandeur. There is joy and life in battle scars. And as you feel and show it, so you provide it.


Folkestone? I’m sure it’s easy not to love. I’m sure it’s easy to see and feel the sense of strain. But can’t we see and sense that anywhere? Isn’t it about seeing and sharing the joy? Isn’t it about enjoying the amusement ride that took us there and knowing we were part of the journey?

One thought on “Battle scars & faded grandeur

  1. Rather a sad comment on Man’s past activities in contrast to how nice the place can be when Nature is allowed to have a hand in things.

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