Misty Castle (5×12) oil on panelby Andy Parker
The third leg of the Turner Tour was a long one, with 5 stopovers in Kent spread over three weeks. By this point I was at the final stop, in Hythe. I headed up to Dover to have a look around. The weather was fine and I sketched the castle and surroundings from the western gun emplacements opposite. Since it was clear, there was no problem getting the detail down; in fact, there was rather too much detail for my liking, acres of windows and tops of buildings and the like that I didn’t really need, but no matter.
Awaking early the next morning, the rain was beating down on the roof of the caravan in Hythe like a drum roll. Should I stay indoors, with the fire on, curled up on the sofa with the much-thumbed Andy McNabb I’d found on the bookshelf (complete with lantern-jawed hero and ‘…they promised me a new start, if I’d only do one more job‘, I was all set for a day indoors)? But duty called so I togged up and headed out into the wilds.
Dover was being lashed by rain and vicious side-winds, that would shift the half-ton of motorbike clear sideways across the motorway, as I came into town. I hauled it up the hill to the site I’d used the day before. Now it turned out that the weather had done me a favour: gone were the tiresome mass of windows and rooftops that clutter the hillside below the castle. Instead, lit by a faint pinkish light on the low clouds behind was a perfect view of the castle from side-on, silhouetted on the skyline, looking as all castles should: menacing and rather foreboding. After all, they weren’t built to charm visitors. I sat under the concrete roof of a dripping gun shelter and got to work…