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Monday, June 29, 2009

THE ROMAN SAUSAGE RUN

(click any picture to enlarge)
The Romans built a road from their port/fort near Hythe to Ashford where it met their road from the Wealden ironworks on its way towards Canterbury. Most of it is still used as an arrow-straight country lane, but it became abandoned near my home and runs under the gardens of the house next door.

This road is my route to the village of Aldington

and about once a month my bicycle takes me the 5 miles to a rural gem of a shop by the roadside, both butcher and baker, slaughtering their own meat and baking their own cakes and pastries.

The aim is to take on supplies of their delicious and varied sausages to restock the freezer. (This time I chose pork and apple, pork with stuffing, pork with hops and beef with horseradish).
Ten miles does not constitute a cycle ride however so, saddle bag sausage-laden I continued in the sunshine along Rome's road, passing the historic pub which was the headquarters of notorious smuggling gangs in earlier times. The scene of running battles (and deaths) with "The Revenue" and the "Aldington Gang".

My goal was the village of Lympne (pronounced "Limm").

Its name a corruption of the Roman name for their fort and port, "Portus Lemanis". Itself named after the defunct river estuary of the River Limen.
A winding path takes me to the escarpment overlooking a panorama of Romney Marsh. Time for a coffee break and the puff-pastry pecan plait (how's that for alliteration?) picked up with the sausages.

Below me are the remains of an outpost of ancient Rome. The 2nd century "Saxon Shore" fort protecting the harbour of the port and home to part of the Roman-British fleet the "Classis Britannicus". All is now tumbled ruins. Landslip and stone robbing for the nearby mediaeval castle has left but the crumbled stone stumps.

Looking across and beyond one sees a sanitised canal cutting through arable fields towards the seawall in the distance. The canal all that remains of the River Limen, the seawall converting what was a vast tidal bay into modern farmlands. The picture below looks back to the fort . One must imagine the salt waves lapping to the line of trees at the bottom of the escarpment in Roman times. The Castle, built from the Roman stones stands at top right.

However - enough of musing on history and Kipling's "Salt marsh where now is corn" . The coffee is drunk, the pastry eaten. The way beckons.
Sausages were on the menu that evening.

15 comments:

Zhoen said...

Yum.

I've always thought, if I get to visit your fair land, I would most want to search out the oldest ruins, the Roman remains, the earlier remnants of civilization.

herhimnbryn said...

Revenue men be damned!

I miss the Marsh, today.

I suspect the shade of Dr Syn was smiling down on you that day!

Glorious post and great links too.

ps. Maybe you should send a 'link' to the butcher:)

Barrett Bonden said...

You let me down. I thought you were going to reveal what is the permissible - and desirable - pub drink for a biker on a moderate run. But it seems you cycled straight past The Walnut Tree and now I'll never know. However, I am interested to hear that you stop off for coffee. I love my own obsessionally-made coffee but I find it doesn't mix with physical exercise. It leaves a cutting, gagging, sensation in the throat. Though I dare say a pecan plait may have a de-gagging effect.

Your trips are always nostalgic for me, given that I married a Kentish Maid (or a Maid of Kent) and those roads are so familarly beautiful.

Hereford and adjacent Wales are havens of great sausages. I hadn't realised how important coarse-ground meat is in a banger until I moved here.

Avus said...

HHnB
Smuggling sounds romantic (Kipling's "Watch the wall, my darling, whilst the gentlemen go by") but the organised gangs were vicious gangsters.

Dr Syn may deserve a posting one day.

BB
'twas too early for a pub visit, but nothing beats a pint of bitter shandy on a hot cycle ride. Agreed that "proper coffee" is not an excercise drink. My flask contains two teaspoons Nescafe, bottle-cap full of brandy and two beakers of milk, plus water, of course - bland but pleasant and thirst quenching.
Glad to stir the nostalgia - depends on which side of the Medway your wife was born - to the East = Maid of Kent, to the West = Kentish Maid (don't ask me why)
My butcher and I thoroughly agree with your comment regarding coarse ground meat for the sausages

Lucy said...

Ah, but too much coarse ground, like we have here, is not right either - I de-skin them and mix them with fine dry breadcrumbs to make something more like an English banger - Corporal Jones would have been proud of me!

Good job you didn't stop at the pub or you'd be more like the Rolling English Drunkard than the Roman!

Lovely nostalgic post.

Isabelle said...

A lovely post except the sausages. I'm a rather sqeamish veggie. But the scenery is wonderful and I'm so impressed by someone who doesn't think 10 miles is a cycle ride.

Kay said...

Ah! I love your England! (The England that is yours ...) Thank you.

Robyn said...

I enjoyed that, thank you Avis.

mm said...

Glorious. Thank you for taking me along on your ride as a pillion passenger. I love this post, particularly as it is a part of the country that I don't know that well.

Avus said...

Lucy:
As you say - you are a veritable Corporal Jonesy. Your recipe sounds good to convert those French "saucisse".
As it was a "Kipling" day, rather than G.K.Chesterton's I avoided the "Rolling English Road"!

Isabelle:
Veggies can still enjoy (veggie) sausages. My daughter (HHnB) is a veggie but I enjoy her sausages.

Kay, Robyn & mm:
Thanks for coming along for the ride

windblownbutterfly said...

Wonderfully descriptive, Avus! I may have actually enjoyed my history and geography courses if I would have had a teacher like you in school. :-)

Avus said...

Butterfly:
Thank you. Great praise indeed. Our teachers have so much influence on how we feel in later life

Vita said...

Delighted to visit and find another bicycle ride. What fun.

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