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The Group Photo John Rich Laurie Betty Susanne Peter Stéphan
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Broadstairs, Kent is on the extreme North-East coast of the county of Kent, facing Belgium on the other side of the English Channel. Charles Dickens spent many of his holidays here, and used many of its locations and characters as inspiration for his novels.

During Broadstairs Folk Week, the promoters promise that "every nook and cranny of Broadstairs is crammed full of music and dance and there’s a chance you’ll see a real star of the future performing in one of the many pubs in the town", and they were right!

Folk Entertainers in The Prince Albert watched by TBBC Member GuyFolk Entertainers in The Prince Albert watched by TBBC Member Guy
Folk Entertainers in The Prince Albert watched by TBBC Member Guy

It took us three and a half hours to get to Broadstairs from Brighton, if you include the 53 minute wait between trains at Ashford International, but we arrived right on time, and walked in the sunshine down the High Street until we came upon the Prince Albert pub.

Seated inside at long table was the TBBC group, which included three overseas guests. Rich (aka 'Santa') and Laurie were visiting from the USA, and had been brought along as a surprise, for them and for me. I'd hoped to meet them in California earlier this year, but I had to return to the UK before we could meet. Peter had also invited along Stéphan, another beardophile from Reims, France. Reims is about 146km (90 miles) north-east of Paris.

Beards in almost every nook and cranny...
Beards in almost every nook and cranny...

Not long after I'd taken the group photo at the long table, another TBBC Member arrived. Guy was on holiday in Broadstairs conveniently during the Folk Week with members of his family, and had managed to escape from them for a few hours to enjoy the festival. Pub lunches having been ordered, were eaten and enjoyed. As the plates were stacked away, the afternoon's three-man band arrived and began to set up.

We all enjoyed three or four numbers from the band, and then finishing our drinks, decided to let other enthusiasts sit in the "front row". So we left The Prince Albert, and walked en masse down to the seafront's even more crowded ice-cream parlour. Having very carefully, and with plenty of napkins on hand, consumed tubs and cones of very good ice-cream, and mindful of the length of the return journey, we bid our farewells to the "locals" Suzanne, Peter and Betty, and "not-so-locals" Laurie, Rich, Stéphan and Guy, and made our way back to the station.

I found a merry troupe of Morris Men from I think, Strood, Kent waiting on the same platform, and we exchanged friendly 'bearded' greetings. We have had several enquiries about the Club from Festival goers as a result of our cards being handed out at Broadstairs, so well done to the South-East contingent.

SantaLaurieBetty (Peter's Mum)SusannePeterStéphan
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Photos on this page were taken by me. TBBC

Best Bearded Regards