If memory serves me right, it’s time for ME8 to take centre stage.

That’s ME for Medway, which is a river that, in 1667, saw one of Britain’s greatest military defeats, when the Dutch sailed up the River Medway and attacked our fleet, which was laid up at the time for financial reasons.

Yes, in the middle of a war our fleet was laid up. Charles II was many things, but he was by no means a military mastermind. As Kipling says:

The moneys that should feed us
you spend on your delight,
How can you then, have sailor-men
To aid you in your fight?

Still, we’ve been beaten many times and managed to bounce back.

I know about this because my father, during his naval years, was a member of the Chatham Division.

However, ME8 is not central to the story of the Dutch Raid, which will have to wait until we send a parcel to Chhatham or Sheerness.

I’ve failed to find any but the merest nugget of gold, even after a thorough sifting of the Wiki entries relating to Rainham, Twydall and Hempstead. There are facts, for sure, but none that really grab me.

So here it is – the final straws I am grasping at (and the final metaphor I will be mixing!) – Hempstead was the site of the first food court in the UK, it has an Air Scout group and a pub called the Flying Saucer. Having read the Trip Advisor entries for the pub I may give it a miss. Even by my standards the reviews are a touch vitriolic!