“Down” Deal

Deal Seafront from the Pier

I’m sorry to have to wax lyrical but it doesn’t get much better than being “down Deal” (as the local patois would have it).

I have lived in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and other places besides but I am rarely as happy as being “Down Deal”.

It can, admittedly, take a bit of time to get used to the locals. Most of the population travels on mobility scooters, but not because of age or disability. It just seems to be the fashion.  As ever in modern Britain, the town has its share of the obese and while perfectly capable of waddling along (which might help their obesity?) it is de rigueur to crash up onto the pavement in your mobility scooter to pop into the Co-op or the Pub.

Path on the seafront, Walmer By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Path on the seafront, Walmer By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0,

I’m not sure whether the abundance of these vehicles is explained by their cheapness relative to the automobile, or whether the welfare state hands them out along with Prozac and benefits cheques. No matter – be prepared; there is an epidemic of the things “down Deal”.

You must also get used to the local language and idiom Down Deal.  Invariably you will be greeted by a single phrase from whomsoever you should happen to meet:

“All right”?

Is it a question? A statement perhaps? Does it require and answer as to the state of your health? Or is it meant to be rhetorical?  Don’t answer back would be my advice – when I have told them how I am or how I feel I am met with bemusement. It’s obviously not the correct and expected response.

Deal Seafront By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Deal Seafront By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0,

When you part, the required and expected phrase to be uttered by both parties is:

“See you later”.

Again, it is all a bit of a puzzle. Are they expecting you to return the fully digested package of fish and chips you have just bought from them? Are they in fact old friends and you have simply forgotten their faces? Will you see them later? If so where? And when?

Leaving aside the difficulties of clear and unambiguous communication with the locals, Down Deal is a splendid place to exist. To fester. To do not very much except pass the time of day. Sit on the beach, watch the birds, paddle.

On the whole, it is quiet and civilised and beautiful. I recommend a visit but learn the language before you come and make sure you arrive on a mobility scooter.

 

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