There is a weather-beaten, lichen-stained monument by the beach at Walmer in Kent, which is easy to miss if you’re out for a seaside stroll.
Kentish field flecked with flint.
Farmer picked the flint from field,
Planting piles along the fringe.
It was not a morning to be outdoors, with high winds and dense rain lashing Kent as I drove south on my way to a birthday lunch. But the hamlet of Court-at-Street is only a short detour off the M20, and, as with crimes, so with visits to ruined chapels: I had means, motive, and opportunity, despite the weather.
Dungeness is an inhospitable place when the wind is up and the rain sweeps across the shingle. It was early on May Day. The crew on the beach, poised like weekend paramilitaries on exercise, were not there for the weather. This was a stake-out.