So this is it. My days of living in the beautiful town that is Canterbury has come to an end. No more living in an apartment within the city walls, strolling two minutes to, what could be, an outdoor Bluewater. No more trips to the charming Westgate Gardens with a canal running through it or the Dane John with a little maze DS loves. Pushing my devastation aside, I guess I should take consolation in being here for 37.5 hours a week. Even if I am trapped in the centre of a glass building, where ironically, there is no natural light.
Moving back to Gravesend was not the end goal, but to fill the gap in the interim period between university and finding our feet. Let’s face it, it is not the most picturesque town and the people who occupy it are not the friendliest. It is a town people live in to be closer to London and its’ surrounding towns; you choose to live there so it is easier to escape. The remaining population who are not commuters, probably live in the many lovely council estates.
Generally in Gravesend, the chavs you see roaming the streets are seeking that extra 10p for a packet of fags, to then threateningly ask you to buy it for them. There is no politeness in their requests, cutting straight to the point and inciting fear in the process. In Canterbury, there are less chavs, or at least they are hidden. We mainly house the drunks and homeless in our underpasses, where they busk for money and thank you in return for your change. A couple of years ago when I was pregnant a homeless man asked me for change, but upon noticing my protruding belly, he backtracked and apologised for asking. In Gravesend I would have most probably be singled out as an easy target and mugged.
It is when you fight your way through the cloud of smoke on the High Street in Gravesend, you get the sense that no one wants to be there. The occupants are either in a rush to be somewhere else or just loitering to pass the time. In Canterbury passerbys smile at you and you smile back, in mutual recognition of how happy we both are to be here. I am not being cheesey, just pointing out facts; Residents, tourists and students alike choose to be in this town. Gravesend does not have tourists, nor do they have willing students.
I have lived in Gravesend for the majority of my years so I feel I have a fair judgment. It is pretty dire place to grow up in as a teenager and I fear it has not changed in the slightest.