Leaving Tunbridge Wells


I’m moving, to the Isle of Dogs in London’s Docklands, after a three year stay in the Kent town of Tunbridge Wells. You get to know a place quite well in three years, and it’s always poignant when you move on, but then again I now have the chance to discover a new place. Besides, nothing is for ever, you can’t freeze time, and change is something to be embraced. 

I moved to Tunbridge Wells in November 2020, in the second UK national lockdown. It was a strange time, but it meant I got a lovely flat at a reasonable rent (the new renters are paying quite a bit more than I did). Close to the famous Pantiles, in the nice end of town, the flat had windows all along one side with views over Bedford Terrace. A short walk from the station, it was a great location. The first few months were a little strange because of the lockdown. My salvation was long walks through the surrounding countryside, often starting and ending on the famous common with its distinctive sandstone rocks. 

This is a hilly area, and all walks involve a lot of up and down, but with this comes some lovely scenery. But the lockdown did mean that it was hard to make new friends and connections in the area, and a lot of quiet evenings were spent alone in the flat. Remember Clubhouse? Remember bi-weekly Zoom lives? 

But things did return to normal and I began to get to know the town better. I began playing football, but this didn’t last too long (torn calf: a signal that maybe there’s a reason that 55 year olds aren’t usually still playing with 25 year olds). I also began going to church again after a five-year break – and in Christchurch on the high street I found an excellent community of people. Tunbridge Wells is also where I returned to playing guitar often, on a daily basis when I wasn’t travelling, which was a wonderful outlet for creativity and stopped my life being totally focused on my work. 

The only problem with Tunbridge Wells is that it’s a bit of a pain to get to any of London’s airports, something which I have to do pretty frequently. And being this far out of London without a car restricts travel a little: the train line gets you to Hastings pretty quickly, but locations like Brighton are out of the question. It’s also out of Uber range. 

But a lovely three years. I’ve enjoyed it. And now back in central London, there are different charms and different opportunities. 

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wine journalist and flavour obsessive
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