Clean air and safe streets

I was asked today, ‘What does Tunbridge Wells mean to you?’ I stopped to think....

Was it the grand houses that permeate the town with their Georgian elegance? Could it be the High Street, with the expensive boutiques, artistic galleries and antique bookshops?

Is it the people, I muse - everyone is so friendly, well mannered and still insist on ‘ ladies first’. Or maybe the Farmer's Market - I go every fortnight on Saturday morning to sample the local delicacies. The smell of fresh bread and home-baked cakes emanates through the air, and you can taste the goodness in the vegetables and the succulence of the meat.

No, it must be the air, so fresh and pure - I inhale deeply as I try to expunge the dirty grime that lines my lungs from my daily commuting.

Could it be the little paths and back alleys that remain hidden until someone shows you where they are and when you walk down them you feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland?

It's probably afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream, watching the world go round in the exquisite surroundings of the Pantiles.

Or the open front restaurants that expose themselves to the elements in the height of summer to bring a cosmopolitan feel to the town?

Maybe it's the Chalybeate Spring - the reason for the town's being. After all, had Lord North not discovered the spring on his hunting outing, it wouldn't't have existed at all!

Perhaps it's the fact that I feel safe and would be happy to go out on my own at any time of day or night, a feeling I rarely experience anywhere else.

Camden Road is in the running, with the plethora of charity stores and unique shops to explore and the delight you feel when you discover a real diamond in the rough.

Or Wellington Rocks on the common, which I used to scale as a child without a care in the world and now look on with in trepidation - how high are they and more importantly how do I get down again? HELP!

But I do like the parks, especially in the summer - those long afternoons spent lying in the sun with a bottle of wine and the gentle chatter of my friends around me, laughing and giggling.

And then it struck me, ‘Tunbridge Wells is my home’, I replied.

Fenella Clark, Tunbridge Wells
Commuting accountant