From little acorns to rows of beans

The aspects of this town that have special interest to me are the Royal Oak Pub and the Hawkenbury Allotments.

I could describe The Royal Oak pub as a country pub in town. It is an old fashioned pub with good beer and a no-nonsense attitude to food. It’s a place where you can chat to people on the most obscure subjects and of your fellow drinkers at least one will be able to comment constructively. You may even find that you are lucky enough to be in the company of an expert!

Examples of obscure subjects that you might find knocking about are the evolutionary development of the human thumb, early pornographic collections of the Catholic Church and the all-time chestnut – the nutters who frequent pubs in Tunbridge Wells. I am of course included.

I do not seek to deride the drinkers of this public house, but to celebrate the lively and varied conversation that is to be found here. Obscure and challenging subjects are discussed most pubs and bars around the globe, but not in such a way as in the Royal Oak. Here it is done with frankness, honesty and above all, joviality. An exhibition of the kind of trivia that can be overheard is held every Thursday night, namely the pub quiz.

On the 3rd Wednesday of each month this is the meeting place of the Friends of the Moon Moot. A pagan moot has met here for over 2 years now. And, even though the Salvation Army place is just across the road, so far no one has battered an eyelid!

If you take a left turn out of the Royal Oak pub you will be travelling in the general direction of The Hawkenbury Allotments. Here I have a plot where I grow vegetables and herbs (or rather they grow and I harass them occasionally). I enjoy the peace and tranquillity here, the wind and the birds on it are usually the only sounds to be heard. Once in a while a sparrowhawk might zoom by in pursuit of an unfortunate songbird, or a blackbird might belt out an alarm call to shock me back to work.

Tunbridge Wells is in some way unique, but why, no one really knows. I think it might be that everyone here suffers from a mild, but quite enjoyable form of madness.
Archibald Schonk, 23
Tunbridge Wells