Wednesday, 3 July 2013

What we did in Kent

Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

Our trip to Kent focused on three main places: Maidstone, Faversham and Canterbury, although we did stop for coffee in the Pantiles at Tunbridge Wells on our way on the first day and returned by way of Hastings.

Our first night was in Maidstone. Jenny told me that William Golding had taught at the Grammar School here, and that he had also met his future wife while working at the school. She does like to track the literary connections to the places we visit. We did a bit of shopping in the shopping mall and in the evening we went to see a performance of Miss Saigon by teenagers from the local Valley Park School at the Hazlitt Theatre. The kids did really well.

The next day we moved on to Faversham, a charming market town. Apparently Crispin (St Crispin of the famous Henry V speech) fled persecution in Gaul and lived and worked for a while in the town (another literary gem from Jenny). She told me that the town’s information leaflet also says that Shakespeare and his actors had performed in Faversham on several occasions.

Faversham also boasts the oldest brewery in the country, Shepherd Neame, and we were able to visit it during the afternoon, including tasting the various ales that are made there. Excellent!

Next day we were off to Canterbury. Of course we went to the cathedral and also various places connected with Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales. We also met up with a friend of mine who works at the University of Kent for a few drinks. We ruminated on the problems facing Greece, economic and political. Not a happy conversation, although my friend told me that tourism numbers are up this year.

On the way back we took the coastal route so we could pass through Hastings and Battle. I seem to be getting more familiar with British history and literature than most Greeks. I’m told that 1066 is a date that every schoolchild knows. Just like 1966 for every England football fan!

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