A Rose For The Garden of England

Tomorrow, my daughter Rachel leaves her childhood home in Leeds, moving into a flat with her partner in Kent. The town of Tunbridge Wells becoming her new home, in the county whose aesthetic beauty earns it the moniker of ‘The Garden of England’.

What amazes me is how many people seem to know she’s moving to Kent; lots of individuals have recently muttered it in my direction while walking past me.

Rach isn’t the first member of my family to have lived in Tunbridge Wells. Her uncle Ian (my younger brother) resided there for around a year in the late 1980s. His time there thankfully not blackening the Strachan name enough to ensure his niece’s tenure in the town doesn’t start from the juncture of marginalisation.

I lived in the south east of England at the time our kid spent an unfulfilling year in Tunbridge Wells. During those months in 1988/89 I got to see him significantly more than  any other time in the 32 years since leaving my childhood home in Gateshead in 1987.

Ian’d venture to my then Bedfordshire home on numerous weekends at that time. We’d drink copiously, (as an accomplished cook) he’d make a great meal while we put the world to rights listening to the likes of Weller, Sting, Deacon Blue and Prefab Sprout on CD.

Although our kid wasn’t overly enamoured with living in Tunbridge Wells, he and I loved the weekends of beer, laughter, good food, following Leeds United’s fortunes on Ceefax and being treated to favourite contemporary tunes. My lifelong best mate and me attempting to replicate the joyous environment we’d shared so often with the old man -Our mentor who’d enlightened us during the occasions we were blessed to be in his company.


I’ll miss my 26 year old offspring when she departs to add even more enchantment to ‘The Garden of England’. Due to possession of similar feisty natures, we clash regularly; however her humour, wisdom and forthright opinions enrich my life in a manner that’ll ensure her absence’ll negatively impact my existence.

Something I can posit with some certainty after experiencing long periods of her absence when she studied for her degree in York, along with the two years she spent living/working in Canada.

It was in Banff, Canada where Rachel met the fella (also English) who two and half years later she’s re-locating to live with in his native south east of England. Brian her chap, a fine lad who shares my daughter’s penchant for an adrenalin rush and indifference to reading my blogs. His love of reading classic tomes not extending to yours truly’s capricious chronicles…… Ne’er mind, though, he’s a good man who seems to care about my daughter…… Which is a chuffing challenge I can tell you!!!

Seriously, though, although my offspring hasn’t yet secured employment in the south east I’ve every confidence she’s the capabilities and behavioural wherewithal to rectify this in the short term.

Tomorrow sees a major life event for my little girl. Not only re-locating, she’s also moving into her first residence with her partner and a new career path to secure. Like I do with her brother Jonathon who lives in York, I’ll miss Rach terribly when she leaves her childhood home. But like Jonny, I’ve every faith in them to use their qualities to fulfil their potential and existential aspirations.

Good luck on your new adventure, Rach…… I”m incredibly proud of you!!

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