S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Orientation in Canterbury

A few years ago, on a hot summer day, I walked out to St. Augustine's Priory, outside the walls of Canterbury. It was a miserable day and I may well have been dragging luggage with me. The walk to reach it seemed interminable and dull, long, walls blocked off views and there was nothing much in the way of shops or other points of interest except traffic. The priory itself was a lovely ruin in a pleasant - if really hot in the sun - green space. It was surrounded by a wall, and beyond that - I remember the cynical commentary in my head - what looked like particularly dull buildings, perhaps council estates or an extension of the King's school, the only larger-scale institution labeled nearby on the map I was using.

Today, I found myself on the other side of those walls, on a crisp, freezing, overcast day. The walk - which I did on my way back - wasn't really very long at all. It helped not having burning sun or luggage. The buildings aren't particularly exciting, but they're wholly functional, rational, and occasionally actively pleasant solutions for what they are: a modern university complex, tucked away discreetly between a medieval priory, a modern prison, and a residential swathe of the historic city of Canterbury. It's a well-provisioned, growing university with all mod. cons except enough space, at least on first tour. (They're building a new campus nearby to help alleviate this problem. In the interim, temporary buildings cover what used to be tennis courts.)

Now, if only the trains to get there were more reliable. Outbound, we left on time, were delayed for half-an-hour outside Ashford, and then changed destinations so that a new train was required to complete the journey. On the return trip, the first train was cancelled and the second merely delayed. I think that this will be a commute for which it will not be possible to allow too much time.
Tags: canterbury

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