Black Dog Cafe, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

In Tunbridge Wells most people choose the slow lane

There is a gentleman who walks past the Cafe’ several times a day who I call the fast walker.  This rather fast walk would go unnoticed in London but in Tunbridge Wells his walking pace stands out and happens to catch my eye. The key time for this fast walk is at lunch time and the operation at hand is to usually grab a packet of crisps and the Sun newspaper and then head back to the office. I would guess this gentleman’s life is very very busy or that his lunch break is very precious and that getting from A to B cannot be wasted by walking at a normal pace.

When I catch the fast walker walk fast past the Cafe’ I get this jolt of a life I have left behind. I know where this fast walker is coming from, so busy, too busy, got to eat, got to find a lunch break but got no time. Starting the Cafe’ has been harder than any corporate job I’ve held and all the pressures of meeting budgets, deadlines and delivering on employers expectations but moving into an industry surrounded by customers enjoying themselves and living in Tunbridge Wells has taught me that life can just pass on by and if you don’t stop and breathe in the air, sit and drink well, chat with friends, eat well, sleep well, then what is it all about?

Tunbridge Wells is a friendly, bustling but easy little town (unless you’re in a car at peak hour or near North Farm). I see in the Cafe’ and on the streets great camaraderie, people are proud and take pleasure in their place in the world. It does remind me of Melbourne, you love living it, and you love talking about it when you’re away. Every so often when time permits I get up to London and I love the city, but there is a lot of fast walkers and a lot of fast mental action going on in their heads about all the busy things they have got to do. Maybe I’m showing my age but when I get off at Tunbridge Wells station I take a deep breath, I sigh and to myself I think, oh yes soak it up, every last drop. No need to walk fast in this ol’ town.

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