In the summer of 1997, my girlfriend at the time, Daniela, visited Canterbury from London for the first time.
Not one to hold her tongue, after 15 minutes she declared: “Canterbury is stinky.”
There was a very good reason Canterbury stank in those days. It was called the Tannery.
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The practise of processing animal skins was not without this rather nauseating consequence. Daniela was right: Canterbury stank.
The tannery is long gone, replaced by the Old Tannery housing development where I now live.
But that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t pong on occasion. Take yesterday (Friday), for example. It was bloody smelly.
I stepped out of my block at 4pm and was hit by an appalling aroma.
It reeked of dog poo and I immediately thought one of my neighbours hadn’t bothered to clean up after their pet.
How wrong I was. I walked up Stour Street and into Hospital Lane. It was still there. Oh God.
I wanted to be certain that this wasn’t just the product of malfunctioning nasal receptors. So when I bumped into a friend, I requested him to confirm the existence of the whiff. He agreed: Canterbury stinks.
So how can we explain this? The most plausible source for the stench appears to be that it is blown off farmland surrounding Canterbury which has manure tipped on it in preparation for the summer growing season.
Yesterday’s wind was coming from the south-west, from the direction of the fields around the Boys Langton and the rugby club at Merton Lane.
To be honest, it might just as well have come from anywhere. And the truth is that whatever is responsible, Canterbury was stinky again.
Now, it’s nearly 6.30am on Saturday and I need a McDonald’s breakfast. Think I’ll risk venturing outside…