Hometown muse

Rachel Saunders
4 min readJun 9, 2024
Copyright Rachel Saunders

I am back in Medway this weekend, a pace that forever lives rent free in my head. For the first time in a long while I have no real plans, aside from meeting a couple of friends, meaning I get to kick back and enjoy my time here. Much like where I live now in Nottingham, the Medway Towns are suffused with memories, wistfulness, and sense that there is still so much more I can discover. Growing up I got to explore much of the history, yet as an adult I am much more appreciative of the texture and rejuvenated spirit that seems to be coming back into the place. Medway is my muse for numerous reasons, most of all because I keep feeling the tug of home every time I come back.

Arriving at St Pancras on the intercity you enter a milieu of nationalities and voices, accents from all over the UK and the world. Step onto the Kent bound change and it becomes pure estuary, a slice of childhood wrapped up in the everyday normality of people getting on with their lives. To be a maid of Kent is a thing hard to pin down, but every time I take my seat on the train home feels within touching distance, not a half-remembered echo.

Rochester, where I type this out, has become a tourist honeypot for all things Dickens and Victoriana. Much like York, a former port in the storm, it has this quintessence designed to evoke charm and Instasnaps. Its High Street belies the industrial history long since erased by tower…