One website helpfully directs the reader with links to other nearby ‘lovely’ towns and cities but neglects to highlight any of Aylesham’s actual attributes (other than nothing the “strong community spirit” – that would be all the unemployed inhabitants then who don’t work the collieries anymore but have the one landmark – a dark sculpture of a mining family – to remind them of happier times).
Wikipedia states “during the 60s a considerable number of families from the village emigrated to Australia.” A tree stump forms the centrepiece of one of the alluring pictures hosted by another supposedly promotional site.
Casual internet research aside, my own experience of Aylesham was perhaps tarnished by being dropped off by the bus driver on an industrial estate about 15 minutes away from where I was supposed to be. There’d been an almighty crash from upstairs and upon stopping to see what had happened. The front upstairs window had completely smashed in, due to a passing bird, plane, or angry Australian emigrant. The driver shrugged and declared, "you'll have to walk the rest of the way, health & safety blah blah blah." Walking in heels when it's just started to snow to a place I don't know past blokey blokes in their vans is a more of a health & safety issue for me, personally. But at least he pointed me in the right direction.
After the training session my flimsy Google map and I tried to navigate our way around the bizarre ghost town that constitutes Aylesham, which seemed sadly lacking in Ale due to the apparent closure of many pubs. During my circumnavigation of this strange isle I honestly only spotted about a dozen people, mostly milling about the main town square (consisting of a pub, newsagents, chippy and health centre for when you’ve overdosed on chips and No-Ale). The labyrinthine council estates I got lost in were eerily quiet too. After finding a bus stop that was still in use I was pleased to return to Canterbury where people’s eyes remain unfazed by the sight of a woman in hair dye and pinstripes. Self decoration and businesslike attire? Not in this one-horse town! Actually I would have been grateful to see a horse, and I hate horses. Actually I don’t even remember seeing creatures there. Maybe a couple of four legged people.
Pictures copyright of Pictures of England dot com.