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After mentioning the place I live above, I started thinking about what actually was the worst place I’ve ever lived?

So, this is the story.

I was 21, had just left Clacton, with only a big bag of cloths and odds & ends, and a guitar.

I couldn’t actually play the guitar, but I felt it was a symbolic thing and the kind of thing any self-respecting journeyman of the road should carry with him. I was a young romantic, who had watched Woodstock too many times and was looking to broaden my horizons, so ignored the fact that it was in fact a huge piece of additional baggage I would have to lug about in my travels for the next few weeks.

I got a National Express coach, via London to Canterbury.

Why?

Well, you see, I missed my girl friend, so the whole intention was to move nearer to her. She was doing her nursing training in Ashford, so I headed for Canterbury. I liked the sound of the place, having read Canterbury Tales long ago. This is an example of how dangerous literature is to the impressionable mind. It can make you decide to go to places that you really shouldn’t bother with.

I also did the same many years later with Morocco, just because of the song Marrakech Express by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but I was about 30yrs too late to experience what they might have been singing about, so that just illustrates that its not just literature, but songs as well that can…well….you know…impressionable mind…romantic etc etc!

Anyway, I turned up in Canterbury, on a Sunday afternoon, with aforementioned baggage, and a Nationwide buildings society savings book containing about £200, which of course was totally useless on a Sunday when the banks are closed. I had about £5 in change too.

I set about ringing around to places in the local papers and got an encouraging response from one number out of the ten I rang. So, I arrived at said address, after disclosing a huge amount of information over the phone, only to be met by a grotesque midget woman wearing a blue rinse wig and her huge, obese husband who looked the spitting image of Oliver Hardy. Around a table carved like a ships wheel, they further interrogated me. The outcome, and this was verbalised, not insinuated, was that I would have to sleep rough that night and come back the following day, because even though I showed them the savings book, they were having none of that.

Oh, and I wouldn’t get a room to myself, I would have to share with another of the unfortunates that they had living there. So I left fighting the urge to put a brick through their window and didn’t return.

After hours of wandering the streets, I decided to throw myself on the mercy of the church and went to a service at a local Methodists church. After the service was over, I approached the priest and asked if he knew of anyone who could help me. He did, and I was sent up the road to a bed & breakfast place, run by the Kent equivalent to that family from Texas Chainsaw massacre. They all looked like their family gene pool was certainly a muddy affair and from the word go, started insisting that as soon as the sun came up the following day, I should go canvassing local construction sites for work.

I didn’t, and after a day they moved me to a disgusting bedsit for the night, and then to a block of terrace buildings they owned, in the road behind the one in which Canterbury’s YHA stood.

This is where I experienced the worst place I had ever lived in.

It was Halloween.

The room I was given was 6ft wide and about 10 ft in length, and had a new doorframe of cheap, unpainted wood. The toilet on the landing was a converted cupboard, that I tell no lie, was so small that when I stood to take a piss, my knees were against the bowl, while my back was touching the door. There was no window.

From across the hall, I could enjoy the frightening noises of a guy verbally and physically abusing his wife/girlfriend. The wall which my bed stood against was so thin, that when the gay guy next door decided to shag his boyfriend, it vibrated. The sounds were deeply disturbing too I might add.

In response to this I moved my bed away from the wall, only to discover a huge dried, brown stain under my bed, opposite the newly repaired door. It didn’t take too much imagination to come to conclusion that this was dried blood, caked into the carpet.

This was the worst place I had I had ever lived in.

The next day I packed and moved to Folkestone, where after a few equally bizarre, but far from as disturbing twists of fate, I ended up living in for four years.

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