I remember a few years a go my grandad offered me a plum. I don't like plums.
"Oh dear, you're not a Kentish girl really are you then."
I was slightly confused and offended at the time but once I learnt that Kent is the Garden of England it made sense. But apparently this label doesn't mean we have a cultural identity. Well, Stuart Heritage doesn't think so anyway.
I first saw his article on KentOnline "Guardian writer Stuart Heritage criticises Kent for 'not having proud identity' in column" and was again, confused and more offended (he's not my grandad, he can't get away with it).
He claims that going to Strood is like "spending an eternity having red-hot knitting needles jammed underneath your fingernails". Strood may not be a lovely place but this is a bit extreme. If he had said Gillingham on the other hand I may have agreed...
He continues to complain about the lack of identity, how we have no real borders and we have no major football teams to follow.
We don't have a version of TOWIE (that's the real tragedy), the Beetles to worship or a cornish pasty to identify us by.
I've sat for ages trying to argue against what he said. That the beauty of Kent lies in its diversity with Canterbury and Medway being in the same county, that our identity lies in our rich history, that the locals may be weird but they sure are amusing. But I for one don't know that this is anything different than the rest of the country?
Because I've never really been anywhere else. Some of you travelled across counties, countries and continents to get here, yet I crossed a town. I could have got a bus.
Why would I want to go anywhere else? I went to one of the top shools in the country (apparently), I'm as close to London as I am a beach and closer to France than I am to Manchester. I'm not saying that Medway is the place to be but I can't complain. How many of you have seen police removing beer cans from peoples hands at 10 o'clock in the morning? Or has a dockyard that is also the set for Call the Midwife and Les Mis.
The original article was more amusing than offensive. His game show comment was accurate. Anytime Kent has been mentioned I've gone from supporting them because of where they are from to hating them because they're annoying. No other reason.
If we have no real identity then that's ok. It means the rest of the country can't judge us on the stereotype crerated for us. Instead we will be judged by the posh, borderline alcohloic and hilarious pair on Gogglebox.
Or the (again rather amusing) video on how to get ready for a night out in Medway.
Whatever your view, I don't think a lack of cultural identity really matters. You can keep your pasties and your Scottish accents. We're just fine as we are.