Sunday, 21 March 2010


Three months on and the genre of Shire post returns. Quite a momentous occasion, actually, as this is the last University holiday in which the prospect of returning to Newcastle shines like a little black and white stripey light at the end of a Home Counties tunnel. Next time I'm down here it'll be all over - no more studenty goodness awaiting - and that's why I'm moving swiftly on to happier thoughts.

Like, the bitter, dark hilarity of the fact that I keep being invited to groups and fan pages on Facebook that concern my least favourite place in the world, Milton Keynes (MK). The Shire is located worryingly close to this postmodern nightmare of a city, only just into it's fortieth anniversary of existence. However, it is definitely, definitely, not 'home', as the group MK Is Not Much But It Will Always Be Home..... Big Up MK City!!!!! would like to suggest otherwise. This page pretty much sums up 'MK City' in a feebly-constructed piece of internet engineering. Like, for example, that Milton Keynes hasn't even been officially named a City yet - does it have a Cathedral? Does it have a University? - and that even its own citizens are happy to admit it's 'Not Much', whilst simultaneously making a string of posts along the lines of 'MK....City of Dreams', 'MK....City of Hidden Talent' and, my personal favourite, 'Forget London City....Its All About MK City'. The fact that illogical capitalisation and the mysterious four-dot ellipses are obligatory inclusions just adds something so special.

Anyway, after arriving into the rain-soaked MK temporary (although it's been there for three years, in which several thousand identikit houses have been built) bus station last night, I don't intend to return to Milton Keynes for at least ten days, and that will only be to go to the train station. After all, for the next month the Shire is acting as a kind of Tibetan monastery, out of which a good 12,000 words of academic brilliance and several pounds of happy flab are going to erupt from birdsong, broadsheet breakfasts and organic fowl-munching. The one irony of a university town being that attempting to do any kind of serious study in it is near impossible due to fun distractions such as society.

From here on in my dissertation breaks are going to be as follows: afternoons out to sites of national heritage, baking, girltime (best kind of distraction, usually involving Louis Theroux re-runs and duvets), charity shops and the occasional jaunt to London. And, of course, blogging. Get ready for near-daily updates on how many villagers have got an new dog/gained weight/started power walking.

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