This is probably news to most readers of my blog, I had told a few close friends but not made any formal announcements via Facebook, Twitter or even my online diary. I have moved to Slough. While I wait for you recover from this breaking news, let me go through my thinking process. (Or rather thinking processes) It may seem mad, but as always there is method in my madness.
Yes it would have made sense to move to Swindon but when that more permanent house purchase fell through in the autumn, it was time to re-think the plan. While I love being at home and living with my parents and three adorable sisters, it was time once again, to flow the nest. Unlike in 2000 (for University) and 2008 (for my job in Newbury) I was hoping not to be a boomerang. I was hoping to make the move as a stepping stone to married life and finally standing on my own two feet. As I leave my twenties behind at a crazy rate (a mere seven months left on the clock) I took some time to look at my situation and it was not good. I really needed to have my space again and gain my independence back. Sure, there is no doubt that I will miss the delicious home cooked food, the Sky (albeit standard definition) but most importantly the broadband connection. It was time and it was the right time.
Why Slough of all places? Well as you may or may not know I am a big fan of The Office but this would be a rather foolish criteria to move to a town. As usually it is location, location, location. The flat is fifteen minutes drive from High Wycombe. The same distance from Langley and smack bang on Junction 7 of the M4. There is just a ten minute walk from the flat into town, the gym and maybe five additional minutes to get to the train station. There are of course, the negative aspects, this is Slough. A town which was the focus of a now infamous poem written in 1937 and then went onto star in a BBC2 documentary (Let’s Make Slough Happy) which starred my friend, hospital radio DJ, Melanie! The Brunel Roundabout (you will know it, it appears in the opening titles of above forementioned BBC comedy series) is currently being rebuilt, so there are no traffic lights and the mentality is every man, woman or child for themselves. Not a major issue for me, during non-peak times but I am sure if I have to drive through at a weekend it will be something of a nightmare. The bus station is being rebuilt and the design currently visible looks rather futuristic and space age.
I switched my Google News feed from High Wycombe to Slough (I keep a section for local news, it good to know what is going down on your doorstep) and was shocked to find so many cases of fraud, rape and murder. I really had moved to the centre of criminal activity in Berkshire. Does it bother me? It does a little, even in the first days I have noticed a great number of police cars out on patrol. Do I feel unsafe? No, my flat is clean, well lit and secure. I have secure car parking (with a lot more expensive and sort after cars parked next to me) so I have no real issues there. I knew Slough was bad, but it was not until I actually started reading some of the stories that I gained a full understanding of how bad the town really is. Now sure, all towns have problems and it is unfair to label Slough has being at the extreme end of things, perhaps it is just a sharp contrast from my quiet home town of High Wycombe.
I know the next month or so will be difficult as I settle in but I am looking forward to the challenge of fending for myself once more. I am also making my small contribution to the planet by car sharing my journey to Swindon with James. Therefore I now only drive two days a week and am chauffeur driven for two days and still have the flexibility of Fridays working from home.