The house was all in boxes and drowning in magnolia paint.
There was nothing for it, I had to get out!
It was late August and I had been in the house a few days. I hadn't yet been onto campus, which given that I lived there meant that I had literally been in the house for a few days.
I looked out of the windows. Yep there was more campus to see than I remembered from my view in Southampton. It was definitely closer.
I had another look. From Car Park 5, where I lived, it seemed I had moved onto, what appeared to be, some sort of building site.
Ah yes, it was August the time when every University likes to rip up the tarmac presumably looking for students that don't want to leave. My inner child wanted to explore a building site, but I didn't feel I really belonged. I didn't work there, I didn't have a ID badge so I decided to get off campus and explore the thing that was Loughborough.
I'd never lived up here before so I didn't really know what to expect. I decided to explore by bike.
I found my cycling gear in a box. I put them on. Bright orange, yellow, red, and tighter than a government spending round. Hopefully people would see me coming but not pay too much attention. The families pastor at my old church saw me out cycling once.
“Goodness you look highly visible.” she said, and let's be honest that's never a good thing to say to a man wearing Lycra below the waist.
Before I left Southampton I bought myself a Leicester map, so I grabbed my bike and set off. I weaved my way through campus and left at the gate by Engineering. I found myself on Ashby Road and I headed up it. I passed by various houses and a nice Harvester before noticing the signs all seemed to be pointing to London. As I continued into the third minute of my Bike ride I passed the last house and was now cycling past fields. As this continued I realised I was no longer in Loughborough. Crumbs....how could I have left already? Surely it was not that that small. Not with a population of 17,000 students? But no I was now rapidly approaching a big road sign....leading the the M1. Whoops I was heading for a motorway. Now I seem to remember that there is something in the Highway code about not cycling on motorways. So I thought about turning back, but wondering what the worst that could happen could be I decided to press on. My journey took me up to the slip road and then using the cycle path completely over the M1. Then on, the signs pointing to somewhere called 'Shepshed'. I stopped my bike and got out my map. OK Shepshed was the next place you got to after leaving Loughborough. I decided to continue cycling. It looked like I would need to go up the high street and them head up back to Loughborough down a lane.
I passed a fine bus shelter and now was on into the place itself. 10 minutes after leaving home I was somewhere else entirely. This was a new experience for this seasoned city dweller. I cycled down the main street in Shepshed it was not a large place but based on what I just worked out about Loughborough it could be proportionately huge. I found my way to where I was going, I left Shepshed by the Shepshed Dynomos football ground and headed up the imaginatively named 'Butt Hole Lane'. There I found it. The Leicestershire countryside. My journey took me on and over the M1 again, here I paused. OK so there was one advantage of living here the chance to cycle across nice flat countryside. It was quite pretty too. OK it was not exactly Pandora from Avatar but then that's a place where all the people are Blue and all the fun stuff, riding dragons, talking to god and 'dating' requires hair. That's defiantly not the place for me. Maybe if they were a different colour. Anyway Leicestershire was also in 3D and that's all I've ever looked for in a planet. That and oxygen.
I headed along Butt Hole Lane past farms and the odd tractor and it led quite obviously to the arse end of Loughborough.
I had been going half and hour which was the amount of time it would have taken me to cycle from my old house to the outskirts of Southampton. I cycled on and shortly found myself back at Campus.
At home I reflected on my journey.
Loughborough University was about the same size at it's counterpart in Southampton. Just a little smaller, but it occupied grounds 4 times the size. Loughborough was a very big university in a very small town and that would make for a fascinating dynamic.
And I was fortunate to be right in the middle of it.