Send in the fresh meat for the grinder: February 2014

My view of sunny, dry Manchester

I have moved. Sadly I am not writing to you from Nepal, not even from Paris.

No, rather than being tear gassed by French riot police, I find myself in a eight-bedroom house in south Manchester, about to undergo a course in journalism with News Associates.

Really, I’ve been waiting for this since my graduation from St Andrews in June. As much as I enjoyed my History degree, in itself it is not enough, unless ‘enough’ means being able to explain to people how this Crimea business would be over in a jiffy if we could just send in the Light Brigade, or the Heavy Brigade, or possibly both.

I start on Tuesday, having just moved down from Edinburgh, located the nearest pub (priorities!) and greeted the people I will be living with until July.

My view of sunny, dry Manchester
My view of sunny, dry Manchester

It’s the first time that I’ve moved in with a group of total strangers since DRA in 2009. Perhaps, given it is Manchester we’re talking about, I should say it’s quite Fresh Meat.

Extending that analogy, I seem to be cast in the role of Sabine, or Candice, the new, rather dysfunctional, housemate among housemates who already know each other. That also suggests I will become the love interest of a large, bearded, very Scottish man named Howard, which is… troubling.

These housemates are incredibly friendly though, and scarily organised – they have a cleaning rota. On the other hand, none appear to drink English tea, with or without milk, so I can’t say I quite trust them yet.

Anyway, there is an element of trepidation in beginning the course – I know I have a lot to learn in the next 20 weeks, and I there will be high standards to meet both in the classroom and out on the beat (in the journalistic sense – I don’t intend to join the Greater Manchester Police).

But I also know that it was journalism which gave me the greatest thrill and sense of purpose in St Andrews, whether it was covering Student Association election results or reporting on an Athletic Union club achieving promotion or cup success.

And Manchester is the perfect place to cover that area of journalism which first attracted me to The Saint: sport. Sport, more than anything else in the history of human activity, is capable of bypassing my brain’s default setting of general disdain and wishing to see my enemies extinguished in flame… apologies, I’m just quite excited about 6 April.

I revelled in the variety of winter sports on show in Sochi, from the spectacular aerial skiing to the frankly ridiculous doubles luge. And, as anyone unfortunate enough to suffer my Twitter timeline will know, I became disproportionately excited about curling. All of it.

For any recovering Sochiholic, the prescribed treatment is Manchester. Home to two of football’s giants (Manchester City FC and Manchester City Ladies FC) and the eye of the storm that is British Cycling, this city breathes sport.

How well I cope with the return to studying, and life in this new city, only time will tell.


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