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The International Writers Magazine: Hometowns

Buckinghamshire: Amersham
Holly Christodoulou


My humble county full of rolling countryside hills, huge mansions, acres of farmland and some of the best schools in the country. However, beyond this idyllic rural setting there lies a cruel and sinister suburban world. The main high street in Amersham, the town I call home, boasts a Tesco hypermarket, Tesco Express and the newly opened Tesco Metro, not to mention a Marks and Spencer food store and hundreds of different card and gift shops.
The roads look more like a high class car dealership as most of the women drive around in their husbands Ferrari or Astons, attempting to park in the already full spaces. It is here that the women are out in force. They do not work, there is no need, they all stay at home and bake cakes for little Pippa’s school fete, heaven forbid that Elizabeth from number 4 will make head of the PTA again. It is nearby impossible to move on this bustling street during the day due to the sheer amount of pushchairs and OAP’s. The sun always seems to be shining here, illuminating its residents into an almost god-like and regal status.

Conversely, past this beautiful high street lies a more ominous world, a haven for the drunkards and aptly named ‘chavs’ of Buckinghamshire. The air here is colder, it gives one chills up their spines, a nagging feeling of doubt enters ones mind. You will not find a supermarket here, not even a card shop. It is more of an alleyway dominated by urine soaked walls and broken bottles littering the cracked paving stones. The drunken men stumble around, not even aware of themselves, they cannot even remember where home is anymore. Youth culture seem to fester here, adorned in their tracksuits they flash menacing looks to the unfortunate passer-by’s. Also found, young single paretns snorting cocaine through rolled up £20 notes, usually part of the state-benefits for their many children.

Perhaps I am painting a bad picture of Buckinghamshire, but this issue needs to be addressed. The schism between the upper and middle class perfect families in their mansions and the working class single mother in her council house is getting worse. The council attempts to help, but at the end of the day, our constituency is a Conservative one, who ignores this divide, praying that the problem will go away. The schools in Buckinghamshire are our only hope, it boasts some of the best in the country and more and more children are attending university, bettering themselves and paving the way for a future. Naturally there is an underlining divide between the state and public schools.

The archetypal mother of David and Sara at one of our many private schools will lock the door on her 4x4 if someone from a secondary school attempts to associate with her.

Buckinghamshire is most probably one of the best places to live in the country however, due mainly to its low crime rate, stunning houses and, of course, its educational institutions. I for one am extremely glad my parents moved us there for a better life.
© holly christodoulou October 2007
shl70573 at port.ac.uk

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