Let's move to a town building so many new estates it'll soon cover the whole UK! This week: Didcot

What’s it about?

Enjoy railway lines, disused power stations and sprawling new housing developments? Then Didcot is your kind of shithole.

Trains go through it, builders seem to think everyone in the south-east wants to live in a crappy little new build in it, and statisticians voted it England’s most normal town. Still interested? Why?

In the shadow of Oxford, Didcot has worked hard not to be sullied by any of the dreaming spires’ prestige or beauty, and despite an insane level of development has carefully kept useful infrastructure to a minimum. That said, there is an Aldi.

Any good points?

The Railway Centre, appropriately accessed via the train station, is 21 acres of diesel and steam trains ideal for boomers and their grandchildren.

Staffed by men who bloody love trains and wouldn’t be doing with any Thomas the Tank Engine bollocks, it’s where Hollywood shoots films with old trains in. Keira Knightley spent days in Didcot pretending it was 19th-century Russia. Not a bad survival strategy for the town generally.

The Orchard Centre’s taken Didcot up a notch from the shitty shops on Broadway: with a big M&S, truly enormous car park and multi-screen cinema, you can almost forget you’re in Didcot. It should do extremely well.

Wonderful landscape? 

The immense cooling towers, visible from 30 miles away, made Didcot the leading blot on the Oxfordshire landscape until 2014, at which point they became fiery beacons on the landscape when they caught fire.

In their absence, Didcot’s merely a malevolent presence in the minds of Home Counties villagers fighting to keep a buffer of green space between them and Didcot’s rabidly expansionist town planners.

It’s an incredibly flat town, with few vistas, many roundabouts and a lot of supermarkets. If you want nothing out of the ordinary you really will find it here.

Hang out at…

The Didcot Wave, a leisure centre which, as its unimaginative name suggests, has a wave machine. The Cornerstone arts centre for some very regional arts.

For a fun evening out in a pub popular with young people who can’t afford to leave the town and old people who can’t be arsed to, there’s Broadways. Powerfully unlike the New York street of theatres, entertainment and commerce because it’s crap, but does open until 3am at weekends.

A drink there is sure to escalate into an all-night bender, often with a crowd in school uniform because the news that’s a bit dodgy hasn’t reached Didcot yet.

Where to buy?

Will you buy a house on a new-build estate, looking like like the CGI version of it on RightMove but shittier, to the north, south, west or east of the town? Or go for the olde worlde charm of the Ladygrove estate, dating from the 90s?

Alternatively you could spunk £650k on a charming cottage in one of the surrounding picture-perfect villages, which will all soon be subsumed by Didcot new-build estates.

From the streets:

Helen Archer, aged 34: “Has Didcot flourished? Or has it spread like a pox, drowning nearby Harwell and the Hagbournes in its normalness? All I know is I’m proud to live somewhere I can finally start living my most median life.”

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I spent a single afternoon with Penny Mordaunt and now I'm gay for her forever

By Abigail Pennson, our reasonable, plain-speaking middle-class columnist slightly to the right of Hitler

SEXUALITY? Straight as a die. No changing teams for me. Until I spent one afternoon with Penny Mordaunt, and now I’m her lesbian love-slave. 

The sheer magnificence of Mordaunt in all her glory – she stands 5ft 10ins in heels, but to me she seemed a 50-foot woman – overwhelmed my senses. I passed out. And when I awoke, the dream was still there.

‘Are you alright?’ she cooed, in a voice as soft as buttery lambskin concealing a core of tempered steel. ‘I love you,’ I told her. ‘I love you with a passion that blazes like a refugee boat set alight by the Navy, under your firm-but-fair command.’

Gracefully, our next prime minister passed over my unprofessional entreaties, instead telling me about her time as a magician’s assistant. The thought of her packed into a spangled leotard is too much for me and I spasm.

‘I was sawn in half,’ she continues, ‘I pulled rabbits out of hats, and now I’m ready to work my magic on the Tory party.’ A soft gurgle of pleasure is my only response.

‘And then, of course,’ she continues like a practiced seductress, ‘I joined the Navy.’ In my mind’s eye she’s dropped the leotard for a captain’s outfit, complete with jauntily-angled hat, and I renounce all other lovers without regret for the rest of my born days.

‘In a way the UK is like a ship,’ she says, in a statement so wise it should be chiselled on stone and worshipped. ‘The captain’s orders must never be questioned, those below decks should stay there, and dissenters should be keelhauled or marooned.’

The straightforward, plain-speaking obviousness of this statement hits me like a revelation. I know now there is only Penny, that she is the way and the light, and that I would crawl through a desert of broken glass merely to lick the back of her knee.

This isn’t like my previous infatuation with Boris Johnson. That was no more than a middle-aged woman’s teenage crush on a bad boy. I know that now. Just as I know that Penny is the captain of my clit and the master of my fanny.

I am gay for Penny. She is my domme and I am her sub. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman. And I came six times.