Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reading

Reading is a town in the south-west of England. Travelling west from London, it takes about 50 minutes to reach by car. Kinna like travelling from KL to Seremban. It is famous for its university, music festivals and lately, its football team that is doing really well.

It has also been my home for a little more than a year now, and I'd like to bring you on a little tour around my turf :)

We start off at the main train station. This is a major hub for train services to London and also the south of England. I usually take the fast train to London from here and it takes just half an hour to reach the city. I also pass through its gates almost everyday since I take the train to and from work. The best thing about the station is that its only 5 minutes' walk from the town center and less than 15 minutes away from my house.


Walking into town from the station, two rows of red-brick shops greet you. There are a variety of businesses lining the street, from Starbucks to travel agencies to restaurants to camera specialist shops.


My first impression when I arrived here was that this town might as well be called RED-ding. So red!



A short stroll and we are in the heart of the town, the High Street. Almost every town/city in England has a High Street, which is the main commercial and retail artery running through the town. Here you will find most of the clothing boutiques, bookstores, sports accesories, pharmacies, home furnishing stores, banks, recruitment agencies, supermarkets, street stalls and many more different outlets.



It is usually very bustling on weekends, but I was up early and there wasn't many people on the streets yet. There are usually buskers as well, singing their songs and trying to get people to buy their CDs. There is a particular group of Red Indians in full costumes and paint that have been playing their instruments every week and they seem to have become permanent fixture of the weekend activities. Sometimes you get preachers, anti-obesity movements, etc. And during Christmas, there is a band from the Salvation Army playing festive tunes with their trumpets, trombones and flutes.




What I like about Reading is that everything I need is within walking distance. That includes the shopping mall! Its called the The Oracle and is right smack in the middle of town. Takes me less than 10 minutes to get there on foot. The Oracle is a nice mall with the usual retail outlets and I can pretty much get everything I need here. But what I like about the place is that most of the restaurants and cafes are located along the river that divides the complex in two.



When the weather is fine, it is very enjoyable to do some people watching by the river bank while enjoying some coffee. Once in a while there will be people kayaking or rowing along the river and everyone will look at them. Free show, I guess. Hehe.



The riverside looks very nice at night too when the lights come on. Also, it is also the place where all the festive celebrations take place, such as Christmas and New Year fireworks, promotions and summer events. The curved mini-amphitheatre are got turned into a beach during the summer and a skating rink during winter.



This is one of my favourite restaurants in Reading. :) Mostly because its one of the few places I can get really spicy food and it's healthier than Mcds. And also because most of the time the waitresses look quite pretty, hehe. :P



This is Vue cinema where I catch the movies and the Starbucks where I sometimes get coffee. I love going to the cinema here because I can get tickets 5 minutes before the show and I'll have a seat. No kiasu idiots fully booking movies 3 days before! It is also on a free seating basis, so as long as I go in early enough I am always guaranteed a good seat. But the best reason for going to the cinemas here is that there is no censorship. I can actually follow the movie through till the end without being forced to read the lines and joining the dots between cut scenes. Such bliss I tell you.
So that's a brief snapshot of Reading. Its an enjoyable place to live and I find it very cosy. I can escape the noise, congestion and crowds in London and yet I'm close enough to be able to go to the city anytime I want. Kinna like living in Subang Jaya where I grew up. Maybe that's why I like it here.
By the way, its pronounced 'Red-ding'. :)







1 comment:

eg said...

Nice place, at least you don't need a car like here to go anywhere.