Thursday, 26 August 2010

Less Wet, More People

The crowds are descending with a vengeance today; the rain, less so.

I do have more photos to show you, but Blogger is playing silly beggars and not letting me upload them.

The photo above is the view from Caversham Bridge at about 2.30pm this afternoon; I was just walking from the bus stop back to our house having had a very pleasant morning in Marlow whil DC was enjoying himself at nursery. First stop on trip to Marlow was a coffee (for me) and tea + sausage sarnie (for hubby) and a read of the paper (him) and Period Living (me) while we waited for the solicitor's office to open. When it did, we shuffled on over and spent the next 40mins or so discussing the purchase of the house in Hinton St George and signing all the necessary documentation to make it ours. We found out later that we have finally exchanged contracts and will complete tomorrow - YAY!

Second stop was Starbucks and a couple of hours spent in the company of my very good friend Liz; we sipped, ate and chatted the time away.

After that it was time for me to have an amble round the shops. And guess who I spotted doing the very same? That bloke of the telly. You know the one. He was in Holby City and then won Strictly a couple of years back (not that I watch it.) Tom Chambers. And his wife. And his parents. I think they might have been following me because I first saw them in a 'stuff' shop at one end of the high street and the next time in a kitchen/cook shop at the other end. Celebrity stalkers, eh?!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Festival Watch 2010

So, it's Wednesday and there are still many, many hours til the Festival actually starts but the hordes have been descending all day long, albeit in dribs and drabs rather than huge numbers. And the rain has been falling in a steady, at times heavy, fashion. The nasty, mean, grumpy old woman side of me thinks it serves them right for turning up so darn early.

Our next door neighbour and some Baptist chums have set up their annual "free squash and religion" stall in his front garden; even that annoyed me as they didn't set it up til Thursday last year and I don't want the hordes to be encouraged to linger near my boundary any longer than is strictly necessary. Grump, grump, grump.

Here are a few photos of the hordes making their soggy way towards the site:

View from Caversham Bridge as DC and I headed home from Rhymetime this aftenoon; can you see the tow path?

Here's a close up. Trudge, trudge. Plip, plop.Here's the Green Bus, disgorging its passengers from one of the off-site campsites about five miles up the hill. Those girls may live to regret the hotpants and wellie boots combo.More tomorrow. Bet you can hardly wait!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

It's That Time of Year Again

When, for many people in the UK, thoughts turn to the fabulousness that is a Bank Holiday weekend. Ahh, the joys. An extra day off work to potter or to do exciting, meaningful, useful things.

But if you live in Reading, August Bank Holiday means one thing: it's time for the Reading Festival.

And, if you're not a festival-goer/fan, it means one other thing: how to best avoid the traffic, the mess, the crowds, the all-round chaos that the weekend can bring. Reading can become gridlocked, it really is a VERY bad time to be driving in/out or around the town, unless you know where you're going and can plan your journey carefully in terms of route and times. And the side of town we live on gets the absolute worst of it because we live literally within shouting distance of the venue; so we don't just get vehicular gridlock, we get pedestrian gridlock, right outside our front door.

That said, the people-watching is top-notch and second to none. We can cosy up in our living room and watch the world and his rucksack go by. So far, and it is only Tuesday, I've seen three ultra-keen festival goers arrive; clearly desparate to get themselves a good pitch.

This is what it looked like immediately outside our front door this morning: lots of lorries with deliveries for the site as well as gazillions of catering vans offering all manner of tasty treats from Chinese to Thai to Fish 'n' Chips to a lovely cup of coffee:
Step outside, turn left, walk about 100 yards and turn left again; stacked up:
but notice how it's only on one side of the road, the side heading to the festival site. You can just about make out the main stage for the festival at the very, very end of the road - it's the big white (actaully silver) structure in the centre.
And a little bit further along the road, here's the pedestrian entrance to the site.All of these photos were taken as DC and I ambled along to softplay at the leisure centre which is right in the thick of the Festival site. Think we might give it a miss for the rest of the week...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Green is the Colour

Even if, in some cases (namely the tomatoes), it shouldn't be. Or, hopefully, won't be for much longer.

Here are a few photos of some of the goodies hubby has harvested from his collection of pots on the deck.
Tomatoes (cherry and regular; brought in when mostly still green due to not-so-seasonal August weather!)Peppers; who knew you could grow these in a pot outside?

Cucumbers, chillis and runner beans.Well done, Mr Green Fingers.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Nothing to Fear, Nigella

I don't enjoy cooking. Hubby is charge of the kitchen here at Chaversham Towers.

I don't mind a bit of baking though and, oftentimes, I don't do too badly.

I'm a bit partial to a slab of Refrigerator Cake/Chocolate Tiffin, whatever you want to call it, so I thought it was high time I made some myself.
Heaven on a plate, my eye.

Looks like I just opened a couple of cans of Pedigree Chum and flattened them onto a baking tray.
Doesn't taste too bad though.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Bill's, The Sequel

Yesterday I made a return visit to Bill's, this time accompanied by DC to check out its child-friendliness. Ticks all round - super-friendly staff who picked the easiest table for me to get to with the pram and then set about rearranging furniture and fetching a highchair (makes a nice change not to have to lug one across a crowded restaurant myself.) They were also very good about the fact that DC was in a less-than-happy mood (although he still managed to turn on the charm where necessary) and instead of eating his lunch like a well-brought up little chap, decided to play the urchin and pull half-eaten penne and meatballs out of his mouth and deposit them on the floor, along with the lid of his tupperware pot and two forks. Many times. It was trying, to say the least. In between pandering to Little Lord Fauntleroy's every whim, I did manage to enjoy a mocha and an absolutely DELICIOUS chocolate brownie. And I took some more photos.
Note to self: next time we go, skip the main course and go straight to dessert. Back left = pavlova; centre = cheesecake; back right = chocolate delice. I'll have one of each, please.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


A while back I was walking through ye olde Readinge towne and noticed that some work was going on in a gorgeous, but little used, Georgian building beside the church. Upon closer inspection it became apparent that Reading was on the cusp of getting a new eating/shopping establishment, namely Bill's Produce Store.

I have to say I was more than a little bit excited and pleased about this, having read about/seen photos of Bill's Lewes branch on Gigibird's blog and thought how lovely it looks. I always assumed it was a one-of-a-kind sort of place so I was super happy to find that Reading was getting what will be only the third 'Bill' in the entire country.

Yesterday was opening day for Bill the Third and today, being one of the two days a week that I am DC-free, I met a friend in town and we proceeded to sample Bill's delights - I had a delicious eggs benedict and my friend V sampled the ricotta and roasted veg toasted foccacia plus a hot chocolate, although she deemed the latter to be not chocolately enough.

The building has been converted so well and it is exactly my kind of place inside; I'm afraid I didn't take any external photos this time, nor actually that many iside, but these should give you an idea of what it's like.

So, next time you are in Reading and in need of sustenance or a drink (they serve alcoholic beverages too if you need a 'pick me up'), why not give Bill a try?

Monday, 2 August 2010

On Yer Bike

Yesterday Family W (and Granny) took a little jaunt to one of our favourite parts of London: Marylebone High Street, where Cath and Emma compete with Divertimenti, White Company, Fish Works, Le Pain Quotidien and various other fine establishments to get us to spend, spend, spend.

When we arrived we made haste for the Cath Kidston shop only to find that it didn't open until 11am (it was about 10.50am when we got there), thus we were forced to go for a coffee (hard life, eh?!) On the way to the cafe hubby spotted some of Boris's new bikes and couldn't resist hopping on for the photo opportunity: Luckily by the time we'd finished our drinks Cath had flung open her doors so we had a little look round. I rather fell for a pack-a-mac type raincoat (like this one but in the dark green with white spots pattern that Cath does so well)but the M/L size was a little snug and they didn't have a larger one. Ho hum. Maybe by Xmas I'll be able to get into the M/L size ** (I dropped hints that the mac would make a great gift, alongside the 2011 diary, which is already out...)

We then took a detour to a lovely park with a great playground - a little oasis just behind the hustle and bustle of the High Street - so DC could have a run around and, of course, a little bit of swing-time.
After all that fun in the park, it was back to the shops. Emma Bridgewater was kind enough to be having a sale, so we bought a couple of mugs from her. Then it was time to head off for some lunch as DC had fallen asleep; we had some very good food in EAT and then made haste for Starbucks where we could relax and read the Sunday papers/current book while DC slept on. I enjoyed my favourite drink of the moment, peppermint mocha, accompanied by my favourite cake of the moment, Rocky Road. Then DC awoke from his slumber and it was time for us to cater to his every whim once more. We decided that it was time for a little toddle (accompanied by Mario the Monkey), and off we set for a little more shoppy time before heading home. A very enjoyable day all round.** Just to let you know that the weightloss is going well - I've lost 2st 10lbs so far. The magazine pile has also shrunk considerably. Did you know there is quite a good trade to be done in secondhand magazines on eBay?!