Snapshots of Life in Reading

The Sun rose here today at 5:30 and will set today at 8:30 – a pretty long day for April.
The Royal Mail Service delivers the post twice a day, the Post Office still sells stamps you have to lick, and I was startled today when the postal clerk began talking me up, trying to sell me auto insurance (yes, the Post Office sells that, too).
Ordering a sandwich? Would you like that on a baguette (the mini-French bread), on a Bap (recognized as an “English muffin” in the US), or on sliced bread?
I drop in to the local “news agent” pretty often – the mom-and-pop convenience store – and when there I marvel at the 22 different kinds of crisps (that’s “potato chips” to you Yanks) he features. They come in multiple shapes and flavors but my favorite has to be: Tomato Ketchup. Others include the usual combinations of cheese, onion, salt, and vinegar but there are also some odd ones like prawn, caramel, and paprika.
They opened a new Starbucks in the city center pedestrian-only zone. It seems as if it took only about 48-hours after work on the retail space commenced before the place opened. The intersection at which it stands now has fancy coffee shops on 3 out of 4 corners and, yes, the place has been packed.
My favorite new lunch restaurant: Picnic. This place offers two different signature salads each week. They consist of a bed of couscous and fresh greens (none of your iceberg lettuce, either) and then additional ingredients. Last week, your choice of those was either halved, roasted red peppers, filled with feta cheese and olives, or fresh avocados with cheese shavings and pine nuts. The salard is finished with a light, homemade dressing. This is packaged in a very nifty little box for take-away and costs only 3.50!

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