Enjoying Reading and Old Friends

Reading, U.K. – It’s currently Friday morning and I’m compressing several days into this post. As you may remember, I left Edinburgh Wednesday morning, headed by train back to London. Unlike last Sunday’s trip up from York, the train was fairly empty. From King’s Cross station  in London I caught a “black cab” (mine was actually painted pink and driven by a woman – bravo, a first for me) over to Paddington Station, then I rode west by rail to Reading. It’s amazing to think it’s been 10 years since I lived in Reading. 

That night and the next day I had various meals with current and former work colleagues, sampled some good beers, and discovered a few new pubs. I had lunch yesterday at a quintessential English eatery: Sweeny & Todd’s Pie House. 

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The macabre name notwithstanding, the several dozen traditional meat pies on offer left me spoilt for choice. I settled for Chicken, Broccoli, and Stilton, and was not disappointed. No barber chair to be seen.

Last night was the World Cup soccer match between England and Belgium and pubs were braced for large crowds. English lost 1-0 but the weird thing was the match was of no real consequence to the overall Cup competition – both teams “rested” their best players. I watched from my Novotel room, over the Kindle edition of C.J. Sansom’s latest Tudor-era thriller.

It’s a heat wave in the U.K., with unusual temps into the 80’s. Everyone’s enjoying the sun but it’s hot and there are consequences. For example, I read that the rails in the train system get too hot (?) and so trains occasionally have to run at slower speeds. 

I hope that won’t affect my train today. This afternoon I’ll be taking one down to Poole, on the south coast near Bournemouth. I’ll stay the night, then be off to TankFest in the morning Saturday. 

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Check out TankMuseum.org for more information. I’ll surely have some interesting reportage and photos Sunday. Cheers.

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