I did mean to write a post about my first impressions of Bracknell when I arrived, but I have been so depressed since stepping foot into Great Holland’s that I haven’t been able to broach my emotions on the subject.
I am now ready.
Occasionally in my life, I have dreamt of getting arrested, so I’m viewing this as a stint in an open prison – I’m doing time.
My initial sentence of 6 months is nearly up, though I fear it may be extended due to bad behaviour.
One of the first aspects about Bracknell life that I noticed was that there are absolutely no attractive women in the street. One thing I miss hugely in my Neanderthal way about Reading are all the beautiful women that I walk past, especially those from other countries, especially those with a natural suntan.
In fact, I don’t walk past many people, let alone attractive women. In the time I have spent there, I recall seeing one attractive woman in my neighbourhood.
There are far many more dogs than hotties.
I mean, the “woof woof” variety. Everyone seems to have a dog, and most of them are large dogs. Many of them look like the type of dogs that want to bite and often are not on a lead.
One thing that has not surprised me is the amount of empty drugs bags on the floor. I also regularly smell cannabis, though not so much over the last month – I guess the locals spent their money on Christmas rather than cannabis.
I have not walked past any street dealers yet. Nor prostitutes – thankfully.
Great Holland’s might be a council estate, and might have a certain reputation but many people work. I describe it to those in Hull as like Orchard Park but everyone votes Tory and has a job.
Some pictures above of Orchard Park, in Hull. Bracknell is almost beautiful in comparison.
The local shops are actually OK once you walk past the exceptionally scary-looking local pub. Within a few minutes walk, I have a proper fish and chip shop – well, it ain’t up to Hull standards, you cannot get patties or chip spice, and the haddock is distinctly average, but it is a fish and chip shop nonetheless. Unlike in Reading where fish and chips is served in chicken shops.
There is a butchers that I never use, feel bad for not using and never get around to using. And a pharmacist. Oh and a Londis style shop which does sausage and bacon sandwiches in the morning for about half the price that I used to pay at Reading station.
Apart from that there is nothing between my house and the town centre, a good 30-40 minutes walk away. Oh except a MacDonalds. And a half-decent pup that does…wait for it…craft beers! I went there once to watch the football, hipster-style.
Green space is plentiful. There are lots of parks. This I did not expect. However, there are also lots of children. Visiting the local shop in the morning is similar to hell. Real prisoners are lucky. 15 minutes away there is some really nice countryside, and I have been advised to give South Park Hill a visit – apparently it has great roast dinners and is a local cultural centre.
Who knew Bracknell had a cultural centre? For the rest of it is a total creative back-water. There is nothing for me here – which I guess works because I am here to study lots and get my portfolio sorted out so I can go live somewhere with a soul.
It isn’t the most conveniently located location either – having been used to being 25 minutes on a train from London, I am now an hour or so and 267 stops away.
On top of that I also feel more isolated. There is no popping into town to pick up some bits, or meet someone for a quick beer. Going to Reading is an hour long trip. Roast dinner reviews are more difficult too, often requiring two trains.
Cycle paths are everywhere and I have only had one pavement cyclist encounter – in Reading I would have 10 encounters each morning. Walking and cycling here are both safe. There are also conveniently located trampolines.
I loved Reading. I semi-loathe Bracknell. But not as much as I thought I would.