Observations On Bracknell

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.

But please, get me out of here.

Reading vs Bracknell vs London

During March’s monthly no computer night, and I actually ended up laying down and allowing myself time to do nothing but think, which is quite unusual for me.

The two important items on my thought-agenda recently have been what next step to take in my career, and where to live next.

Firstly I would like to progress my career.  At some point I want to be doing web development, but I would have to start way down the pecking order on a lower wage.  I am not yet developed enough to be doing this.  I am happy in my current job, but it doesn’t challenge me.  I really like the people I work with and for, and enjoy my days.  And can listen to my music – massive bonus.  But as I said, it doesn’t even vaguely stretch my capabilities, and I am just floating along.  And the lack of air conditioning really fucks me off.

Secondly, our house contract ends in August and we are not renewing it.  So I need somewhere to live.

Slightly less importantly, I need to find a way to spend more time studying than I do at the moment, so I can bring about my career change and get closer to the goal of being able to work from Ibiza/Hull or wherever I fancied.

One possibility is moving to Bracknell.  I could walk to work, saving myself over 10 hours a week that I could invest in studying.  But then I would be trapped in Bracknell on a weekend – only able to visit Reading within the confines of the South West Trains train timetable.

The easiest option would be a find a room in Reading town centre.  That would not be too difficult.

Actually, the easiest option, were it on offer would have been to stay in my house.  And knowing me, I would have taken that option by default.

But if I am going to have to move house, then why not move to London?

These are the reasons why not:

Bloody expensive
My friends
My DJ residency
Weather Forecasting page
Roast Dinners Around Reading

These are the reasons why I should:

I am bored of Reading
London is exciting
I can earn more money
I can go to all kinds of exciting events
Fun is endless
More free things to do
More culture
Wider range of restaurants
Expanded career options
New interesting people to meet
Slightly easier, and also cheaper to get to Hull
Not having to get an 8am train back to Reading after a night’s clubbing
I have friends in London too
My sister is moving to London
I can get to airports slightly easier.

The list of potential reasons is not quite infinite but I could go on.  Why haven’t I already moved there?

I can still visit my friends in Reading.  Until I get barred from the Purple Turtle, or have burnt the place down, I intend to carry on with my DJ residency even if it means a trip back to Reading.  I have a couple of kind offers of places to stay and it would be an excellent excuse for a weekend in Reading to see those of my friends that still live there, of course including my best friend but I have numerous close friends in Reading.

Also I can just do Roast Dinners in London instead.  And I could even start my Tapas Or Crapas blog (there are not enough tapas places in Reading to make it interesting!).  Plus there is no reason I would have to stop doing my weather forecasting page – maybe I would change it to Reading & London, or maybe I would keep it unique.

So there it is.  My decision is made.  I am moving to Bracknell.

Only joking.  I am moving to London.

But wait a minute, I hear you say.  Haven’t I said on several occasions over the last 10 years that I was moving to London?

Indeed I have.  But it has been 5 weeks since I made my decision and I have only become more convinced that it is the right path for me.  The simplest of things – a 6 hour Wolf & Lamb DJ set the other Sunday at a pub in Angel.  I cannot get that in Reading.  Plus all the hotties.

The first job is to find a job.  I don’t mind how long it takes.  It has to be the right job.  Apart from the lack of air conditioning, there is nothing pushing me out of Easynet.

Then I will work out where to live.  Ideally I will find somewhere within 40 minutes travel to work.  Even better if it was within walking distance (walking distance for me is less than an hour).

And if I don’t find a job by time my house contract runs out then I will just find a short-term let in Reading somewhere.  No point in moving to say, Peckham, and then getting a job in north London.

I have a plan and it is in motion.  The only thing that bothers me is the cost – I’ll need a new suit, plus interview shirts, plus the money for train tickets for interviews – it is going to be costly and there is no money in my budget for it.  I shall have to look at it as investment.

Bring on the leaving party/leaving roast.  Fuck it, leaving pie, leaving party, leaving after-party and leaving Sunday roast all in one session.