"The cafe diaries of Iris B. - nomad by birth :)" Top 5 Page for this destination Reading Travelogue by iris2002

Reading Travel Guide: 225 reviews and 391 photos

January 2006

"Reading-11:40am" - 3-1-06

Walking through Broadstreet today, flanked by window upon window of sales-signage, I felt as if the whole world had decided to sell out. I looked up and for the first time - after living here a couple of months now - noticed some remarkable architecture above the retail outlets. So I slowed my pace and got a few strange looks, walking in the middle of the street, hands crossed in my back, gazing up with a vacant smile.

Further down at the crossroads I took a break and stepped into Costa's Cafe, a windowseat all to myself, watching the mainly dark clothed mass of passers by making their way to everything that's 20-50% off. Sale, Sale, Sale - all with that urgent look burnt in their faces. Happy New Year!

From the outside in the Cafe must look just like a zoo: strange animals behind glass on exhibition. I wondered for a second what the ones looking in might make of me? Watching a woman, tiny smile on her face, whilst scribbling in a notebook and once in a while sipping on her hot-chocolate.
I felt grateful sitting there, humbe for what I have become, even though times had been rough the past few months. At least I had not "sold out", allthough life becomes harder dancing to your own drum. Thank God I am not caught up in all that materialistic frenzy. Two people had just bumped into each other, and were now shouting at each other with angry faces.
I got up to get a re-fill. After sitting down again, whilst tapping my biro on my notebook in hope for inspiration, I glanced at the neighbouring table and found myself eye-to-eye with a stranger, observing me. His dark, noble looks not from this country, the cigaret in his hand painting a slim line of smoke. I blushed and turned back, feeling detected.

Taking a big gulp of my hot-chocolate the marshmallows had by now formed a sickeningly sweet surface layer. I put on my parka and headed back along "Sales Street". With only ?4 in my pocket I still seemed to be the happiest face in the crowd.

Turning into a small alley way that led to a path crossing an old graveyard with church - bang smack in the middle of the modern city - I found myself in an oasis of tranquility - built in 1551.
A most unusual spot, once one set foot on the tiled path the outside world, noise and hectic seemed to vanish. What was left ws a tiled, meandering walkway under huge trees - chestnuts I think - the lawn to both sides strawn with gravestones so old and weathered, most of the inscriptions eroded. Some had toppled over, broken, seemingly tired of standing straight.
Two squirrls played around a tree trunk, making pedestrians smile. It was like in a twilight zone.
As soon as I headed out on the main street again all my senses were assaulted; dirt, noise and busy cars waiting for the chance, for me to step off that curb and loose my footing: "Pedestrain - 100 points" .... Better luck next time, folks.

  • Page Written Apr 17, 2006
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