A fact very few visitors of Reading & Berkshire & the UK in total are aware off, is ... that along the Rivers and in damp towns (pretty much ALL of the UK) ... there is a lethal threat looming....
The "Binge-Moskito" (Mosquitos-promillus-ex)
This small insect has the nasty habit of attacking it's prey (unaware drinkers) when they least expect it >namely 5 minutes before pub closing time > so to ensure the highest percentage of alcohol in the blood of the victim, on which they feed....sucking out the promills .... leaving the prey fatally sober!!!!!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
There is an antitode called "Bud-light" --- but stocks have dwindled after the recent increase of attacks so you have to be quick!!!! (Or bribe the barmen)
Some of the policies and remarks made by Reading's local authority have to be seen and heard to be believed. The British press are often accused of making things up to sell newspapers, but they could have a field day on RBC by telling the truth.
Entertainer Chris Tarrant once made a few light-hearted derogatory remarks about Reading to a phone-in listener on his radio programme. RBC got very uptight and offended about this and demanded to know if he'd ever been to Reading, or was just relaying popular predjudices. You would think senior figures at RBC would have sufficient general knowledge (and, hello, local pride) to know which celebrities are from Reading.
Chris Tarrant is from Reading. So if a famous person from Reading knocks the place, I think the council ought to have a meeting with them to discuss and act upon their concerns and criticism. Their arrogant condemnation of anyone who dares to criticise their town resembles the behaviour of dictators and McCarthyism, where anyone who criticised the USA was dismissed as 'un-American', 'Communist', 'cranky', etc..
RBC reckons to be 'green', employs 'cycling coordinators' (paid for by tax levied on the public) and concerned about people who can't afford to buy a house in Reading, yet issues FREE permits for people who live in inner-city areas to park up to two cars per household in streets not designed for cars and intended for people who were too poor to afford cars! ...This means people who come into Reading to shop (i.e. buy things off local businesses), but can get done in an hour, cannot find any short-term parking in the streets, so have to pay for carparks. Of course, they drive somewhere else where they can park for free!
Realising they were making life difficult for shoppers from outside the borough, because they'd given all the parking space in town-centre streets to residents, RBC 'sold out' and built the Oracle shoppping centre, with huge multi-storey carparks to encourage motorists to shop in Reading!
On February 24th and March 3rd, 2007, there was an abandoned, vandalised, 'gutted' Ford Fiesta car by the centre of the A3290/A4 roundabout as you go into the borough of Reading.
...THIS IS LITERALLY THE FIRST CLOSE-UP SIGHT OF A BUILT-UP AREA IN BRITAIN THAT AN OVERSEAS VISITOR ON THE RAILAIR COACH WILL SEE AFTER LEAVING HEATHROW AIRPORT!
Reading buses have a new system so that buses aren't delayed by drivers having to give change. They now insist on Exact Fare Only. ...This is scrolled across the destination board on the front of the bus, but if you're an infrequent bus traveller, or arriving in Reading from another part of the country, you'll be too busy concentrating on getting the right bus to concentrate on incidental information.
A single ticket on Reading Buses greater Reading services costs £1.50 (autumn, 2006), BUT IF YOU'VE ONLY GOT A £20 NOTE, THEN IT'LL COST £20!!! ...A taxi from central Reading to suburban Reading is £7 or £8, which I suspect many changeless people will choose!
...Regular bus passengers can buy weekly passes & season tickets, or they'll at least ensure they have the exact fare. It's the kind of visitors & occasional local users, who I thought council-owned Reading Buses wanted to encourage onto the buses, who'll be caught out & will in future, go by car or taxi.
...Brilliant own-goal, Reading Buses! ...And they wonder why bus use is declining!
When visiting Reading, just be cautious when walking in the Oxford Road area as its known to be quite dangerous, especially at night times.
There is really not much to see down there, so if I can advise you, just totally avoid it, its kinda nasty... or maybe its me just being a snob... hehehe
Be careful near water, the canals aren't very deep but you could still drown if not careful.
Life jackets are provided on all narrowboat holidays.
Please use them if you don't feel safe.
I can't swim, but because I was sensible, nothing happened.
It is better if there are about four people or more on your boat as the others can help out with the locks. But then you do come across other people along the way who are very helpful.
Helen and I struggled on one on the way back. They were very stiff and there was nobody about to help us. We managed eventually, but eventually got the hang of it.
It was quite enjoyable going through the locks, we looked forward to going through each one.
Unless you plan on visiting the Reading Rock festival, you are well advised to steer well clear of Reading during the August Bank Holiday Weekend and the preceding days. At this time, the roads around Reading become hugely congested (traffic jams lasting hours) and hotels fill up and become very expensive. If of course you are planning on attending the Reading Rock Festival, you will probably wish to ignore this advice!
The last witches that were burned in Reading - at Cemetery Junction in the 17th Century - put a curse on everyone who lives in Reading for more than 1 year "that they must remain and will never be able to leave again".
It could be the explanation why Reading is one of the fastest growing urban areas in England.
So if you really have to come here, don't stay too long, or you'll be here forever! ;)
I felt very safe walking around the town. Since this is a college town, there are lots of teenagers loitering around everywhere. So sometimes you do get the typical problems with teenagers. I had some teenage girls trying to challenge me to try their cigarettes.
Some of the wealthiest people in the UK live in and around Reading. There are a lot of very poor people too, including a fair number of refugees. Where you have extremes, trouble is likely. Some outlying parts, notably Whitley Wood, are distinctly iffy after dark, but there's no pressing reason to visit them. Oxford Road can feel threatening at night and some shady people are about, but that shouldn't put you off visiting the pubs and ethnic restaurants down there.
Lots of drunks and beggars hang about the railway station. Sometimes they are abusive but they are more a nuisance than a threat.
Late evenings on Fridays and Saturdays attract some bositerous characters into the centre. Just keep streetwise.
The buses, once second to none, are not terribly reliable.
Be careful when approaching a bridge. We didn't do so bad, just the once we bumped the boat. Not bad for our first attempt eh?
Watch to see if there are any other boats approaching as the canals are quite narrow and the bridges sometimes are only large enough for one boat.
Be careful when approaching locks. Luckily this lock fit two boats in at a time. It was quite hard to keep the boat still if you were in the lock by yourself.
Take your time, the gates will only open if the water level is right. I'd recommend opening the gates by resting your bottom on the levers then slowly moving them with your bum.
Reading is low-lying and prone to flooding in winter. This was the scene close to my home in early January, 2003