Railway porn and Forbury Gardens

First off, you will notice that there is no comma between ‘railway’ and ‘porn’ in the post title… this is not a grammatical error and is intentional. Railway porn. If you’re not a geeky type, then you mayn’t appreciate this as much as you may have been hoping. I could try and doll it up by saying things such as “as his long train slid into her dark damp tunnel…” etc…. however, for that kind of smut, you’d be best referred to my previous blog post; “I almost got sucked off whilst on the tube” 😛

So, now that we’ve got the ‘vulgarities’ out of the way, I shall explain myself further!

This morning, I went to Reading to resit my Fundamentals of Business Economics exam (CBA/CIMA, C4), and so had to use a few different trains to get there (as it is somewhat out of the way). Incidentally, I passed my exam (hurrah!) – thought I’d mention that now, as I don’t think there’ll be an appropriate place to slip it in later on!

For anyone who is not yet aware, I am a northern lad with a (weird) fascination of geeky things such as transport. I was therefore overjoyed to find that when I was making my connection from Basingstoke to Reading that it would be on a First Great Western train and that it would only have two carriages! Back home (Manchester), First Trains provide the majority of our suburban services, and there’s none of this 12 coach malarkey that exists down London way.

That said, even I was surprised when the engine fired up and it transpired that the train was actually a diesel engine! The roar as we came out of the station was SO satisfying! After a year or so of electric trains, this truly was a breath of fresh(ish!) air!

Interior of the First Great Western train
Interior of the First Great Western train

The line between Basingstoke and Reading is relatively short – only 4 stops – with Reading West being less than a mile from Reading station itself. However it was a charming little line, and perhaps one of my favourites. It really was like having a little piece of the North randomly (and unexpectedly) placed in the South East of England!

Along the route, I came across wild deer, sheep, cattle, endless fields of bright yellow rapeseed,  loads of lovely little villages and some gorgeous churches. There were pylons a plenty (I am fascinated by them for some reason… not that many in central London of course!!); and we even went over a level crossing (now these I am OBSESSED with!!). The guard actually walked through the train and performed a ticket check.

I was rather sad that the entire trip from end to end only took twenty minutes!

When I got to Reading, I had an hour to kill before my exam, so I had a little wander around Reading itself and stumbled across Forbury Gardens. I have to state right now, that this has to be one of my favourite places in the whole of the South East (that I have seen thus far obviously!)… especially when seen first thing in the morning; the gardens are absolutely gorgeous!

Below are some of the pictures that I took whilst there. Hopefully uploading them to my blog will preserve some of the amazing colours (on the flower pictures especially) that my camera was able to capture (on my PC they look stunning!) – if you click on the picture, you can see the full version of it. I think that my picture of the bluebells has come out the best; what do you think?

I must say that I am really pleased that I happened to chance upon Forbury Gardens as, amongst many other reasons, the newly discovered  Maiwand Lion is now my favourite sculpture!

Hurrah!

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The Maiwand Lion: This monument commemorates the names and records the valour and devotion of XI (11) officers and CCCXVIII (318) non-commissioned officers and men of the LXVI (66th) Berkshire Regiment who gave their lives for their country at Girishk Maiwand and Kandahar during the Afghan Campaign MDCCCLXXIX (1878) - MDCCCLXXX (1880) History does not afford any grander or finer instance of gallentry and devotion to Queen and country than that displayed by the LXVI Regiment at the Battle of Maiwand on the XXVII (27th) July MDCCCLXXX (1880) Despatch of General Primrose
The Maiwand Lion: This monument commemorates the names and records the valour and devotion of XI (11) officers and CCCXVIII (318) non-commissioned officers and men of the LXVI (66th) Berkshire Regiment who gave their lives for their country at Girishk Maiwand and Kandahar during the Afghan Campaign MDCCCLXXIX (1878) - MDCCCLXXX (1880) History does not afford any grander or finer instance of gallentry and devotion to Queen and country than that displayed by the LXVI Regiment at the Battle of Maiwand on the XXVII (27th) July MDCCCLXXX (1880) Despatch of General Primrose

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The arch and ruins behind are some of the only bits of Reading Abbey left in existance
The arch & ruins behind are some of the only bits of Reading Abbey still left standing (I'd love to visit the museum to find out more...!)

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LILAC! Blimey, I've not seen lilac in about 15 years (after leaving the house where I first lived!)
LILAC! Blimey, I've not seen lilac in about 15 years (since leaving the house where I first lived as a child!)
A mulberry bush (from Victorian times)
A mulberry bush (from Victorian times)

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The former entrance to Reading Abbey also remains standing
The former entrance to Reading Abbey also remains standing
Map of Forbury Gardens
Map of Forbury Gardens

About Gari

Thirty-Two year old northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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