At the end of last month we went for our third date of the year:
L and I (and the boys) used to live in Caversham. It was where my Hotel 96 was located. I haven't been to Caversham in nearly a year. It was painful leaving. I loved it there but O was bullied so badly at school and the house was megabucks to keep up, so we moved!
Coming back to Caversham it still feels the same. Reading as a whole is a pretty crap place. If you can see past the horrid new buildings and the tons upon tons of pikeys then you will find the roots of a beautiful old town hidden amongst the weeds of modern day 'society'
I lived in Reading for 12 years and found all the lovely spots and secretly cool places to go and treasured them, but my heart always lead me to Caversham, a little suburb of Reading which can be found over the river Thames. Caversham is essentially a little village. It is a 'town' as it is part of Reading but it isn't. If you live there you know you have a home in a village. There is one main street running through Caversham which splits off at the end and either takes you up a hill to the next suburb of Emmer Green, or out and along towards Henley-On-Thames.
The river is Caversham's winning feature. There are abundant gardens, fields, parks and places along both sides of the river, boat houses with little boats you can hire for an hour or so at a time for not many pounds. There are ducks, swans, moorhens, weeping willows and flowers everywhere..it is lovely.
Caversham hosts many a cool charity shop, filled with wonderous retro things, a cafe 'The Caversham Cafe' run by Ian, who is a lovely, lovely man and who will make you a hangover breakfast and laugh at you (a lot) when you are a silly early to mid-twenty something and drank too much the night before, he'll make you a tea and ginger biscuit when you are preggo and sick'n'tired out and he'll make you a piece of cake and a smile if you're anyone else...I LOVE that place and him. It's not glam but it's salt of the earth.
Oops, anyway, there is also a real ale festival, a jazz festival, a circus, Reading beer festival and Reading festival..it's a pretty busy sort of a place. There is also an outdoor cinema by the river and a fairly permanent ice cream van that seems to only go home on Christmas day.
When L and I first met we used to walk to Caversham Court, the site of an old mansion which is placed right on the water's edge as you drive out of Caversham towards Caversham Heights. We'd spend hours there, just laying by the river and talking and being happy, so it seemed only right to go back with the boys and have a nice date there, now we are too busy to lay about by rivers and suchlike.
I am aware that about a year ago Caversham Court Gardens won a large amount of money from the lottery fund people and have used it to modernise and clean the place up. They have done a wonderful job. There is now a little stone coffee house with cute little tables out front,
To me, I was most excited about taking Baby F out to have his first proper un-leashed run around in a grassy riverside location..and boy, did he run. He took two bottles of Ribena that we bought for our picnic and he ran around like mad, waving these bottles and shouting at the swans and laughing at daffodils..it was so sweet.
He is only just bigger than daffodils now..how lovely
It was not so sweet when he took his Ribena's over to an older couple who were laying semi-naked by the water having a cuddle, and clonked them..that wasn't so sweet..! He is so fast on his feet I can barely catch up with him and you only have to turn your head for a split second and he is off!
Anyway, it was a beautiful day. L was ill with the cold I now have (humph) and even he enjoyed it in the end. There isn't much more to say about it as a place. It is lovely, if you are going to Reading and it is a nice day then definitely detour. I'd avoid it around the festival time as it is definitely its best without tons of people there. Same can be said about Caversham itself. NEVER visit at the end of August - horrid.
Mostly it cheered me up, I always feel happier about life when I am by the water and in the sunshine.