2005-11-01: Life abstract
October 2005 - Sometime at the end..
This is written mostly long after the fact, so instead of a nice ordering of events, I've just grouped them into categories.
1. The Move.
Well, last email showed the desperation that occurred at having lost all of my main possessions (except the wife, laptop and passport, in that order) just before the major move from Reading to Swindon. Well, after calling up places and cancelling cards, I went to sleep, still pissed off with myself. The next morning I moved money into Edyta's account and had to go lodge a policy claim for the lost wallet. For this I needed a police report. While out at the station I figured I'd get some money out of Edyta's account and so took her card and PIN. Down the street to the ATM I forgot the PIN. So I went to the library to cancel that card, then I went to the Police Customer Booth (they don't have a station in Swindon, just lots of little booths with an officer behind a thick piece of glass) and filled in the report. I grabbed a new phone card so that I could call mum and sort out all of the money transfer that I was going to need. Back at Swindon home I had to face an angry Edyta who had had to rechange everything that was packed to make it moveable by train. In the morning I'd called some car rental places to see what was available. Edyta would have to drive as they only rent to the card holder. However while my card appears to have been a proper VISA, Edyta's was a Visa Electron which isn't accepted in place of VISA. Hence we had to take the trains (£30 a head one way on Saturday). We lugged the stuff back to the train-station, allowing me to repeat my very much _loved_ task of moving things around by hand (the very reason I was going to hire a car anyway). By the time we made it to the train station I'm carrying all but one bag. At Reading we got a taxi to the place and waited for the agent to turn up. The next day we returned to Swindow with empty bags, hid and threw out what we didn't want anymore and carried the rest in the other two bags. At least it was only £30 for the pair of us on a Sunday to travel. However the train was packed as it was the end of term break.
2. The Flat
Our backyard at Reading
Bath Road over the hedge
The flat is a dive. Swindon was tiny and had problems but at least it was clean and presentable. This flat was in the middle of being repainted and reeked of trapped fumes. The shower didn't have a shower head. There was no hot water. The taps leaked (and still do, over a litre an hour). The previous tenant policy enquiry and TV license enquiry forms were lying around. The bed looks like it survived the depression but didn't quite make it out of the war. I'm actually lucky that Edyta tends to force me onto the edge of the bed, it is the only spot that isn't measured in geological terms for lumpiness and where the springs haven't forced their way to the top of the mattress tectonic plate. The place is much larger than Swindon. However it is on a main road, so all we get is the sound of trucks all day and night.
Edyta did find a set of shower heads a couple of days into the place. Before then I'd been sticking my thumb over the end of the shower hose. The hot water was turned on but only ever gives us luke warm at best so Edyta is forced to have a shower. We left the pile of mouldy plates at the back of the cupboard and resolved to not need to clean up too much after ourselves.
3. The Area
The local mega-market
We are in the area of Reading known as "oh, why did you want to live there?". On the first Sunday we walked a mile or so to the nearest grocery store (a supermarket chain ASDA) only to find it closed ten minutes before we turned up. We walked down another road to find a nasty Indian run convienience store. We loaded up on some over priced, under sized food stuffs (and as it later turned out a packet of ham two weeks past its use-by-date). The previous night we had eaten out at the Oracle, a shopping centre over one of the Reading drains that has the feel of Melbourne about the place. The restaraunt was Old Orleans, a chain store of greasy food and table mats you can draw on, decorated with a bizarre Orleans / New Orleans decore. Edyta loved it. With the Oracle we do have a movie cinema nearby and may be able to afford it at some time.
There is also the non-stop explosions of fireworks. Every night you start of thinking a car is back firing, and then maybe some gangs are fighting it out with real weapons and then finally realizing that there is a never ending stream of colourful explosions. Not that we see the explosions, we just hear them, often late into the night.
4. The Transport
Living on the main road is good because it puts me close to a bus. Now instead of leaving for work at 6:45 I can stand out the front from 7:05 to 7:15 wondering if a bus will come. Not a huge amount of extra sleep for moving a lot closer. I have changed to later and later with success though, now I get up at 6:30 and catch a 7:20 (or 7:35 as it often comes). Buses really suck. There is no limit to the amount of ways that I can describe the bus as the lowest form of public transport. I'm sure rickshaws can moved faster and more reliably. And if they go past your stop you can hit the driver on the back of the head, while an English bus driver is encased behind some plas-steel and you have to say thankyou as you get off the bus. Between the bus and train I'm out £25 a week, so that is at least cheaper than £93 a week (but then factor in the extra £550 we are now paying for unoccupied Swindon). The bus coming home is worse, the first one after my train gets in is 6:20, but that is often very late, so I walk to another stop to fill in the time, and then have to wait for the late bus. Sometimes it is easier to wait for the next late bus. Sometimes I just get on the first bus coming, however I was once taken for a ride out into an area that was well away from where I wanted and very dark so I really jump on a bus with a number I'm unsure of now. I still have no bike to ride from Twyford to work. And it is very dark now before work finishes. The road looks quite scary to walk down.
5. The Shopping
There are plenty of new second hand stores for Edyta to explore while I'm at work. This has greatly expanded our collection of childrens books, dolls and toys. Everything else is still out of the price range as the money earnt is enough to survive to the next month (while paying two rents, after that it will be easy to go longer places).
One weekend we went to Wokingham on a Sunday. It was closed. We came back to Reading well after lunch and went to eat at an Irish pub near the station. They told me they weren't doing food and nothing else. So we wandered around to find a place with a simple greasy, cheap fare for Edyta. We entered a restaurant that involved partly microwaving some food and allowing people to smoke inside of it still.