8 Things I’ll Miss About Reading Town

Now that I’ve started winding down from university, and namely living around universities, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll most miss about that atmosphere. Potentially the first in a series.


A photo from the main Wantage building across the second quad to the second set of room where we stayed as first years.

  1. Walking to class…

From both my first-and-second-year and third year accommodation, it was a half an hour of walking to classes, morning and afternoon. Although both my accommodations were based outside of the campus, they were in the perfect places for a daily walk in. Through the sports fields in one direction and through the outside lakes/wooded areas the other side.

2. …Then walking across campus to other classes.

Many new students might be surprised by my fervour at the idea of having five minutes to cross from one end of campus (philosophy classrooms) to the other (psychology building), but an invigorating walk is great for the brain and mind. And then there’s the walking through the gardens and the lakeside walk and seeing all the student buildings that I wouldn’t normally go near. Reading University campus is a darling in the midst of the frumpier campus and city universities.

  1. Wantage Formals

Apart from the food and the Agrics* setting off fire alarms and making us lose our deposits, I loved the prestige of living at Wantage Hall. And with that came the formal meals. Once a term, we put on our finest, traipsed over to our dining hall (called the Harry Potter hall, to my chagrin, because it really doesn’t look that much like the Great Hall) with a bottle in hand, and had a three course meal and toasts and all that like. That is what university meant to me before I arrived.

*Agriculture Students. The downside of living in the hall most dedicated to the Agriculture side of Reading.


Wantage Hall front entrance

  1. “Oh, hey Sam, you playing Binding of Isaac?”

Sam was the first person I met when I moved into Wantage, coincidentally enough living in the room opposite mine; and in that first year we became great friends, thanks to a shared habit of propping our doors open when we’re both ‘at home’. He was also the first person to inspire my interest in video games and, essentially, Let’s Plays before Let’s Plays existed due to his habit of playing video games and my habit of curiously watching what was going on as I edited.

The creepy-tastic room-random-generated game The Binding of Isaac in particular was a game that fascinates me.

  1. RUSDS

I didn’t realise how much I loved Reading University Swing Dance Society until I became a member of the committee, the Treasurer for two years, and, at one point, the pillar of keeping the society running when my fellow committee members one-by-one dropped out (!). I guess it was because being a committee member meant that I had to be there at classes consistently, and thus I got more involved with the actual learning and teaching.

  1. Some gorgeous buildings.

And some totally tacky ones. Looking at you, URS building, now being utilised as the library as the actual library undergoes renovations.

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But, in general, Reading’s campus buildings are glossy and gorgeous and traditional brick structures and cohorts of the same.

  1. Uni Grill

Now closed, of all things! Well, this is something we expected – as one ought to expect from all of those kebab and friend chicken that are only kept open by the alcohol-infused brains, rather than stomachs, of students. But there was something about Uni Grill that made it more special than the other Reading chicken shops. Maybe because it was a mere walk from our accommodation.

8. An accessible town.

I could walk to the centre of Reading from where I loved, walk to the shops and have an evening out, and get back in at a reasonable time because I didn’t have to wait for specific buses or, namely, not going 10s of miles back home.


Until next time, readers…


Happy Book Birthday, RULES FOR THIEVES

My critique partner, Alexandra Ott’s, debut novel is out today, MG Fantasy RULES FOR THIEVES! Eee, exciting. Look at that glossy cover! (And did I mention I had a hand in choosing the title? 😉 )

Twelve-year-old Alli Rosco is smart, resourceful, and totally incapable of keeping her mouth shut. Some of these traits have served her well during her nine years in Azeland’s orphanage, and others have proved more troublesome…but now that she’s escaped to try her luck on the streets, she has bigger problems than extra chores to contend with. Surviving would be hard enough, but after a run-in with one of the city’s Protectors, she’s marked by a curse that’s slowly working its way to her heart. There is a cure, but the cost is astronomical—and seems well out of her reach.

Enter Beck, a boy with a gift for theft and a touch of magic, who seems almost too good to be true. He tells Alli that the legendary Thieves Guild, long thought to be a myth, is real. Even better, Beck is a member and thinks she could be, too. All she has to do is pass the trial that the King of Thieves will assign to her. Join the Guild, collect her yearly reward and buy a cure. Plus, Alli hopes the Guild will be the home—the family—that Alli has always wanted. But when their trial goes wrong, innocent lives are put in danger, and Alli has to decide how much she can sacrifice in order to survive.

Give it some book love, woo! *throws confetti into air*

Publisher: Aladdin/S&S
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Ages: 8-12
Pages: 320
ISBN-13: 9781481472746
ISBN-10:  1481472747

Amazon Barnes & Noble Alexandra Ott’s website

Help Fund Thistle & Thorn’s Production of Dolls at the 2017 Edinborough Fringe Festival!

A Steampunk Opera (The Dolls Of New Albion)

Thistle & Thorn Production

Meanwhile, over in Edinborough, a plucky group of thespians, hunted and running from their lives from the post riot purges, have started a Kickstarter in order to put their version of Dolls Of New Albion up at the 2017 Fringe Festival.

Word is the Soldiers are closing in on them, several cast members narrowly survived a bloody shoot out although not all with their limbs intact, and they’re surviving by eating old tins of beans they found in some old pantry somewhere. Cold baked beans. Ugh. The horror.

But you, YOU can help them tell their tale. They need a mere 2,000 pounds and they’re already a quarter of the way there. A quarter of them may survive, limbs intact and everything. But what, you’re just going to let the others die? Executed by the dreaded military police? You bastard! No, i i know you’ll do the right thing. Every…

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Alice’s Night Circus

It may not be a Thursday, but I’m rather working from day to day and so cannot post to a schedule at this time.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of listening to Alice’s Night Circus again (I first saw her live in Lincoln two years ago, and then last year as supporting for Steam Powered Giraffe) at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway event. I cannot stress how wonderful her music is. Her melodies are entrancing, her lyrics explorative, and her voice is powerful.

The below song, Curious World, is the debut and the classic show-opener, of an alternative Alice in Wonderland as she delves into a midnight-shadowed peculiar – a place we can all call home.

She’s still an independent musician, so any listening and sharing is always appreciated.

2 Months To Go

After Mass this evening, I was thinking about the ceremony that I will have had in exactly 2 months from now. The excitement of kneeling at the altar as I take the Blessed Sacrament as the institution of wife. The chance for me becoming the fuller version of myself (‘levelling up’ I believe is the gamer term. Maybe, evolving as the Pokémon do!)

Things are coming together, as is that sense of clarity people get as an event they’ve organised approaches. It is happening, and I am starting to visualise it in my head…whatever that means.

I love this photo of Grace Kelly of Monaco on her wedding day. The personification of grace, elegance, and modesty! May all brides worship with such reverence as she.

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Current State of Work

Currently…revising. I’ve got a few exams coming up, so I’ve been in revision mode for most of my free days, though of course, with the Easter celebrations, that’s been a little more difficult to do. I’ll be on my way home from my parent’s tomorrow, so I hope to be back on track when the bank holiday is over.

I hope you all have had a blessed Easter full of family and celebration and that the commercialism and the chocolate didn’t get y’all down too much.

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Loreley Folk

I am delighted to share today for this music-y Friday, the folk duo Loreley, formed of good friends of mine, Maddy Glenn and Simon James Chisholm. Brought together in our first year of university by writing, and by subsequent modules in later years, it was clear that Maddy and Simon have a strong bond with music; and their almost dream-like arrangements of traditional fables and lyrics with the heartbeat of strings like the mandolin and dulcitar create an interesting blend of folk.

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Their newest, and third, album came out a couple of weeks ago. You can purchase THE FROZEN NORTH or listen to tracks from it on Loreley’s Bandcamp page. You can also see their stuff on their website. The duo are self-funded, so every contribution to their fabulous music counts.