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.

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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.

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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…

🙂

Quick Takes Friday about Etiquette, Chilli Chicken, and Alex Being Promotional

Is it really already Friday? Phew. Time to catch up with our weeks in 7 Quick Takes.

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This week, at least for me, has been one of promotional work for Reading Uni. Wednesday and Thursday were photo and film promotional shoots which will end up on the website and possibly the prospectus; whereas today and tomorrow are the official open day, so I’ve been helping out and working for those.

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I’m still here, in old castle Wantage. Every day, another person moves out of the hall, and it’s a sharp reminder of how close we are to our contracts expiring completely. I have to make the most of my last two weeks as a student-in-hall. But I’m also madly excited to be moving into a house with other Christians, where we’ll have the opportunity for group prayer and spiritual activity.

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I’m still catching up with editing/polishing – have been good these last couple of days with two chapters per day, and hopefully, I can work on querying early next week before I move out and the end of June. I didn’t anticipate it would take me this long, to be honest, but exam break aside, I’m coming back to chapters I’ve not seen in months and they have been unacceptable. So, the editing side has been stronger than the polishing in some places.

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Nevertheless, I am still enjoying the story, and the world baits me with more to add to characters, including a under-2K-words vignette from Andrew Costello’s point of view.

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I’ve been doing some research for my Steampunk fictions, and there were a lot of etiquette rules in the day that now seem barmy. For instance:

“It is customary, according to the codes of etiquette, to call all hours of daylight morning and after nightfall evening.”

As found, along with multiple pieces of etiquette points about who calls when, how to behave, and what to leave, on avictorian.com. Victorian dance etiquette is also fascinating for me as a modern/vintage/swing dancer.

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I’ve also been doing more cooking, now that my catering contract has run out. I enjoy cooking for myself – trying out different styles and flavours that are useful for my time-constraints, tastes, and health.

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Like so: chicken on a bed on leeks and celery. The seasoning was a sweet chilli ready-pack from Colman’s. And really yummy, too.

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Photo of the Week: Snow!

Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t miss yesterday’s post. That wasn’t me; that was someone else… xD

Time got away from me, I’m afraid, and it’s already slipping through my fingers.

Please don’t start singing ABBA.

Anyway, this week’s photo had to be one thing and one thing only. Unless you’ve not read the title, you’ll know that thing is snowFinally, finally in [the South of] England we got some snow. I may not have been very much, but one only has to look at the Christmas-Carol-y look of the photos from my room to see how lovely it was.

Plus, I know I didn’t intend to post today, but we also had some pretty snow in the morning, too, so providence got its place.

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I had some other photographs – but, as per my phone, it has started deleting my notes and photos and things, and just generally metpahorically blowing up in my face. So, this is nice enough. Hope you enjoy the photo. I know I did. 😉

Photo of the Week: Learning Styles

You know how people see different elements of a single structure? ie. In a painting, a writer might see the story, whilst an artist might instead look to the brushstrokes and tones. It occurred to me as I was thinking about this phenomenon that it might be used to discern a child or youth’s a) best field of study, and, more importantly, b) learning style. The way students are taught in schools has been bemoaned before, but I’ll reiterate: not enough attention is given to the variety of learners and types of intelligence in children, particularly those in state (ie. government-run) schools, who are more likely to have come from a wider variety of socioeconomic backgrounds compared to students in independent/private schools.* Although, practically, it can be difficult for a teacher to provide every type of attentional and learning style in a class of 30-odd, there is certainly the advantage of varying teaching style beyond simply dictation. If one were to look at modern studies of learning styles in correlation to attention, one would find that even using PowerPoint and making a presentation cannot fully engage a child’s attention.

Certainly, from experience, the teachers and subjects I remember best were those where the staff catered for students as individual people to be respected, rather than simply obliging to teach these children as part of their job.

*In part due to the academic rigor and attention given to private school entrance exams, there are also more likely to be students with disabilities in state schools that make classical learning more difficult.

Why is that relevant to today?

Well, my photo of the week is of the gable that inspired these thoughts – on the top of the Wantage dining hall. What do you see? The first thing I notice is the way the stone border on the central gable almost ripples down the brickwork. There’s something about the smooth-then-square-then-smooth that fascinates me most about this photo and centrepiece. Gazing out of my window as I type, I can see that similar shapes are used over the doorways into each block. I’m not sure exactly what that says about me, but it’s a writer’s job to have their characters pick out certain details that others would not.

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Photo of the Week: Glances

Partly due to writing and partly due to just being vacant these last couple of days, I’ve not taking many photos over this week.
This one is another shot of the Old Quad of Wantage Hall.

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I guess for something so quickly shot, I’m happy with the clarity and the focus of this photo. I like that, though it is covered by tree, the corner angles the shot slightly. The picture almost softens and hardens itself by the mismatch of unplanned photography.