I came to Reading in 1972 to go to the university. I then got a job in Reading, got married, had children and, now, a first grandchild in the area. I'm here for life!
Strictly speaking, being south of the M4, I don't actually live in Reading but a lot of my life is Reading-based.
For the most part Reading is a decent town with decent people and it is good in some way to support the positive aspects or the town and its communities. For this reason I'm supporting The Ding by collating information on some of Reading's community assets to inform people and for myself and others to improve and develop.
Topics I have a particular interest in are:
- Pubs & Bars: Pubs and bars are places where you can go with your friends to socialise or to meet them or to enjoy a pleasant time in the company of people with whom you only have a nodding acquaintance who might become friends. Reading has lost a number of pubs over the years but we still have a lot and they play an important role for the town's community. You will occasionally find me in The Retreat, Global Cafe (for The Silver Heels and Café Zazous), or The Purple Turtle (for The Ding Dong Daddios).
- Places of Worship & Faith Groups: I am of no faith myself but places of worship and faith groups are important part of the lives of many people in Reading. They are important. People already attending a place or worship probably don't need this list but I hope it may help people who are looking for a church or other group or who, simply, want to have a better understanding of important communities in Reading. Each community in this list is valuable but of particular interest/value to me are the groups that are seeking in some way to remove barriers (e.g. ecumenical Christian groups and interfaith groups) and aspirational groups that aren't bound together by a religious faith (e.g. non faith groups).
- Parks, Play Areas & Open Spaces: Open spaces are valuable community resources. They range from children’s play areas through parks and recreation grounds to nature reserves and areas of woodland. They include gardens, nature reserves, skate parks and BMX tracks.
- Choirs & Choral Societies: Choirs are another participative communal activity. I've sung in Parenthesis for many years.
- Dance: My wife and I started dancing getting on for fifteen years ago and thoroughly recommend it. It's highly socialable and very civilised. We started with Salsa moving shortly to specifically Cuban Salsa. We then picked up some Jive and Ballroom but are currently dancing lots of Lindy Hop and Balboa.
- Festivals: Reading has festivals for virtually every combination of arts, culture, food, drink and music. I clear my calendar for The Village Festival and Reading Swing Exchange.