Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reading 16th - 18th September

Victoria, Alice and I went to Reading last weekend. It was kind of a family trip and my mum and David, along with my Granny and Eric had already travelled down the day before.

We were there as we wanted a nice weekend away and we wanted to visit Richard, Eric's youngest son, and Jeremy, Eric's eldest son, along with Jeremy's wife Ellen and daughters, Emma and Lucy.

We were staying in a great hotel, the Madejski, which is actually attached to the Madejski stadium, home of Reading football club and the London Irish Rugby team. This is a really nice hotel. We had a club room, which meant we had access to the 'Club Lounge'. This is a nice quiet corner room that serves coffee and tea in the day and wine in the evening. Very posh it is.

We arrived on the Saturday at about 11am after being skillfully guided there by TomTom. Alice had a run around the hotel to make up for her being stuck in the car for two and a half hours and then we checked into the room.

Victoria and my mum took Alice swimming along with Jeremy, Ellen, Emma and Lucy, and afterwards David suggested going next door to watch the rugby. As we were so close to the ground (ie. attached to it) we thought it would be rude not to. I would not have bothered if it was a football match but rugby is a 'proper' game, not that rubbish played by wimps.

You can see in the picture on the left (stolen from Google Earth!!) where our seats were compared to our room. :-)

The match was great. London Irish vs Bristol. The first half was dominated by London and ended 11-3, but in the second half Bristol came back and beat London 23-11. Very exciting it was.

The atmosphere was nice as well. All the fans were mingled in together and alcohol (mainly Guiness) was being freely served. There was no trouble or drunk fans and everyone got on really well. I am guessing it is not the same for football. The banning of alcohol at football matches is very telling!!

After the match we chilled out for a bit and at 7pm our babysitter arrived. This was preceded by us putting Alice to bed at 06:30 and spending half an hour in the bathroom while she went to sleep. Luckily she was tired so was out like a light.

After a pint in the bar the taxi arrived and took us to Richard's house. It was dark so I can't remember where he lives, but I think it was Wargrave. Anyway, his neighbour is Paul Daniels so I am guessing the value of his house is a couple of hundred thousand less than it should be. ;-)

We then went to a pub called the St George and Dragon round the corner for a meal. It was all very nice and we had lots of wine.

After the meal it was back to the hotel. I suggested a quick drink in the bar as I fancied finishing the night off with a whiskey. I thought that £24 was a bit steep for 2 large Laphroaig's, a glass of red wine and half a lager though!! The whiskey came to £15.80!! I can buy a bottle for £22.

Still, hotel prices and all that. It was a nice way to end the night.

Next day I popped into Reading with my mum and Dave. I was surprised how nice Reading center is.

The Thames is running through the middle and is surrounded by House Of Fraser, Debenhams and the now obligatory Cafe Nero and Starbucks. It was really nice to sit there in the sun and drink a coffee.

After this it was off to Jeremey and Ellen's for lunch. A buffet had been prepared and it was all really delicious.

After lunch we sat in the garden and Alice played with Emma and Lucy. They all had a great time as you can see in the pictures I took. Alice was a bit tired at 5 ish so we took her back to the hotel.

The babysitter was booked again, this time for 8 and we all just sat in the hotel bar and had a drink. It was very pleasent. Once again I finished off the night with a large Laphroaig. Lovely.

Next day it was time to return to Sheffield, so after breakfast we packed up all our things and headed off back up north.

We had such a nice weekend and were really sorry when it was over, and thanks to Richard, Jeremy and Ellen for being such excellent hosts.

There are pictures available here.

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