Waking to Wokingham

Waking to Wokingham

If you recall, a few weeks ago I posted this picture of the view out our window from The Hope and Anchor, which we called home for a month.

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The pub is located in Wokingham, a short jump from the place we live now. It was the first place in England we got to properly explore. Luckily, the pub is located a short distance from the center of town. Wokingham radiates outward from a central marketplace. We spent a lot of time wandering the different stores in the area, gathering the things we needed for our apartment. That’s how we discovered the weekly street markets.

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These seemed to spring up mid-week and return again on weekends. Vendors sold fresh produce, hot food, and any number of other things. One stall promised to jailbreak any device as well as selling mobile phone covers. Others had teacups, jewelery holders and clothes. I always detoured through the tents to take a peek at what was available. On our lunch run one Saturday morning we stumbled upon a puppet show in progress. Children sat on the damp pavement watching with rapt attention as the puppeteer acted out the story of a police officer apprehending a comic villain.

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One of the most interesting things about Wokingham is it’s age. Most of the buildings are old, made of brick and wood, with small doorways. In fact one of the employees complained about the low arch of doorways in town after smacking his head against one. Many of the buildings have been repurposed. There’s a large town center featuring a restaurant, cafe and sweets shop. It embodies the surreal juxtaposition of old and new I mentioned just after landing in England.

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On our last weekend in Wokingham, we decided to take a walk to the areas we hadn’t explored. We wanted to capture the soul of the town in pictures, so we could share it with everyone back home. There’s a shop down the street, for example, which leans (and makes me nervous).

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It was called “Shute End” and featured in several very old photos hung in one of the local pubs.

We visited several neighborhoods, all of which had a unique sense of character.

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(I want a house with a tower in it!)

Eventually our wandering took us to the Parish Church of St. Paul, a medieval style church surrounded by an old graveyard.

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The graveyard possessed a haunting sort of beauty. I found this grave with boots as a vase particularly touching.

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Wandering through the gates, we found a tunnel of greenery towering over a scattering of old gravestones, crowded and titled in the shadows.

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Despite the strangeness of our situation, we enjoyed our time in Wokingham, walking through the local park and exploring the local pubs. When I stay indoors, I can almost imagine I’m still in Canada, but the illusion breaks the moment I step outside the door.

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(You don’t see sights like this walking down the street in Canada.)

There’s an energy and a character about England, it’s old stone buildings and narrow roadways. I can’t help loving it, no matter how much I miss home.

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