It is 10:40am, as I begin writing this post. I have just got back from town and the new Eden Shopping Centre. More on that later but first there are a few other bits and bobs to mention.
Imagine if I worked for a big corporate machine, with silk ties, polished shoes and endless bureaucratic procedures. Certain things would not be possible. Football draws (predominately FA Cup and Champions League) have always been big events at our office. However two years ago, it was a case of one person logging into BBC News while another uses the faster ESPN Soccer Net site to get the details of the draw. Now, we can watch the draw live on Sky Sports News on a big 40″ LCD screen in the main board room. You just have to wait for all the razzmatazz to finish before we get to the actual draw itself (after a compilation video featuring all the quarter finalists.) Our master of ceremonies was some Scotsman and the official ambassador of the 2008 final, Soviet keeper, Dasayev (yep, never heard of him either or even remember him from the 1988 European Championship final). When Arsenal got drawn first I knew it was a bad sign and sure enough we got Liverpool. Then Chelsea go and get one of the easiest teams left in the cup plus have the favoured option of playing at home in the second leg. I could start the conspiracy theories here but I will wait to see how the next round pans out. So you can imagine the cheers from all the Liverpool fans in our office (one outspoken and at least three closet) and I have to admit that Arsenal are underdogs but it will be a true test of how far Wenger has taken this team and their pedigree if this year is to be a league and cup double. However, I would happily lose to the Scousers if it meant we beat them in the League and won the championship. However, we shall see what transpires. There is a while to go before those crucial games and plenty of work in the league to be done before then.
I got up around 8.30am and was walking to the bus stop just before 9.15am. As I approached the stop, I looked over my shoulder and saw the 100 bus coming around the roundabout. Perfect timing. However my free return ticket was only valid on the 32 and 33 services, so I had to pay the £1.50 return on the 100 Park & Ride service. I was on my way into town, to see the new Eden Shopping Centre. I got off at the Library (due to move across to the new complex in June) only to find a big queue. It did not open until 9.30am, so it was a good five minute wait before the doors where opened. I returned my book and headed across town. I was looking forward to seeing how the old Bridge Street car park, where my Dad had parked his car and I had parked my car for many years before heading to town had been transformed into a so called shoppers “paradise”. The Octagon is no more, the old sign has gone and been replaced by Eden. What can I say? It is okay I suppose and the scale that reflects the size of our town. Walking around and going into the some of the shops, I could not be have the feeling that there was something missing. A big final show piece, a big bang. Sure some of the retail units have yet to be opened but most of them are open and busy with shoppers. I can only compare it to the Oracle and that at least has a great open section by the river. Here at Eden we have a stupid silver waterfall pillar at the newly christen Eden Square. I went into House Of Fraser, to the first floor and as I came up the escalator noticed a clothes stand. I had to get out my camera and take a photograph.
This is Pav’s number one brand at the moment and there is even a Superdry store in Reading, so I am quite sure he will not be rushing over to Wycombe anytime soon. I approached a member of staff and as he directed me to the accessories stand he asked, “Is this your first time in store?” What do you think buddy, you’ve only been open since Thursday (around forty-eight hours). I then headed across into the new flagship M&S store which was quite impressive but for the squeaky noise my shoes made on the new flooring. I took a walk back around and make a circuit around Tesco. It looks quite strange to see the old store surrounded by all the new shops. It makes me laugh to think they took the council to the High Court of the development and they had to in the end just build around them. I went up the escalator to the AMF Bowling and CineWorld complex. I am not sure why I even bothered to look at what movies were playing at the multiplex. I am never going to go there. Not unless they suddenly sign the contract with Pearl & Dean to do their screen advertising (which is highly unlikely but not impossible). I may be dragged kicking and screaming to see some Bollywood flick but I doubt it, the last one (on the big screen) I saw was Christmas two years ago. I will keep faithful to Vue, Reading at The Oracle and their impressive screen four. Something’s are worth making the trek for, particularly when you know what you are getting, know which seats to book and the fact that you can always use your Nectar card when times get hard!
Someone who could really judge how much the town has changed would be my Dad as he has lived in here since he was five or so. (Those whom would have been truly able to reminisce about the old town, are unfortunately no longer with us.) Forty three odd years of change are bigger yard stick than the near twenty that I have spent, so far on this mortal coil. The weekend detail weather report sponsored by Crystal Detail (URL coming – watch this space), predicted rain for both today and tomorrow but it is quite dry at the moment, so I might brave the condition and wash my car. Detail is just two weekends away. Have a great weekend whatever you get up to and I will try my best to post again before the weekend is out and we are into another working week (be it a little shorter).