Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Since late October, we've been working in a different office, while our usual building in Andover is undergoing renovations.

Having time to spare now that I'm going to work on the train (and how relaxing is that, after driving to work for the past few years), I thought I'd take the opportunity to document the journey - dull as it is!

So here are the stations I pass through each morning.


Lordy - what a dull place. No coffee-shop, newspaper kiosk, taxi office, although Weybridge, Chertsey and Virginia Water all have these facilities. The woman who works in the ticket office has an awful attitude (the blokes are OK though), they never grit the platforms on icy mornings and the ticket machine on platform 2 has been out of order for at least 2 weeks. This is where I have to wait for my train every morning. Luckily it's only the 2nd stop on the route, so it's very rarely late.


Not as dull as Addlestone. There's a cafe, a taxi office and several large companies have major offices within a 5 minute walk. The car-park used to contain several small offices (shacks really), one of which was the external location for Edward Woodward's office in the Callan TV series.

Unfortunately, there's also a shrine of flowers on platform 1 for someone who must have been killed at the station.

Further down the road are a most excellent Indian restaurant (imaginitively called, The Chertsey Restaurant) and Moore's Wine Bar, which has comedy nights each Wednesday.

Virginia Water

This is where I change (just a short stroll from platform 3 to 2) for the Reading train. The guys in the ticket office are friendly, as is the woman who sells soup and coffee in the newspaper kiosk. Up the road is a parade of shops. This is probably one of the most expensive and exclusive places to live in the country, but you wouldn't think it if you wander up to the Londis to buy some gum or a magazine.

Further up the road is the old Sanatorium, where Bill Bryson met his wife (they were both working there) and various pop videos were filmed while it was derelict in the 1980s. Also locally is the lovely Royal Holloway College (which must be on
e of the few London University colleges which isn't actually in London).

I went to 6th-form college in nearby Egham, so the area is like a 2nd home to
me. If only in my mind.

Finally, Virginia Water is also home to Wentworth Golf Club. Venue for the world match-play championship each year and it's where I got married first-time around
, back in prehistoric times.


Ah. Sunningdale. Home to another championship-standard golf course and many, many big , posh houses. It's got a Mercedes dealer, a big Waitrose, and (if you're driving) a very annoying level-crossing over the A30.

For some reason, the recorded announcement on the train goes wrong here. All the stations on the line are listed by a male voice in a sober, even manner. But when you arrive here he says "this is Sunningdale" and the last syllable comes out in a surprised squeak, as if the guy doing the recording was poked with a stick at that moment.


It's very posh indeed at Ascot. The railway station is large, with four platforms. Presumably to cope with the huge influx of people during race meetings, especially Royal Ascot. And I believe it's also an interchange with the Guildford line. Outside the station is Jagz jazz club. I like jazz, but I've never been here. Maybe I'll give it a go and report back. Change here and you can probably get a bus to Windsor and look at the castle. Probably.

Martins Heron

All I know about this place is that it's a large 1970s-looking housing estate, with one of those identikit Tesco superstores (complete with pointless clock-tower) right next to the station - also built by Tesco apparently. I keep wanting to put an apostrophe in (Martin's Heron), but there isn't one. Which doesn't make any sense to me. Most of you will have seen Martins Heron as it's the location for Harry Potter's house (where he lives with his aunt & uncle).


Awful photo.

Once home to the
Met Office before they moved to Exeter. Which means it's a much longer commute for the guys and girls who do the weather on the BBC. It really is one of the dullest places in the world.


Another bad picture - taken facing into the sun. Sorry about that.

Wokingham is quite a sweet little town. The town centre is small, but the swathes of housing development swarm out for a few miles in each direction.

The railway station is at the grotty end of the district though. And as I don't ever get off here, I can't find much else to say about it.


The end of the line. Because on the day I took the photos, I ended up on the fast train from Wokingham which missed out Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle and Earley. For which you are probably thanking your own personal god as it's made this entry a good deal shorter.

So, Reading.

Home to numerous companies; the Madejski stadium, where the Royals play (formerly the Biscuitmen - a far better nickname). Site of the old Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory.

There's a lovely Victorian gothic town hall, housing a great concert venue and the museum.

And it's where I met The Wife. For which I will be eternally grateful to it. Thank you Reading.

Oh, and thanks to Delmonti for the informative notes on the photos...


Delmonti said...

I think a photo journey to work is a great idea.... I may have a go....

Sorray about the notes on the photo's... I must of been at a loose end.

chux said...

lovely piece man - glad you didnt dis my 'massiv'. I mean you didnt say anything bad about Chertsey. My wife was originally from Virgina Water, and still lived there with her mother when i started seeing her. Just 6 months later they had moved to Addlestone!!! That was just unfare I was deceaved into thinking I was getting involved with a rich family. Oh well at least i've still got the holes in my pockets to keep me happy.
You mentioned Jaqz in windsor - i've been meaning to go there for years but never got round to it. If you fancy a try out sometime give me a shout too. We'll drag Dawson there even if he hates Jazz. (David hates Jazz! that sounds like a good band name..)
all the best bud

MaryB said...

Ahhh, thanks for the journey. Do you pass through Walton and Weybridge? (Walton's my home-base when I'm in England.)

Know what I miss about train-travel in England nowadays? I miss the chaff-chaff-chaff sound of the train doors slamming. Now they just slide open and closed.

Never been to Reading - just passed through whenever I travelled from Oxford to London during my schooldays.

PT said...

Thanks for the compliments folks.

Thought the idea was a little dull and the execution even duller, but... Just goes to show.

I'm off to polish my collection of train numbers.

jomoore said...

This is terrific! Though, at first glance, I thought you'd gone all station-spotter-ish...!
I look forward to the slow train update, as I am curious about Winnersh Triangle. Anywhere with a shape in its name sounds interesting. Especially a triangle (like it's too quaint to have another side to make a square).
I must get a camera phone...

Chris said...

'strophe or not 'strophe?

Coming from Bracknell on the main road, the sign pointing to Martin's Heron has one but going the other way it doesn't!! Who is Martin? and what did he do with his heron?