Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trip to England Part 6: Basingstoke

Ok, not many people will know of Basingstoke, especially in Australia. Some claims to fame are that it was mentioned in Thomas Hardy's novels in the 1870's-1890's, Monty Python took the piss out of it as the most boring place in the World with lots of roundabouts (this is before Milton Keynes was developed), Ruth Ellis (the last woman hanged in England) and Tanita Tikaram both hale from Basingstoke.

The Lamb is the nearest pub to Queen Mary's College

After a fairly quiet morning where I drove my Mum for her health check up and then acted as chauffeur/packhorse on her weekly big shop I decided to take a slow walk to Basingstoke Town Centre. I walked past my old 6th form college, Queen Mary's (back in the days of class streaming, in elitist England, the most qualified bright sparks from all the local schools were herded together in a 6th form college and allowed a further 2 years of skiving, before they would hopefully move on to their 3 years of university indolence!). There had been quite some building and huge growth of flora around the college obscuring it from the main street, though I doubt it would have changed much.

Basingstoke is a town of old and new. Approaching the town from the south you can walk through the Memorial Park which was originally designed in the 1700's for Goldings House which no longer stands. The Southern end of the town retains a lot of its 'older' nature. Then you work your way down to the Malls which are totally modern. Completely covered, it's soul less American shopping. However, you don't have to travel far from the Malls in any direction to find the historical, or more traditional, aspects of the town.

Focal Point in the Memorial Park

The bird cage is another focal point of the Memorial Park

I then took a wander towards the cinema which now has a number of bars, restaurants and fast food places close by called Festival Place. I went into a place called Giraffe and the service was excellent, very friendly and laid back. Unfortunately, the coffee wasn't too good (it had an American filter coffee vibe), but it was a lot better than the stuff that Costa (supposedly a continental style coffee chain) served which I shall just term "indescribable". Actually I quite liked it in Giraffe, the staff's friendliness more than making up for the slightly inferior cup of coffee.

The White Hart Pub at the Northern end of the Memorial Park

St Michael's Church, a stone's throw from the Malls, and probably about 500 years old.

No comments:

Post a Comment