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Seasonal area

December 2013

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December is always enlivened by a set of Christmas decorations. It means that what would normally be a fairly bland bit of urban landscape - in this case in the Berkshire town of Reading - can be brightened up with strings of brightly-coloured bulbs, randomly scattered smatterings of white lights and a large conifer.

Reading does, however, always have a relatively bright shopping centre. There are a lot of towns and cities which have built their main shopping districts around canals, but they have in the main covered the old waterways over first. This always seems to be a waste of a decorative waterway, though it does avoid embarassing incidents like the time that a Cardiff policeman managed to drown in the remaining four inches of the Glamorganshire Canal while trying to rescue a boy who was busy drowning likewise.

The Kennet and Avon Canal, much to the credit of its restoration team, always gives an impression that it is way too important for anyone to even dream of covering it over - although at this stage, towards its very eastern extremity, it is less the Kennet and Avon Canal and more simply the River Kennet. As a result it flows more than is normal for a canal. It cuts magnificently through the centre of an otherwise rather businesslike town, with sweeping curves and handsome bridges. To prevent policemen drowing in the several feet of water that stream down the Kennet into the Thames, the town's designers have had to invest in some interesting designs of fencing. Behind this are then some spacious wandering areas, rakes of outdoor seating and Christmas rides. All in all, the Oracle shopping centre makes a good place to finish off the Christmas shopping.

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Last modified 04/12/2013

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