The Reading Room in 2015 : no helpful visuals…… only words and your ‘mind’s eye’….

Here is something I wrote which may, somehow, find it’s way into my Research Paper….. ( What!?)

In case it doesn’t, or it is unrecognisable by the time it gets there,  here it is in its sort of, almost full form- written from memory, though I did check the Sanitary Disposal bags the last time I visited in case they were a figment of my imagination.

I didn’t check anything else for accuracy.

Reading Room has long rectangular windows topped with stained glass that produce refracted patterns of colour on the unpolished wooden herringbone floor when the sun shines.

Clingfilm covers inside the windows, loosened a little at the bottom to let out the trapped flies. Occasional dead flies lie on the window- sills.

Pink heat retaining’ Sanderson’ -print curtains furnish the windows following recent fundraising.

High dark-wood curved beams are exposed in ceiling after the controversial removal of a modern replacement. A central vent which allowed for the escape of smoke has been replaced by a fan.

A wooden mantelpiece above a red brick fireplace, now houses an electric ‘stove’. Watercolour paintings of the village by local artists are balanced above with vintage photographs on the opposite wall, where a larger boarded-up fireplace is home to a white electric convector.

Dominating the Reading Room is a fabric Union Jack flag, fastened to the large notice board. ‘WELCOME” cut out in multi-coloured paper lettering sits above it in a curve.

Original wooden wall panelling was removed. In the controversial modernisation

Wooden shelves along a narrow, quarry tiled corridor offer books for free exchange; above them, photographs of local sports historic successes and a large print portrait of the Queen. The pink tiled ‘Ladies’ toilet provides ‘Crinoline lady’ sanitary disposal bags and has an electric hand drier marked ‘Out of Order’. Local myth tells of a ghost who moves one of the many mirrors in the dark bar area.

Dark-varnished ‘cottage’ tables and chairs seating four are covered with pastel yellow seersucker fitted tablecloths and  decorated with Foster’s lager glasses containing pink fabric flowers weekly coffee mornings.

For the bi-monthly whist- drives these are replaced with a pack of Sports Direct playing cards and a score sheet.

Coffee and tea are made using a cylindrical water boiler and served with home-baked cakes over the 1970’s wooden counter as the sun descends slowly in the window behind.

On fine evenings, as the villagers gather for the Whist Drive, the sounds of rooks calling and Aunt Sally game next door at ‘The Blackbird” are echoes of the past.

Mobile signal is poor in the whole  village and both this and Broadband are unavailable in the Reading Room which also has  no telephone landline. An analogue transitor radio will tune into local station ‘ Banbury Sound’ if the aerial is extended in the appropriate direction.


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