Thursday, 25 May 2017

Strawberry Fields/ Nothing is real Gray's Farm Pick Your Own Wokingham
At Gray's Farm
Or nothing stays the same.

I don't know much about Gray's Farm although it's very close to where we live. Like anyone driving past it once in a while, I recognise it because of the giant strawberry by the roadside. It is the nearest Pick Your Own farm to us but we haven’t visited before (we always go to Surrey). Donald Gray died in 2011 and the farm was sold to the Wokingham Borough Council three years ago. I read in the news that they would turn the farm into a sports hub for the new development. We decided to visit last Saturday before it's gone. We learned the farm will still be open for a few more years but this is the reality in so many parts of England where, sadly, a place is valued so much more as land/housing Gray's Farm Pick Your Own Wokingham
It's always sad when things that are identifiable with a town close down, I remember this about some spots in my hometown that I knew as a child. My husband grew up in the area and every time we drive across towns, he would see recent changes. The other day, we saw that the only garage in his hometown had closed down. It had been a trend for years, those little shops he used to go to as a little boy were all gone. A few years ago, he took me to this shop that sold all sorts of things and he noted how it didn't change that much. I bought some thread. I expected the price to be higher as it wasn't a big shop but it actually cost cheaper than most. That could also have been one of the reasons why that shop had closed down not long after that visit. It was a small shop so it was probably losing out to those big chains, the way Fox Books Mega-Chain put Meg Ryan's character's small and personal bookshop out of business in the 1998 film You've Got Mail. Gray's Farm Pick Your Own Wokingham

It doesn't end there, up until recently, there was a hotel on the same street where my husband's childhood home was. I thought that the hotel was a listed building but it wasn't. My friend the late Rev. Gallagher stayed there the night when he flew from Ireland to officiate our wedding the next day. Anyway, the land had been sold as well and last week, we saw signs around it saying retirement homes would be built on the site. I joked to Mike, should we retire there? It'd be both funny and strange to retire next door to where he grew up.

The land where Mike's childhood home once stood had also been sold to developers. Numerous flats and houses were built there. The saddest thing? They didn't build on that particular land where my husband's house was. It's now a carpark.

Right here in our little village, we don't have much, the village shop and post office had long been converted into houses. Gladly, one pub still stands and I was told there used to be a pub, probably decades ago, right across from our house. Oh well, at least we still have the church and primary school, ones we could really call our own as they are geographically part of our little village. Everything else we need we get from the bigger town that we are a part of. It's not that great there, either, good thing the "Big" town has a bakery but they don't have a butcher. The local garage had also been turned into Tesco, as though we don't have enough Tesco stores around the area. 

There are farms and shops being transformed into houses, and some hectares of land are being transformed into parks. One of these is a country park near where we used to live. Around the time my daughter was born in 2010, some 11,000 trees were planted in said country park. It didn't make the parish councillors very happy, branding it a waste of money. I don't know much about the issue to comment on it, but from my standpoint I'd say, trees must be good, right?

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