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A Guide to Princes Risborough Part V – Graffiti

30 Nov

Gang culture is making a comeback in the quaint town of Princes Risborough, and the increase of hoodlums in the area has also brought with it the graffiti tags normally associated with large cities such as London and Nottingham.

The graffiti on display opens up an interesting insight into the minds of the younger generations in the town, who choose to express themselves by daubing graffiti wherever they can. The town is a blank canvas, ripe for decorating, and I have noticed a few pieces of fantastic artwork cropping up. Here are some of the finest examples on display.

The first example I have is a bold statement in itself. ‘Dick’ is the chosen tag, sprayed eloquently onto a rubbish bin. I think the artist is trying to say that he has a rubbish cock. Either that, or it was the first word that popped into his head. Notice how the bin leans to one side, almost poetically, as if it, like the artist, has all but given up hope on the town ever progressing.

DICK!

Eloquently put, this tag is pure genius. Well, almost.

Next up, this fine example which was probably done by someone from the Chinese community in the town. Translated, ‘Herro Darling’ actually means ‘Hello Darling’. The artist in question was probably off their head on ecstasy and feeling the love massively when they wrote this. The fact that this has been done over two fence panels so to cause maximum damage, is admirable.

Hello Darling!

The graffiti is high on the fence, indicating a person with long arms did it.

 

Shock, Horror! A spelling mistake next. The artist has put ‘Like’ instead of ‘Lick’, but it can be forgiven because of the use of such a bold coloured paint against the dark fence. The other patterns and swirls are incomprehensible, but it doesn’t detract from this marvellous piece.

Peck, peck, peck

Who doesn't like battery hens? They are much more reliable than wind-up ones.

My final example is probably my favourite. Such a simple phrase, but the artist is expressing himself and really getting his point across, quickly and efficiently. You know where you stand with this artist, there is no messing about.

I just love the cock

Possibly written by a female. Or a male.

 I will be taking my camera out to capture more masterpieces in the coming weeks. I’m not sure how visitors to the town will react to the above items, but surely they won’t see it as a bad thing?
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A Guide to Princes Risborough Part IV: Shops

5 Jul

Since I first started writing my guide to the quaint town of Princes Risborough, many new shops and amenities have opened up in the high street, obviously not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to be part of this bustling and vibrant place. Whether or not the residents of the town are grateful remains to be seen, but the one-way system implemented in the high street can’t aid many of the potential customers to the new businesses in the town, let alone the businesses themselves. With this system in place, it is ‘every business for themselves’ as they compete for prime location, hoping that people will be willing to do a half-mile detour so they can enter the high street from the designated end. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular places the residents of Risborough like to go (as well as ‘outsiders’):

Costa – The new coffee shop is situated at the top end of the high street, but this has helped other smaller shops around it as punters have to actually go past them to get to this trendy franchise. With its range of coffees, both hot and cold, as well as iced teas, Panini’s and overpriced cakes; Costa has seen itself busy from day one. When Costa first came to Risborough, a local resident said: “At least there is another empty premises that has been filled up. Costa Coffee has its own sort of customers so it will hopefully not affect the other cafes”. Quite what he meant by ‘own sort of customers’ is anyone’s guess, but I’m thinking he probably meant ‘pretentious snobs that can afford to pay over-the-odds for a drink’.  We all know that this is not true with Costa. The modern, more sophisticated coffee shop has become very popular, I can’t help but think that Alan Turner is missing the importance of having one in the town. Costa does more than ‘fill an empty premises’ – it attracts customers to Risborough, and gives them somewhere comfortable to socialise. Yes, there are other places you can grab a coffee, like, erm, actually, ignore that statement. If you want a good time, go to one of the pubs (already covered in one of my guides). If you want a laid back chat, then Costa is for you.

Ummm, lycra

A man burns his tongue on hot coffee and has to be comforted by friends

WH Smith – When I first heard that Risborough was getting a WH Smith, I couldn’t really believe it. I mean, how many residents can actually read? My next thought was ‘Is this the actual proper WH Smith franchise, or is some joker setting up a small brothel, with the WH standing for ‘Whore House’?’ I was disappointed when it turned out to be the book shop, after all, the library is over the road, and that only gets used by school children, pensioners and weird men that smell of dead cat. Despite this, it is nice to see another popular high street retailer taking a gamble on the town, and is ‘filling an empty premises’. Fingers crossed, Woolworths will soon follow suit. I suppose it keeps the number of charity shops down, which seem to breed like rats.

Shoes a-plenty. And old people.

There was no photo of WH Smith available, so here is a photo of Wainwright’s Shoe Shop. They sell shoes and boots and other footwear. But not crocs. No shop should sell crocs.

Cape Henley – The tag line for this home store is ‘Immerse yourself in our sumptuous home collections from Riviera Maison and bring the feel of seaside charm or a cosy armchair by the fireplace into your home’. Frankly, if I wanted the smell of piss in my front room, and seagulls crapping all over my fireplace, I’d invite an OAP round for coffee. The items on sale are actually lovely pieces, but will these be snapped up in droves by the majority of somewhat ‘behind with the times’ residents of the town? That remains to be seen. I like the fact that this shop seemed to just spring up from nowhere, like a creepy sex fiend.

A bright day in the town

There was no actual picture of the shop on the web, but it is just to the left of this car (trust me), which speeds up the high street after committing a drive-by shooting.

Gorgeous Giggles  – A gift and toy shop which opened a few weeks before WH Smith, and what an opening! A kung fu panda walked up and down the street with balloons, entertaining youngsters, by just looking all silly and stuff. I’m sure I heard one shopper shout out, “Look! What is a panda doing in Princes Risborough? Hahahah?!” Gorgeous Giggles was mobbed on opening day (I was lucky enough to be in Costa and see the crazy panda wandering about), and has since continued to remain quite busy. Fair play to the owners for bringing another shop to the high street which was starting to look a bit desolate, but unfortunately, the panda is no longer anywhere to be seen. He was last spotted entering one of the hundreds of Indian restaurants in the town.

Pervy bear

“Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough”

There are plenty of other shops in town. The newly opened Chocolate Boutique (be warned: they do not sell chocolate) and the often thriving Rebecca Hill Art Gallery (be warned: they do not sell art), to name but two. With Princes Risborough Festival fast approaching, it would be an ideal opportunity for anyone of any age to visit the town and see the delights for yourself. Just be sure to bring some pocket money.

A Guide to Princes Risborough – Part III – Leisure Facilities

27 Jul

Although the pubs in Risborough are of an extremely high quality, some people would rather not spend their precious time in them. For those people, there are plenty of things they can get up to:

 

Risborough Springs Swim & Fitness Centre – Springs has a wide range of leisure facilities and activities that are suitable for everybody, regardless of age or ability. The 25 metre long pool is an ideal place to have a swim, as it’s filled with water. Be careful not to submerge though, as the chlorine content is extremely high and you could lose your eyesight for a few days. Small toddlers have been known to float on the surface of the pool, with the chlorine having a similar effect to the salt in the Dead Sea. One of the best times to go swimming is during the Fun Session, when the pool gets flooded with inflatable things, balls and more often than not, floats of the fecal kind.  Hundreds of children gather to clamber over a giant inflatable dragon, all jostling to get the prize position  of sitting on the dragon’s head, but often results in split lips, smashed foreheads and lost teeth. The swim theme carries on through in the changing rooms, which often have more water in them than the baby pool does. Perverts would love these changing facilities as each cubicle has a large gap at the bottom of it, big enough to fit a grown man’s head under.

 

The gym is kitted out with all the things you’d expect; running machine, rowing machine, sweaty men in tiny shorts and a TV. One thing that Springs hopes will make it stand out over other gyms, is that it boasts an energy snack bar vending machine – Crazy!! Whilst working out, customers can peer out of the large windows and watch the comings and goings in the car park, or watch youngsters getting themselves high on drugs in the park.

 

The parking facilities are excellent; Springs can fit 6 cars at any one time (including staff). My advice here is to leave your car in the graveyard next to the centre, and walk round. I shouldn’t negate to mention the viewing area which offers a great view to the Kids Pool and nothing else really.

Risborough Springs

A packed Risborough Springs stands eerily against the quaint Risborough sky

 

King George Playing Field – Backing onto the police station, the playing field boasts swings, a roundabout, a few other pointless amenities and a skate ramp. This field is ideal for underage drinking (plenty of bushes to hide behind) or for practicing your graffiti skills. The skate ramp is rarely used, although it did have a few visitors on its first day after being built, and I would advise anyone hoping to come and use it to prepare themselves to be underwhelmed as it is only 2 foot high, by 3 foot long.

 Princes Risborough Park

There was no images of the recreation field on the internet, so have a picture of an old man smashing the shit out of some drums

 

Tesco – Yes, I know Tesco is a supermarket, but many Risborough residents use it as a place to meet and greet each other. I for one, love to watch the staff go about their daily duties, stacking shelves and serving customers with faces contorted with frustration. It should be said though that care in the community in the town is clear to see, with most Tesco employees getting jobs despite having an IQ under 22. Sometimes, words cannot do this place justice, so have a few pictures instead:

 karma, karma, karma chamealeon

 One member of staff who is very useful at spotting shoplifters. He has eyes on the back of his head. And the sides.

 Quiffy Happy Jolly Twonk

The only wig manufactured from pubic hair in existence belongs to a Risborough Tesco employee.

Pink Eye

Winner of best looking employee 2009

 

That’s about it in terms of leisure facilities I’m afraid. It’s probably the reason as to why most locals choose to go to the pubs, as the three places mentioned above get so busy due to their popularity. If you’re planning on visiting one, make sure you get there early to avoid disappointment.

A Guide to Princes Risborough. Part II Pubs

15 Jul

If you’re ever in the vicinity of Princes Risborough and think ‘Oh Lord, whatever am I going to do with myself’, rest assured they’ll be something pretty darn amazing for you to get up to in this vibrant and joyful town. A vast amount of pubs litter both the high street and areas outside the town centre, and always offer a warm and friendly atmosphere. Here is a brief rundown of the best places to go and the best times to visit:

The Whiteleaf Cross – Situated next to Princes Fish and Chip Shop in the heart of the town, the Whiteleaf Cross is undoubtedly one of the more popular pubs for locals. With a trendy, almost pretentious, garden area, the pub is a hit with local hi-flying estate agents and tradesmen. Two TV screens make this pub an ideal venue for watching any sport screened on terrestrial television, providing there isn’t a darts match on or someone playing the fruit machines. Come winter, the table in front of the open fireplace is often fought over, as locals look to top up their tans from the scorching fire. The cuisine, like the garden, is quite trendy, but at the same time ‘studenty’. The classic fish finger, bacon, cheese and red onion sandwich is a must have experience for anyone who decides to visit, and the nachos el grande is extremely filling, with 5 packets of minced meat used in every serving.
A Friday night is the best time to visit for drinks, with clientele young and old drinking in harmony. On a Saturday night, many customers seek pastures new when 9.05pm arrives, as they head out across the road to catch a bus out of town, so if you want a quiet weekend drink, visit then.
A great choice of bar snacks are available (mini sausages are a particular favourite) and tea and coffee are also served.

The Whiteleaf Cross sponsored by Ian Brown
A red car parks in a disabled space for a laugh

The George and Dragon – This pub has had more cosmetic enhancements than Jordan, and seems to change owners every fortnight. The current owners have done a splendid job on the appearance of the place, that was previously French owned. I haven’t had a drink in this pub since it reopened, and I am skeptical of ever going in there again after it took me 3 hours to leave one night (my shoes were stuck to the floor). Having said this, the karaoke on a Sunday night is always a good way to end the weekend. The garden area is quite substantial and is a great place to watch people walking to and from town.

George and Dragon Vintage Sign
The George sign sways in the wind like the drunks who stagger out of the pub

The Bell – As the only pub in town to have Sky TV, the Bell is popular for all football lovers. A friend of mine and his father recently found themselves in this pub one Saturday Afternoon as they wanted to watch a football match. When they asked for food they were told, ‘We don’t serve any, but you can go to the Esso and buy a sandwich ,and eat it in here if you like’. I’m not sure what’s worse; the fact that the pub turned away custom, or that my friend actually consumed an Esso sandwich. The Bell also has the benefit of a pool table if you want to get hussled, and the garden is spacious. Anyone who likes to risk drink driving will be happy to hear that the car park is almost as big as the pub.
Popular with late night stragglers as it remains open later than the other pubs, the Bell is ideally situated across the road from a kebab van. Chips, cheese and a punch in the throat? Yes please!

Looks can be deceiving
The Bell sign practices its pom-pom routine

The Bird in Hand – A small but perfectly formed pub, the Bird is the Wee Jimmy Krankie of Risborough Public Houses. The Sunday roast dinners are legendary; bigger than the average child. The outside area is probably the biggest in the town, and there is also a comfortable, sheltered smoking area. There are often a number of deals and promotions on, so you can be sure to grab yourself a meal for £1, but it is worth it. This pub is situated close to Princes Risborough train station for anyone looking to visit, and it’s vast popularity with the more mature residents is clear to see; the local off licence has recently closed down. Another pub with a good selection of bar snacks, with Cheese Moments a favourite. I’d also recommend the Bird in Hand burger, which has more things in it than Jodie Marsh does on a Saturday night.

The Bird in Hand: Handy
I like how the neighbour has matched their window shutters to the Bird sign

So, there you have it. A brief summary of the happening pubs in the town. If they aren’t enough to persuade you to visit the town, then I’m not sure what is…

A Guide to Princes Risborough – Part I

12 Jul

The town where I grew up often gets a bad press from neighboring villages, but it’s not all bad.

Princes Risborough is a small town and civil parish within the Wycombe district in Buckinghamshire England and is situated at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. A hotspot for culture, with numerous restaurants and interesting historical sites, the town has become a must-see for all visitors to England.
Originally used as a stop gap for traders travelling to and from Cambridge and Winchester, the town has seen a vast increase in the number of people visiting in recent years – some of whom choose not to leave. This is why the town is so popular.

The Market Square – Seen by most residents as the epicenter of the town, the Market Square not only provides valuable shelter from the rain, but also confuses first time visitors – part of an ‘in-joke’ amongst residents. There is a clock face on each side of the Market Square’s ‘spire’, but amusingly, the time is never correct! It is thought that the idea was dreamed up nearly 15 years ago by a member of the local council, known to be a bit of a prankster, and the joke has carried on to the present day. What makes the joke even more hilarious is the fact that the Market Square doubles as a bus stop, with the timetable showing the ‘correct’ times. Of an evening, irate adults can be seen chasing after buses down towards the Tesco roundabout, shaking their fists angrily in the air as they do so, having fallen foul to the ‘Wrong Time Clock Joke’ (as it’s known locally). A good place to watch this event is from the Whiteleaf Cross Public House situated within crawling distance of the Square.
At Christmas time, the Market Square is adorned with numerous light bulbs, as well as a huge flashing Santa, visible from Coombe Hill, 5 miles away, which illuminate the historical building quite beautifully. Thousands of residents make the pilgrimage to the town center once a year on the coldest, wettest day in December available, to watch the lights being turned on, sometimes by a celebrity (Leslie Grantham being the most famous to date). The sheer effort that goes into decorating the town each year is scarcely matched by Risborough’s neighbouring towns and villages, a fact that leaves locals jubilant and smug.

The Famous Market Square
An illuminated Market Square stands decadently as two comets pass agonisingly close over the top of the town

The Annual Festival – Established in 1996, the Princes Risborough Festival’s main aim is to promote and enhance the profile of Princes Risborough, its clubs, businesses, associations and inhabitants, and to bring a week of entertainment and general enjoyment to all who wish to participate. The festival culminates to the famous street fayre, more about that to follow. Throughout the week prior to the street fayre, a wide range of events are held from music (to suit all tastes, if tastes are ‘middle of the road’) and theatrical entertainment, to local organisations recruitment evenings, factory tours and heritage and natural history walks; all of them being extremely well attended. The Street Fayre is held on the final Saturday afternoon and attracts thousands of people, and it’s not hard to see why.
Musical entertainment provided by up and coming hip bands, as well as more established older bands, fills the Risborough air. If you’re one of the lucky ones to get to the town early enough, you may be able to grab a white plastic chair to sit and watch on. Families mingle around the Market Square to watch the performers, interspersed with pockets of sun burnt men, drinking warm beer out of plastic pint cups, but smiling regardless. Numerous stalls and fairground rides ensure a fun-filled afternoon for all the family, not just the local men who (and don’t tell their partners this!), use the Festival as an excuse to get drunk and partake in mundane conversations about how rubbish the festival is.
It says something about the community spirit in Princes Risborough that the High Street gets closed for at least a day when the street fayre is on, leading to limited parking spaces, yet there has not been one complaint to date. The organisers of the event have helped substantially in solving the parking dilemma when festival day comes around by using the local park as a make-shift car park or advising festival goers to “stick it ‘round the back of the George & Dragon – it should be fine”. The festival is as firmly imprinted on people’s minds weeks after the event, as the dents on the local park caused by the hundreds of cars driving over the soft grass.

Jolly Morris Dancers
Morris Dancers perform a rain dance at the street fayre

Nee-Noor-Nee-Noor
A fire engine rushes to a stall to extinguish burnt sausages and burgers

Restaurants – If you feel peckish when in Princes Risborough, you needn’t worry as there are a vast amount of restaurants which offer a fantastic range of fine cuisine at affordable prices. From the delicately spiced food of the newly opened Radhuni Indian restaurant, to the subtle aromatic fragrance of the food at House Of Spice Indian restaurant or the mouth-watering Indian food at Jaflong, there is sure to be something that you and the family will enjoy. Alternatively, eat as you much as you like and more, at Top Wok, where the Chinese food tastes like all good English Chinese food should. Rivalling Top Wok for the title of ‘Risborough’s Best Chinese Restaurant’ is Golden House. The food taste very similar to that of Top Wok, but can be eaten in the comfort of your own home. It has often been a topic of great debate amongst residents as to which Chinese provides the best food, but it has proved too difficult to split them. If Chinese grub doesn’t tickle your fancy and you prefer Indian food, then the Poppy Seed provides delicious meals with a smile.
There is also an Italian restaurant which offers fresh pasta dishes, pizzas with various toppings and all other stereotypical Italian food stuffs. Rivalling this for authentic food is the Turkish restaurant, ideally situated opposite the Market Square, between two Indian restaurants.

Poppy Seed Inn
The Poppyseed provides delicious food, but bring money as it isn’t really free

In part two of my look at Princes Risborough, I’ll look at the pubs and charity shops, and discuss the influence they have on the town.

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