To be fair, you wouldn’t really come to Hook in a tourist guise. Situated conveniently in the feeder belt of Surrey/Berkshire/North Hampshire, the town/village lies surrounded by the stark office blocks of Basingstoke to the West, the sprawling nothingness of Reading to the North, and the identikit Farnborough and military-industrial Aldershot to the East. To the South, close, but just out of reach, is the newly-designated South Downs National Park. It has it’s moments around here, but this part of the M3 corridor is brutalised by London overspill and decentralised nouveau industry.
Hook itself is essentially a business estate, residential estates, and an undersized village centre consisting of a closed cafe, a Wine Rack, one or two local services, Londis, Premier Express, Mind, and St Michael’s Hospice (presumably nothing to do with M&S). It’s very much a town of ladies wearing trousers, if you understand – very Hampshire, very upper-middle class, husband either off in the City or retired and out somewhere wearing bright corduroy trousers. The end of the polarised spectrum is aimless youth who, due to very unmetropolitan banks of snow are all hiding somewhere, except for the exuberant eyelinered mopes in the charity shops – kids these days don’t appear to understand what it takes to be a proper teenager.
Mind was the smaller of the two well-stocked charity shops – I managed to drag the constant companion away from a be-chickened dinner service on the (I thought) quite reasonable grounds that we’ve just got rid of a pile of stuff to a charity shop. I never quite know how to answer the we’ll-never-have-this-chance again argument though. St Michael’s is a pretty sizeable affair, a double-fronted facade with an extra little cubby hole for poking through books, which was good fun – at only 75p per paperback as well, this has its fair share of bargains. I left with The lives of others on DVD and Orwells’ Homage to Catalonia, both of which I’ve been interested to get hold of for some time.
Although little and slightly pointless, Hook isn’t a horrible place, not at all. I could never live here (at least, not without murders happening), so accustomed to the cosmpolis am I, but for our purposes, on this particular day – not bad.
Find: Hook @ Google Maps
Consume with: Cafe Terrace was closed, so your best bet is one of the pubs or a petrol station…
Visit: Odiham, nearby, is quite the historic village centre, although good luck parking.
Overall rating: three chintzy plates