Restoration Station Holiday Club

A LOT of fun was had at the Churches Together in Caversham Holiday Club at the end of July. In the afternoons we enjoyed a wide variety of activities including circus skills, chess, dancing, archery and crafts. In the mornings we explored stories from the gospel of St. John which revealed Jesus to be healer, life-giver and miracle worker. On the final day we considered how Jesus had done not just amazing things for other people, but how He has also done something amazing for us too by restoring our relationship with God…Read more

To Autumn

AFTER THE WET weather we have had in recent months, it feels as if we are living out the Carol King song ‘It might as well rain until September’. Let’s hope the weather improves this month.
Our September edition has been increased to 20 pages to make space for extra articles, news and photographs. For example, our report on the Swan Upping ceremony contains several colourful photographs (p10), as does the Reading Guild of Artists annual exhibition item (p8).
The Churches Together in Caversham Summer Holiday Club was enjoyed by all involved (this page, additional photos p11), although the volunteers were exhausted by the end of the week!…Read more

IN THE NEWS – Garden Awards

ONCE AGAIN, Caversham Court Gardens has achieved recognition as one of the best parks and open spaces in the country by receiving both a Green Flag award and Green Heritage Accreditation for 2023.
The Green Flag award recognises high-quality maintenance and excellent wildlife and climate-friendly practices, with winners having to demonstrate that standards are maintained and continuous improvements are being achieved…Read more


SECOND-HAND September is a campaign to encourage people to buy only second-hand items for the 30 days of September. And with the range of charity shops and other stores in our area, there is plenty of choice.
The campaign highlights the environmental impact of the fashion industry and offers an alternative. By recirculating our clothes – buying, wearing and donating second-hand – we can help reduce the demand for new clothes. This could, in turn, help to reduce the damage to our planet. For example, in making a new pair of jeans, an estimated 16.2kg of CO2 is emitted – the equivalent of driving over 58 miles in a car…Read more

Martin’s Farewell

On Sunday 23 July, the congregations of both Methodist chapels gathered at Caversham Heights, for a service led by Revd David Jenkins with Revd Martin Beukes preaching the sermon. To mark the occasion, a very generous lunch was shared by all, as we looked back over the last 4 short years to our first contact when the two Senior stewards and Revd. David Shaw met Martin on Skype from South Africa.
Four years is a short tenure for a Methodist minister, and it has come round all too quickly, marked by the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdown. We survived both and thank God for the technical skills that Martin brought, with twice weekly mailings and services accessible on Zoom, not to mention all the Risk Assessments that allowed us to reopen gradually…Read more


Warm Welcome Hub at Caversham Baptist Church

IN SEPTEMBER Caversham Baptist Church re-opens its Warm Welcome Hub. The hub is part of the national Warm Welcome Space initiative, and is supported by Churches Together in Caversham and Queen Anne’s School. Originally set up to support people struggling to heat their homes, the Baptist Church hub now provides an all-seasons welcome to anyone who would like friendly company in a relaxed environment with refreshments provided. There are board games for anyone who would like to play, and a quiet space to contemplate or pray…Read more

For your bookshelf…

Welcome to ‘Fourbears Reviews’ where we briefly review a couple of titles chosen from our book shop ‘Fourbears Books’ in Caversham.

THE FIRST book this month, Blob Fish, is a children’s picture book by Olaf Falafel. It’s a fun story about a ‘Blob’ fish trying to find a friend. Although you feel sorry for the fish, it works out okay in the end, and there are a couple of jokes that made me laugh out loud. This book has won all sorts of awards and it’s easy to see why. Although quite simple and straightforward, it’s a good little read.
The selection for adults is the first book in a new series by Simon Toyne. It is called Dark Objects, and is a modern-day thriller. A body is found in the fortress of a London apartment, surrounded by four objects…Read more

Childrens’ Writer Turns to Murder

Our creative writing group was delighted to welcome local author Kate Poels to an event in Caversham’s independent bookshop Fourbears on Wednesday 5 July.

KATE GAVE us a reading from her new novel, Murder on the Farm, before answering questions from the group about her writing process and journey.
Kate’s path to publication was not a straight line from writing a book to getting published. Best known so far for her children’s books, she tried her hand at many other genres first, including romantic comedy and young adult fiction. Not many publishers accept manuscripts directly, so getting representation by an agent was essential. A journey of submissions and rejections ensued, from which Kate learned all there is to know about the process…Read more

Happy Wanderer ponders

BACK IN May I gave a talk to the Caversham and District Residents’ Association. My subject was: Crossing the Thames between Reading and Caversham over the centuries. In preparing it, I could find lots written about bridges, but not much about the Clappers footpath, which crosses the river over the weir, and the flash lock in the middle of it. This preceded the present-day pound lock. Realising that I’d written something about The Clappers in 2016, I took down the file and found to my surprise that the picture I’d chosen to illustrate it showed not just The Clappers, but the flash lock itself…Read more


AN EXTRAORDINARY array of local artistic talent was well represented at the launch of this summer’s 92nd Reading Guild of Artists’ exhibition, which took place in Henley’s Old Fire Station from July until early August.
A large crowd attended the private preview held on the eve of the public opening, and it was quite hard to take in the vast display of paintings, sketches and 3D artworks which adorned the walls of the gallery.
Special guest of the evening was Dr Hannah Lyons, recently appointed Curator of Art Collections at the University of Reading, who had the unenviable job of choosing winners of the two annual prizes…Read more


THE SOUTH Chiltern Choral Society (SCCS), which is based at Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge School, Sonning Common, has a new Musical Director, Helen Bilkey.
Helen has taken over from Paul Burke, who has led the choir for the last nine years. Born into a Cornish family with a strong singing tradition, Helen has spent her life involved in music, both in schools and in the wider community. She pursued her passion for choral direction through the completion of an MA in Choral Education, working with the BBC Singers, amongst others…Read more

Reading Cycle Festival returns to Caversham

READING CYCLE Festival will return to Caversham on Sunday, 10 September, from 11:00 to 16:00. This free and fun event is family-friendly and will offer bike ramps for teens to try out and obstacle courses for young riders.
We took our two young children to last year’s event and particularly enjoyed the live music and stunt bike displays. We were amazed by the height and precision of the jumps the stunt team performed on and off ramps, obstacles and even their van. The commentary was lively and engaging for both children and adults. My two-year-old was so entranced that I was able to sit down for the full length of time it took to drink a hot coffee from one of the food vans…Read more

Scarlet and Gold

THE THAMES in Caversham was the scene of a colourful ceremony dating from the 12th Century, when the King’s Swan Uppers passed through on 20 July.
Each year, this census of swans on the river between West London and Abingdon is overseen by the Royal Swan Marker. This year w as the first under King Charles III. The ceremony originated at a time when the Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans, which were considered a delicacy at medieval banquets…Read more


I WAS RECENTLY asked if Scouting was still popular. It certainly is! Scouting has grown continuously for the last 13 years, and currently over 180 young people enjoy Scouting activities at the 89th Reading Scout Group every week. A team of adult volunteers deliver a great Scouting experience, making it as easy and safe as possible for our young people to push the boundaries of their experience and enjoy challenging adventures.
With an international membership of approximately 25 million and growing, the Scout Movement is the world’s largest voluntary organisation for boys and girls…Read more


DO YOU sometimes moan to yourself ‘Why did I do that?’ or, more likely, ‘Why didn’t I do that?’ Recently I purchased a Euphorbia plant Tasmanian Tiger. I am not sure why? A spur of the moment idea, I presume now. At first it was happy in its pot (I hadn’t decided where to position it), then the leaves began to droop and I watered and watered it. It became sadder with every splash. Belatedly, I decided to find out more. As perhaps you’ve guessed, when I looked into its requirements, it wanted dry conditions – not my soakings.
Even my specialities suffer from my casual approach to gardening. In the spring, I decided to grow a few delphiniums from seed…Read more

Planting For Joy

AS GARDEN centres start clearing and selling off their summer stock to make way for Christmas knick-knacks, they are also making space for spring bulbs – a timely reminder to start planning for next year. In my own garden I tend to forget to plant enough to give joy after the months of gloom. We all look forward to those early nodding yellow daffodils to remind us that winter is over. So now is the time to get the best of what’s on offer.
The great thing about bulbs is that you can delay planting almost indefinitely, or at least for a few weeks, and flowering is practically guaranteed…Read more


Celtic treat coming to Caversham

THE FORTHCOMING Autumn Festival of Music and Art which will be taking place in Caversham next month organised by Adrienne Black will have something of a ‘Celtic touch’. Two of the evenings showcase musicians from Ireland and Wales, while the festival is also featuring a special exhibition by Welsh artist Clare Williams.
Clare has had a long career in the creative arts in Wales and, four years ago, gave up her work running theatres, and now paints from her studio  based in Snowdonia…Read more

A Garden to Delight

OVER THE last 18 months, the border beside Caversham Heights Methodist Church on Highmoor Road has been transformed. The garden had been planted with shrubs, but these had become overgrown, and non-native bluebells had moved in.
Clearing the border and preparing the soil for replanting took nearly a year. Volunteers from the church worked with local gardener Will Alliston to remove stumps, roots, and buckets of bulbs! Hugh Netley, of Hugh Netley Landscapes, was kind enough to provide a design for a border filled with pollinator friendly flowers. He also sourced the plants, which were donated by a church member…Read more

Readifood Foodbank Shortages

EARLY IN the summer, Readifood, our local food bank charity, put out an appeal for support over the holiday period. It is not too late to help out. They are currently giving out around 200 food parcels a week of various sizes. This equates to about 300 tins of tomatoes, 400 tins of vegetables, and 300 tins of fruit every week.
Many people generously give food to Readifood on a regular basis, for which they are very grateful. Some people and organisations donate to the foodbank at special times of year, such as Christmas, Easter and Harvest…Read more

The Local Scene – St Anne’s School

EVERYONE WALKING through the alleyway connecting South View Avenue with Cromwell Road will have heard the joyful sound of children at play in the extensive grounds of St Anne’s Catholic Primary School. Janina Maher’s drawing shows the main entrance to the school on Washington Road.
The history of the school is extensively covered on their excellent website. The foundation stone was laid in 1899, and a report on the ceremony in the Berkshire Chronicle stated that ‘a miraculous medal, a pair of rosary beads, an engraving of St Anne, and a badge of the Sacred Heart’ had been placed in the foundations. The official opening was on 11 September 1899, and initially there was only one teacher and 32 children…Read more

First Impressions Matter – Decluttering

I OFTEN return from our summer holiday full of ideas and renewed energy. An article I read recently inspired me to start decluttering, which made me think of parallels with CV writing. So here are my top tips for decluttering your CV (and kitchen!).
Remove outdated or irrelevant information from your CV, such as expired certifications. Ensure that links, such as your portfolio or LinkedIn URL, are still functional…Read more

Go organic this September

TRUE FOOD CO-OP is embracing the Soil Association’s Organic September initiative with events, offers and product sampling in-store.
This campaign aims to raise awareness of the benefits organic farming can bring for nature, our climate and our health. Organic farming works with nature, rather than against it, by using no artificial pesticides or fertilisers…Read more

On the right track

IN OUR April edition, we reported on a consultation about a proposed safe cycling and walking route to link Sonning Common and Emmer Green.
The results of the consultation by the Cycleway Working Party, set up by Sonning Common Parish Council, have now been published. More than 1200 responses were received, with 98% positive in their support for the proposed cycleway. More than half (53%) of the written comments cited safety issues deterring the use of the busy B481 by cyclists…Read more

Wellbeing – (When) The heat is on!

ONE OF THE many reasons why summer heat can feel so draining is because our bodies are working harder to maintain a stable temperature, allowing our internal organs to function properly.
This constant internal environment is called homeostasis – something our bodies are constantly trying to keep stable. The body works hard to regulate its base temperature, and in more extreme conditions like a hot day, it takes more energy to maintain a consistent body temperature. So we may feel more sluggish or have less energy when it’s hot and it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep when the mercury rises…Read more