And it rained….

THE NEW YEAR started with exceptional flooding in the Thames Valley. Caversham was in the national news, with drone shots of flooded parks and gardens. After three named storms in the final weeks of 2023, the Thames catchment was saturated. The underground gravel aquifers of the Thames floodplain showed exceptionally high groundwater levels, which appeared at ground level. So fields and meadows were awash before the Thames finally spilled onto the floodplain, which is quite normal. Environment Agency reports estimated we had received 150% of the average rainfall in the southeast for December. Any further rainfall would simply run into the rivers…Read more

Bringing in the light

DESPITE THE mayhem caused by the recent wintry weather, we are reminded that February is a time for optimism. St Valentine’s Day may be most famously associated with the month, however, we examine a different Christian festival, Candlemas, in Talking Point (p2). Happy Wanderer (p7) looks at snowdrops – aka Candlemas Bells – traditionally used to decorate the altar during Candlemas. And our obituary commemorating the life of Margaret Ellison (p9) remembers her long association with the International Peace Light, annually lit from the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and carried around the world by Scouts and Guides…Read more

A Jolly Life by the River: The Wind in the Willows

MANY FAVOURITE walks from Caversham take in the banks of the Thames, wandering alongside its curves, watching boats and birds, enjoying wellies in winter and picnics in summer. For some parts of the river, it is easy to imagine it as the scene of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, all leaf-dipped banks as trees bow into the river.
Grahame spent much of his life in Berkshire, including Pangbourne and Cookham Dean, and it is hard not to see the legacy of this part of the world in his children’s classic…Read more


Rabble Theatre hits the heights

OVER THE last couple of years, we have featured the Rabble Theatre several times, following their move to The Stables at Caversham Court Gardens in 2022. We reviewed their production of Beth Flintoff’s play, Henry I, in the ruins of Reading Abbey, in our July edition.
Their production has been included in the Telegraph’s top five UK shows for 2023 – quite an accolade for such a small company…Read more

Time to renew subscriptions – £7 for 2024

THANK YOU to those who have already renewed their subscription. Subscriptions for 2024 are now due for payment. They can be paid by bank transfer, or by cash or cheque to your deliverer. We will again be available for subscription renewals and other enquiries at Fourbears Books on Saturday 3 February, from 10:00 to 14:00, when you will be able to pay by card as well.
Payment details are as follows: Cheques for £7 should be made out to Caversham Christian News. Writing your postcode and house number or name on the back of the cheque is helpful.
For direct bank transfer our bank account details are:
The Caversham Christian News Ltd – Sort Code: 30-67-99 – Account Number: 72808960
Please include your postcode and house name or number as a reference…Read more

A Christmas Community

There were reminders of both the Christmas story and the spirit of kindness in our community over the holiday period.

THE ANNUAL Christmas Eve Nativity Live event, organised by several of the churches in Caversham, was once again blessed with dry weather, encouraging a large number of people to join in. For the first time, the procession started in the car park of The Fox and Hounds pub on Gosbrook Road. By the 16:00 start time, the car park was filled with donkeys, families, safety marshals, and an assortment of actors. After singing carols there, it was across to Westfield Park, where sheep, goats and shepherds joined the throng for more singing. Processing via the churches of Our Lady and St Anne and then St Johns (where they found the Wise Men), the pilgrims arrived at Gosbrook Road Methodist Church for more carols and refreshments…Read more

Singing for good

FOR MORE than 20 years, some of Reading Festival Chorus have provided a harmonious start to Christmas in the Grosvenor Road, Derby Road and Balmore Drive area. In what has become something of a tradition, 24 of us set off on 19 December 2023 to sing by invitation at a few homes, before gathering at the roundabout on Balmore Drive for our main event…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 pick this month is a Children’s Book by Maz Evans. ‘Oh Maya Gods’ is set in the same world as the action-packed series ‘Who Let the Gods Out’, with many of our favourite characters returning. This time the God’s Squad have to travel to the Underworld of Maya to prevent the world from ending next Thursday. Maz Evans has mastered writing for the 9+ age group…Read more

Bags of Joy

The Reading Family Aid Toys and Teens Appeal was featured in the November edition of the Caversham Bridge, so we asked them for an update on the success of the appeal.

2023 WAS A successful year for the Toys and Teens Appeal. On Sunday 2 December we cleared a church hall in Reading ready for a week of collecting the toys donated over the previous few months. By the end, 668 sacks were filled to go to 2,480 children throughout Reading…Read more

Happy Wanderer looks out for SNOWDROPS

FEBRUARY IS the month when Snowdrops flower, and people go out to see them, with Welford Park in the Lambourn Valley, and Swyncombe churchyard, nearer at hand, being favourite places.
In the wild you can find Snowdrops here and there. They seem to be rather choosy about where they will and will not grow. Several times, friends have brought me Snowdrops ‘in the green’ to plant in the garden at home, but they’ve never become established and I don’t know why. They seem to like hedgerows and the edges of woods…Read more

Delivered on time

MORE THAN 2,000 Christmas cards were posted in the 89th Reading (Milestone Wood) Scout Group Christmas Post boxes sited around our area. They were collected and sorted on 15 December for delivery over the weekend. Scouts could be seen around our streets working enthusiastically to ensure the cards reached their destinations in time. Over £820 was raised, which will be used to replace camping equipment used by the troop.
Robin Kent, the Group Scout Leader, thanked all who made use of the service, which has become something of a local tradition. It is expected to run again in 2024, so watch out for details in the Caversham Bridge in November.


FOR 37 YEARS, in a campaign originally organised by the Austrian Broadcasting Company, the International Peace Light is lit from the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. It is then carried around the world by Scouts and Guides. It is taken to at least 30 countries in Europe and across the Atlantic to America and Mexico.
For over 25 years the light was distributed throughout Berkshire and well beyond by Margaret Ellison, whose obituary is on this site. She was a faithful ambassador for this precious flame and its message. This year the flame was collected by Rev Pam Gordon, and distributed from the 89th Reading Scout HQ to local churches and Scout Groups in the Reading and Henley areas…Read more

A glimpse into the past

WE HAVE been working with both the Royal Berkshire Archives (formerly the Berkshire Records Office) and the Oxfordshire History Centre to create an online archive of the Caversham Bridge. Both have archival copies of the paper, which together provide a complete set from the first edition in 1964.
We have now completed the scanning of all the papers between 1980 and 1991 which are available to download from our website at more


LAUNCHPAD’S ANNUAL Pancake Race will be delighting Reading residents on Shrove Tuesday – February 13. There is still time to enter a team to see if you have what it takes to lift the coveted frying-pan trophy, whilst entertaining Reading shoppers and workers. Teams of four will show off their fancy dress and flip pancakes as they race the Broad Street route…Read more

Reading Library of Things

ACQUISITION OF excess ‘stuff’ is bad for the environment. It requires energy and resources in the manufacture and distribution, with only a proportion of this recoverable through recycling, and ‘stuff’ either clutters up the house or needs even more ‘stuff’ for hideaway storage. Why buy and store all those bits of equipment that you only need to use once in a blue moon? Make a resolution to borrow them instead…Read more


AS I SAT at my computer, the rain was splattering against the window. It was a chilly December afternoon and here I was attempting to write a gardening article for February readers. I was not sure my imagination was up to the task. Turning to nearby notes, I read that February is the turning point in the gardening year. Yes, it certainly is, I muttered. “The world is in turmoil and what we need is some kind of peace”. Then a wonderful peace came into my thoughts – the famous rose called ‘Peace’…Read more

Weller Winter Wonder

IT WAS A very busy day at the Weller Centre on 22 December! It all kicked off at 9:00 with two public sessions with the Reindeer from Riverways Farm in Twyford. Parents and children got to feed them and hear all about what they eat, how they live and ask all those burning questions they had. Every question was answered and kept the magic alive for them. Questions such as ‘where are the others?’ were answered with ‘Santa sent these two to Caversham to learn their way around and the others have gone in pairs to other towns’. After these sessions the children who were in at Caversham Nursery came over to experience the magic. This Reindeer visit was very kindly funded by…Read more

Terrys in St Martins Precinct – by Janina Maher

The Local Scene – Terrys

TERRY, HIS wife Lyn and their son Matt, were very busy serving customers when I dropped into Terrys. Of course, the weeks before Christmas are one of the busiest times for their shop. I have happy memories of browsing the well-stocked shelves finding all sorts of little things for our children’s stockings. The shop is an Aladdin’s Cave of toys, gifts and much more.

Luckily, Terry found a few moments to fill me in on the history of the business. Terry Woods opened a discount store in the Meadway in 1980 and, in 1990, opened a second store in St Martin’s Precinct, Caversham. This was managed by his son Matt (then only 18 years of age), who still runs the successful business today…Read more

IN THE NEWS – Congratulations to Dr Martin Andrews

CAVERSHAM resident Martin Andrews, who designed the Caversham Bridge logo and writes the Local Scene articles which accompany Janina Maher’s paintings each month, has received an honorary degree from the University of Reading. It was awarded in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the University and the town.
He received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters in a ceremony on 7 December 2023…Read more

MY MUSICMusicals

I NEVER THINK of Reading as one of the most adventurous of places. It appears to me that our council takes an age to come to any decision and, even then, sometimes fail to get it quite right.
I have never been really happy with the Hexagon, where the decision to make it a multifunctional theatre was, in my opinion, wrong. I tend to think of it as a Jack-of-all-trades but master of none theatre. I realise I am being wise in retrospect and occasionally it has been ideal for some events but often not quite right for others.
I am thinking here of the musical theatre, where I have seen many really good amateur productions which could have been even better in a standard theatre…Read more

A New Pair

A NEW property agent, Avocado, has launched in Caversham, operated by locals Debbie and Andre. They have both lived in Reading all their lives. Debbie went to school in Caversham and has spent most of her life living in and around the area. They bring this local background and their extensive property knowledge to the Avocado business model in order to offer Caversham something new.
Clients will deal with them as the business owners from the beginning to the end of a transaction. They will make sure there is just one point of contact…Read more

Six Full Body Winter Skincare Tips

WINTER IS here, which means this is the time to get your body into a good skincare routine. Dry skin is common during the winter, so you need to transition your skincare to maintain a healthy skin barrier. Think of your skin’s barrier like mortar between the bricks on a wall. When the skin’s barrier is impaired, the mortar chips away. This lets essential moisture escape from within the skin (trans-epidermal water loss), and harmful, irritating free radicals can penetrate the skin through…Read more


IT’S NO SECRET that, as we age, we start to find things harder physically. But why is this, and what can we do about it?
Our bodies peak at around 30 years of age. After that, we regress anatomically, which affects our physical output. Our muscles begin to weaken, we lose coordination and are quicker to fatigue. All of this and more happens even in the absence of disease or illness. Pretty scary stuff! So what can we do about it? One way we can age successfully is to try to maintain as much of our strength and vitality as possible through effective physical activity…Read more

Seven steps to writing your CV

IF YOU’RE looking for a new job, having a well-written CV is essential. It’s part of your job search toolbox. But where to start? Here are my suggested steps and top tips.
Choose a format

  •  Reverse chronology: Everything is written in reverse chronological order with your most recent experience and qualifications showing first. This CV is logical and makes it easy for recruiters to see your experience and progression. This format is for you if you’ve been following a natural career path…Read more

WELLBEING – Do you have a third place?

IT’S AN old concept, dating back to the late 1980s, which has new relevance in today’s hybrid/remote work environment. In fact, having a third place could have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
The term third place has its roots in sociology and is attributed to Ray Oldenburg in his book, ‘The Great Good Place’. According to Oldenburg, our first place is home. The second place is work. Our third place is a public place which facilitates social interaction and a sense of comfort. The third place is where we relax in public, encounter familiar faces, and can make new connections…Read more