Headlines for our April 2021 issue


THE MONTH of April has a special significance this year. Not only will we be celebrating Easter early in the month, we are expecting to be able to move out of most of the pandemic Lockdown restrictions, with non-essential shops due to re-open 12 April. The last year has been a difficult time for many. Even the most optimistic of us have felt the impact of ‘Covid fatigue’, and people I have talked to have spoken of a certain weariness in recent weeks. But the days are lengthening, the NHS is leading an amazing vaccination programme and pupils have returned to schools… Read more

Winter winners in Caversham and Emmer Green
In our fourth and final seasonal photographic competition, we asked for your winter images taken in and around our area.
We were pleased to receive more than 20 entries depicting the wildlife, weather conditions and sunsets of winter. See page 12 for the results and our top choices … Read more

Advertising and the Caversham Bridge
OUR advertising revenue helps fuel the
continuing existence of the Caversham Bridge and so is very important to us. We endeavour to provide a good range and selection of trades and services, such that they offer a first port of call for our readership and, in so doing, support our local business network.
Some of the responders to our survey enquired of our criteria for an advert’s inclusion in the paper. Our aim for advertisers is that they should reflect the values of our community and family based paper, as well as providing essential services. … Read more

2B………..or not 2B
WE QUESTION what is going on in these Caversham front gardens…
During the long months of lockdown, taking a stroll around the neighbourhood has turned into something of an eye-opener. Local citizens have been busy creating unexpected surprises of their own to delight passers-by, both young and old. The rainbow drawings which were displayed in so many windows last year, have faded. But the teddy bears can still be spotted in various guises … Read more

Here to care, listen and help – Reading Street Pastors
STREET pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about our community. The Reading group are part of a national team first pioneered in 2003, and Street Pastors continues to grow throughout the UK and across the world. Their aim is simply to ‘Care, Listen and Help’.
They are usually on patrol in busy town centre areas from 22:30 to 03:00 on Friday and Saturday nights to care for, listen to, and help people who are out on the streets. They are led by a co-ordinator with support from local churches and community groups, working in partnership with the police, local council and other statutory agencies…. Read more

The Very Revd Canon Giles Goward RIP
THE PARISH community of Our Lady and St. Anne’s was shocked and saddened at the news of the death of their former parish priest, Canon Giles Goward, who died peacefully on 28 January 2021 after a brief illness.
Canon Giles was appointed to St. Anne’s in 2005. His straightforward faith, seasoned humanity and gentle and good-humoured shepherding endeared him to so many people, and he put them at ease with his personal lightness of outlook which was joyous and engaging…. Read more

The next step on the ladder
DESPITE a number of setbacks, work on the Reading Hydro scheme at Caversham Weir is making progress. A delay at the start of the project resulted in the civil engineering contractors starting work just as Storm Alex struck. The high river flows and some extra excavation caused a further four-week delay, meaning construction was increasingly vulnerable to high river flows over the winter period. The unusually high water level in January flooded the coffer dam where the concrete channels for the Archimedes Screws were being built, adding two more weeks delay…. Read more

Beanpole Day
ECONET intends to run a Beanpole Day at Caversham Court this year, on Saturday 22 May. Please do wait to purchase your tomato plants, runner beans, plant supports, herbs, perennials and so much more from our amazing voluntary groups….. Read more

Trees for Life
FOLLOWING extended consultations, Reading Borough Council has now published two new strategy documents, dealing with trees and biodiversity.
The Tree Strategy updates an existing 2009 document. It identifies the benefits of trees in our community, reviews tree cover in the town, and sets ambitious targets to increase the number of trees in Reading…. Read more

Building our community
Planning update from Caversham and District Residents Association (CADRA), bringing you a summary of planning and transport matters affecting the RG4 area.
CADRA and many others objected to the vivid blue lights atop the huge development on the former BMW site in Vastern Road, so the developers, Lochaillort, have switched them off…. Read more

Kites in the Arbour
CAVERSHAM artist Liz Real, who was featured in the November issue of Caversham Bridge, will be reopening Arts in the Arbour, a mini pop-up art gallery in her front garden on 12 April. As before, she will be selling her original artwork (collages, paintings,prints and mixed-media), plus a new series of greetings cards which will feature, among other things, the Red Kites of Caversham… Read more

Treading her own path
Welcome to ‘Fourbears Reviews’, where we review a couple of chosen titles from our bookshop ‘Fourbears Books’ on Prospect Street.
THE ADULT book this month is Circe, by Madeline Miller, published by Bloomsbury Publishing. If you aren’t a fan of Greek Mythology, then this book probably isn’t for you. If you are, hopefully you’ll love it…. Read more

How I miss that bus – Happy Wanderer recalls some streetcars of his past
THIS handbill, dating from 1930, advertises what is probably the first bus service to go along Hemdean Road. It was to start on 1 September, ‘and continue experimentally until further notice’. The experiment must have been a success,
because buses 23 and 24 still go along Hemdean Road….. Read more

Wildlife – Tale of a tail – The slow worm can think fast when it has to
THE BIG black monster is usually the first to appear. Today he trotted up the path but failed to make his morning welcoming meow. Understandably. His mouth was stuffed with a feathery white bundle. He hurried on to do what a cat has to do.
Puss No. 2 is a newcomer to the block, a very pretty cream colour with brown shoulder flashes. It paused at the patio window then went into attack mode, haunches up, tail swishing, and a quick pounce at something out of sight….. Read more

Knit-picking Kites
Following my piece about kites in the March issue we received a letter complaining that putting out scraps of wool for them was wrong. In fact I said that putting out scraps was controversial and simply reported what my friend was doing. For advice on helping birds by providing nesting materials, visit the RSPB website at:
www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/natures-home-magazine/birds-and-wildlife-articles/features/home-sweet-home….. Read more

Pollution preventers growing for the future
HEMDEAN House School in Caversham has over 160 years of history in the heart of Caversham and is now carving a legacy for the future. Forest School lessons are popular amongst our pupils. They apply their curriculum knowledge and investigative and problem-solving skills to understand the impact of their behaviour on the environment, whether in school or outside in the fields, woods or garden. Regular surveys initiate ideas for creating a more biodiverse landscape…. Read more

Fast fashion – second-hand solutions
THE MARCH edition of the Geographical Magazine included a startling item about the environmental impact of our clothes. It seems the average annual weight of the clothes we each buy in the UK is 26.7kg compared with 16.7kg in Germany and 14.5kg in Italy. Most of this clothing ends up in landfill or is incinerated….. Read more

Thanks for booking out
I WAS SO pleased to be able to collect a book from our library in March. It’s lovely to see the library open. To keep us all safe, books can be reserved and a time arranged to collect them in the doorway. Not quite the normal working conditions for the librarians, especially through the winter!….. Read more

Invite wildlife into your garden
THE advice for inviting more wildlife into your garden is fairly simple: put in a pond, plant a range of flowering plants to give nectar and pollen throughout the year, make a pile of dead wood, and change the mowing patterns for your lawn to create a meadow. There is lots of information on how to do all this online, including the Wildlife Trusts or the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) with a list of suitable garden plants….. Read more

Mary Kift

Who was Mary Kift?
FOR MANY years, the Caversham Bridge newspaper printed articles on the history of our community signed off with the simple initials MK. These initials concealed the identity of local resident Mary Kift, who would have celebrated her 100th birthday this month. Of course many readers will have known her name, but did they appreciate the achievements of this remarkable woman…. Read more

photo Amy Ward

Gold at the end of the Rainbow
YOUNG girls across Caversham have been earning their Rainbows badges despite meetings being cancelled due to lockdown.
The youngest section of Girlguiding UK has been continuing all of its normal adventures virtually, with five to seven-year-olds making their own tap shoes, becoming recycling warriors and inventing machines via Zoom….. Read more

A COMMUNITY project in Chiltern Road is growing on local residents. The road is about a kilometre long, with wide grass verges but no trees. Chris Lobina, who lives there, found he had time on his hands as lockdown started last March, so he investigated the possibility of planting trees along the verges….. Read more

Kidmore Road trees in the snow

Winter winners in Caversham and Emmer Green
AS WITH each of our competitions over the last year, the judges found it difficult to decide which photograph was the overall winner of our Winter Competition. There were plenty of entries showing Caversham and Emmer Green in the snow and the wildlife found in the area, particularly close to the Thames.
However, the Sign of the times entry from James Tyson, printed on the front page was our final choice …. Read more

Stick to the path
WE’VE HAD some bad weather lately, first the total saturation of all rural land on the outskirts of Reading, then flooding followed by frost, snow and bitter wind.
But in these times more than ever we need access to the countryside for fresh air and exercise, and for families to get out of the house for a while – to get beyond their four walls.
However, I’m concerned to see the damage this is doing, particularly in fields with crops growing… Read more

First Impressions Matter
Following a conversation with one of our regular advertisers, Laura Harmsworth, we asked her if she would write a short, regular feature for the Caversham Bridge with tips for anyone who is completing a CV or applying for a job. Over the months we hope these will help school leavers, graduates and those of any age who are seeking a fresh start as we move beyond lockdown. This month Laura introduces herself and her new feature... Read more

FLOWER POWER – Lockdown’s silver lining
HEALING has been a part of Alison Galer’s life for many decades now. For 24 years she worked as a nurse, including a stint at the RBH, and looked after kidney transplant patients in the area. Then came her decision to retrain as a professional gardener. Nowadays, she is healing the mental scars the past year has brought, by providing her design ideas to renovate and revitalise the gardens which for so many of us have provided comfort and respite during such turbulent times… Read more

Get Jamming with Sarah Roy – The Jam Lady
Back in February, Sarah Roy was the subject of our Caversham Connections feature. We spoke to Sarah and asked if she would share some of the joys of jam making with our readers. She agreed to write a regular feature for the Caversham Bridge. This month she provides an introduction for future articles…. Read more

A Distant Hum
DO YOU like poetry? I have a new collection out: A Distant Hum, from Cinnamon Press.
People often ask how I got into poetry. Although I went for the science stream at school and had a career as a chemical engineer, my interest in literature, which began at school, remained strong. Indeed I studied for a degree in English in my spare time…. Read more

IT WAS a February morning and I was not in the best of moods. Things seemed rather depressing; months of lockdown, Captain Tom had just died, and there had been enough rain to float Noah’s Ark. I sloped out into the garden and reluctantly went down to my greenhouse to remove the fleece I use to protect my cuttings. Then I looked around and saw there was life. All around new green growth was appearing… Read more

The Art of Breathing
DID YOU know that if the lungs were unravelled and laid flat they would cover an area the size of a tennis court, about 2,400 km of air pathways? Or that you breathe 22,000 times a day. How many are you aware of?
Lie flat on the ground with a cushion under your head…. Read more

Ami Roy – photo C Gratrix

Community Connections – Ami Roy
Ami grew up in India, where she trained as an architect. She moved to the UK when she was 28 and spent time living in Walthamstow, Surrey and Oxford before moving to Caversham 10 years ago.
After spending time looking after her two young daughters, Ami came across the Traditional Yoga Association in Berkshire and studied formally with them to qualify as a yoga teacher…. Read more

Tim with the trusty bike

Who’s that at the door?
WHAT DO you do if your global business is brought to a halt overnight? This was the reality for local businessman Tim Sturk last March. For more than 10 years, Tim has championed the coffee business. He believes people should be offered coffee which is ‘made well and tastes good’, irrespective of where the coffee is served – motorway service area or specialist coffee shop.
Tim’s company, Cherry Coffee Training, is Caversham based, providing advice and training on how this can be achieved around the world. He is a judge in the World Barista Championships, the pinnacle of the worldwide hospitality side of the coffee business.
But last March, on his return from a business trip, he realised the pandemic meant things would change dramatically….. Read more

Balmore House
Dear Editors,
I LIVED in Caversham during WWII and went to Caversham Primary School until 1945. I can’t add any information towards the haunting of Balmore House, but I can confirm that it was requisitioned by the Royal Army Pay Corps. The soldiers were billeted in homes around Caversham within walking distance of the house.
My family looked after two soldiers (Frank and Wilf); bed, breakfast and midday meal… Read more

A Rajahstan village class

Girls with Hopes and Dreams
AS OUR children return to school, could we spare a moment for those children and, in particular girls, who don’t get any schooling at all?
I chair a small UK charity, Grassroots Empowerment Network (GEN), working in rural Rajahstan, in an area where girls are traditionally not sent to school, partly because their lives are very home based…. Read more

Weller Centre visitors
MARCH was a strange month at the Weller Centre. The schools are back but not many activities have restarted. We are sharing a collective sigh of relief at the better weather and lighter evenings. It has been nice to enjoy time in the garden (who cares if you need three coats, five pairs of socks and a fire to keep warm).
There’s a spring in our step now…. Read more