Headlines for our December issue

Paint the town red (or green, silver or gold) for Christmas
MANY people have been thinking of ways to sustain connections across Caversham and Emmer Green and keep up the wonderful community spirit. So, with an uncertain winter and Christmas ahead of us all, the Caversham and District Residents Association (CADRA) would like to bring you a little cheer. We approached two local artists, Janina Maher and Liz Real, for help and received an enthusiastic response. Janina and Liz and have each produced three black and white images of Caversham with a Christmas theme. All six images are available for free download from www.cadra.org.uk  … Read more

OUR SECOND lockdown was imposed shortly before writing this article. I’m sure we all hope it will be lifted in December to allow some celebration of the seasonal festivals. Planning for Christmas is difficult in these times, as we don’t know if we will be able to meet with family and friends. Our churches will not be able to hold their usual carol services and the celebrations of the birth of Christ will be very different this year. Churches Together in Caversham, representing all the churches here, will be sending a card to every household …. Read more

Caversham Bridge price review
AT THE October meeting of our Board, we reviewed the price of the paper and our annual subscription. As a result, we have decided to hold the cost of an annual subscription at £5 for 2021. However, the cover price will be increasing from 40p to 50p for individual copies from the January 2021 edition.
Annual subscriptions are due in January. This year, as a trial, we will be offering the opportunity for some subscribers to set up a standing order to pay their subscriptions…. Read more

Looking forward to Advent
ADVENT starts on 29 November; Advent is the beginning of the church year and is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation both for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. Advent calendars, with a window for each day of Advent, are part of the preparations for Christmas in many families…. Read more

Comfort and Joy at Christmas
“WHAT WILL happen at Christmas?” the churches wondered: what can we offer Caversham with all the Covid-19 constraints? Only a few, mostly online, services can be held. The Churches Together in Caversham hatched a plan to put Christ not just back into Christmas, but into every home.
We are producing a Christmas card which we are sending to every house in Caversham and Emmer Green (16,000 addresses in RG4). Firstly, it will wish people a Happy Christmas, comfort and joy at a time when both are sorely needed. Secondly, the card will tell the Christmas story in the words of the timeless carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem”…. Read more

Bereavement Journey Course
ARE YOU grieving the death of a loved one or struggling with the long-term effects of loss? A six-session online course will be starting on Thursday 14 January (19:30-21:30). Each session will have short film clips and time to discuss in a small group. Topics include: Attachment, separation and loss, difficult feelings, rites of passage, the impact and pain of bereavement, coping with others, coping with change, moving forward and an optional session on ‘Questions of Faith’… Read more

Plant Purple Wheels to beat Polio
WE ARE IN the midst of a pandemic and about seventy years ago we were in a different one. This was polio (full name poliomyelitis), which mainly affects children rather than adults. It is a highly-transmittable virus causing permanent, partial or even total paralysis. The disease was unstoppable until the early 1950s, when US scientist Dr Jonas Salk produced the first vaccine.
In the UK and other western countries, vaccination soon proved to be effective and no cases have been reported since 1955. But across poor countries, the situation improved only slowly … Read more

Another new beginning
IN OUR April edition we included an article on the retirement of the Reverend Marion Pyke from ministry at St Peter’s Church in Caversham. We are please to report Marion married Mr Howard Roger Vaughan on 26 September… Read more

Adapting to Covid Times
FOR NEARLY 30 years, the Christmas Traidcraft sale of fairly traded gifts and charity cards we hold in our house in November has been a fixture in our calendar. With the Covid-19 virus infection rates climbing, it seemed it would be impossible to hold a sale this year. But after some thought and a careful assessment of the risks, we decided we could go ahead if we did things very differently… Read more

The Story behind Caversham Emporium
AS A toddler, my family moved from Teignmouth in Devon to Caversham. My father had just left the RAF and taken a job with Debenhams in Reading. Most of my family have now moved back, but I preferred the South East, so have remained.
I attended Micklands Primary and Chiltern Edge Secondary Schools. I wasn’t the brightest of pupils and back then slow learners sat further back in the classroom. I was in the back row! I used to love the Green Shield Stamp shop in
Caversham (where Superdrug is now), and the café that used to be in the Precinct which sold Penguin biscuits – a special treat! … Read more

Happy Wanderer remembers when…Santa Claus Came to Reading
HERE’S A tinted photograph, probably from the 1920s, showing Santa on his way to his grotto in McIlroy’s department store. The shop, which opened in 1903, was on the corner of Cheapside and what was then called Oxford Street – the last word in department stores at the time. Because the outside of the building was largely glass windows, it was nicknamed The Crystal Palace – or simply Mac’s. The building is still there, though lacking many of its original embellishments. …Read more


Robin – Hoodlum of the Bird Table
HE LOOKS so cheery and friendly on Christmas cards or perching on the handle of a garden fork while we take a breather on the allotment. There robin sits, wagging his tail and willing us to go on digging up more worms and insects for him to take home to his family. But there is a darker side to robin redbreast. Male robins, particularly, are very aggressive in defence of their territory. The average life of a robin is from one to two years… Read more


Buy a Green Christmas Tree
PLEASE join us for the annual sale of Scots Pine Christmas trees at Caversham Court on Saturday 12 December from 9:30-13:00. Because of the pandemic, this is a week later than usual, but please be patient and buy your trees from us.
These trees are the by-product of heathland management on the Camberley Special Protection Areas. Lowland heath is a rare habitat in Europe, and we are lucky enough to have most of it here in the UK. The trees hold their leaves, smell beautiful, but are a more open structure than the standard Norway Spruce. We’ll also have holly, mistletoe, willow wreaths and stars, plus bundles of ornamental greenery.
The sale will be slightly different this year to comply with Covid restrictions….Read more

Act to cut medicine waste
WASTED or unused medicine is a serious and growing problem for both the NHS and the environment. And it is something you can help tackle.
It is estimated that as much as £300 million is wasted every year in the UK on unused or partially used medication which cannot be recycled or re-used. A campaign called Only Order What You Need, working with the NHS, asks people to think carefully; …Read more

Big Bra Bank Bonus
OUR OCTOBER edition included an item by Sandy Chamberlin about the Against Breast Cancer Bra Bank. The charity collects bras which are no longer needed and recycles them, raising funds for their research. Sandy reports our readers have responded in a big way, with three recycling boxes filled already…Read more

Taking action on litter
PLASTIC FREE CAVERSHAM is a group of local residents and businesses who have joined forces to drive Caversham to single-use plastic free status under the guidelines of Surfers Against Sewage.
During the October half-term holiday the group organised a litter pick around the area. Members young and old, along with the local MP and Caversham resident Matt Rodda, and other volunteers collected 10 bags of rubbish from Christchurch Meadows …Read more

Christmas presents.
ONE OF the better things about being a ‘mature’ garden enthusiast is that at Christmas time friends and family always have a notion of what to get you. They say, “He (or she) likes gardening, so let’s get him (or her) something for the garden.”
Only too willing to help out, the Garden Centres have been stocking up with goodies since October, sometimes with things that are actually for the garden alongside the plastic Father Christmases, chocolates and. …Read more

A winter treat from the Lebanon
WE ASKED a local restaurant, the Lebanese Village on Bridge Street, if they could come up with a recipe for us this month. The manager, Naser Razin, and his chef sent the following, which is one of their most popular dishes:
VEGETABLE MOUSSAKA (Vegetarian) …Read more

Breathe deep
IN THE current climate you’d be forgiven if, like many others, life feels just a little overwhelming right now. Acknowledging that life is ‘10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it’ can be useful during the more challenging moments. The purpose of the following is to give you some hope and remind you that, whilst we can’t always change our current situation, we can change our attitude towards it.
Much is talked about the importance of self-care, ….Read more

Caversham Connections – Joyce Connor
JOYCE is a multi award winning makeup artist, skin and cosmetic specialist. Through her work and continual studies into skincare and ingredients, Joyce has found some of the best skincare brands for all ages and skin conditions. In the last few years, she has developed a love of French pharmacy, Korean and Japanese skincare brands. She has studied their skincare routines and taken the best of each …Read more

Creative Caversham – Artistic eye bringing balm to soothe us
IN UNDOUBTEDLY difficult times we have all needed to rethink old certainties and re-evaluate what is most important in our lives. For many of us, listening to birdsong and taking pleasure in watching the trees around us changing through the seasons has brought solace and pleasure that has, in part, helped us to cope with the turbulence of the past year.
Caversham artist and historian Martin Andrews sees parallels with the British public’s extraordinary enthusiasm for Robert Gibbings …Read more

A narrow escape…conclusion
Last month we introduced local resident Heather Baker (née Hudson). Her story of experiences in the Second World War concludes this month.
‘LANCASHIRE in October 1940 was so different from Eastleigh, Southampton, where our family lived in a modern three-bedroom house. Southampton was being heavily bombed, so three of us children were evacuated to stay with our grandparents and maiden aunts in Lancashire. In Great Harwood, where I was, there were long terraces of very tightly built stone houses. …Read more

The Georgian Feast – Geo-Café
ZEZVA and Keti Maglakelidze, plus daughter Alexandra, were already putting their stamp on the local food scene when they used to cook at the weekly street food market in Reading’s town centre.

They started cooking street food in 2014, as Georgian Feast, doing festivals, markets and pop-ups, and introducing Georgian spices to the UK. After residencies at pubs and cafes in the area, and running successful cookery workshops, they came to GeoCafé at 10 Prospect Street in 2018.

Keti has really brought a touch of Georgian and Caucasus friendliness and hospitality to Caversham …Read more

A Golden Age of Peace
OUR August edition included an article by Lindsay Mullaney about her book on Henry I. His 35 year reign was regarded as a golden age by contemporary chroniclers. He was also the town’s most distinguished patron, founding Reading Abbey, where he was buried in 1136. The book, Henry I and his Abbey, has now been published …Read more

Help disadvantaged children this Christmas
READING Family Aid helps children in the Reading area living in poverty and with other disadvantages. For example, they may be young carers, or living in a family affected by drug taking, physical abuse, chronic illness or disability, or they may have a disability or illness themselves.
We normally distribute toys at Christmas to these children through our Annual Toys and Teens Appeal. In 2019, we delivered gifts to over 2,000 disadvantaged children …Read more

A helping Hand – Pride of Amersham Road
IN THIS edition, the Weller Centre wants to celebrate and share the selfless work done by two of our local residents. We so often see people around us upset and complaining about the attitude and behaviour of the young people who live in the area that the good tasks like this one get missed out. Recently Isla and Ollie spent their afternoon collecting bags of litter from across the Amersham Road Estate. There was no bribe from their parents, no reward, and no incentive …Read more