Headlines for our February 2021 issue

AS I WRITE we have again entered a period of lockdown, with the NHS under enormous pressure. Vaccinations are due to start in Caversham in days – for many it has been a constant source of conversation. Once again, we are grateful to NHS staff and to all the key workers – in our shops, keeping public transport and the post moving, working in schools, and a host of other essential services. But snowdrops are flowering and daffodils are pushing up through the soil. Spring is a time for re-birth and hope and, despite everything, we have reason to be optimistic this year…. Read more

FOR MANY people who work in offices, the last eleven months have seen a dramatic change in the way they work. The daily routine of travelling from home to office has been suspended, replaced by a trip from kitchen to dining room or spare room. The conviviality of the office, shared with familiar colleagues and friends, replaced by isolation and echnology.
Working from home once or twice a week has become increasingly common. But this has been in the context of being part of a team who met regularly and know what is expected of them. When the lockdown was imposed in March 2020, work patterns were disrupted overnight… Read more

Planning and the Caversham Bridge
A NUMBER of the readers who responded to our survey in the autumn suggested we should include more on planning matters affecting Caversham. These are already extensively covered in our daily and weekly papers and on the council web site. They are also scrutinised by our local Residents’ Associations. We have included news of significant developments in the past and will continue to do so in the future. We aim to be impartial in our reporting, as some proposals can be very divisive in a community…. Read more

A Winter Winner
MANY people made an extra effort to brighten up local streets with Christmas lights this year. But one house just off Donkin Hill took their outdoor decorations to the next level. Jo’s Pocket Garden drew many visitors with its display of elves, snowmen and trees. Jo has been creating seasonal displays in her front garden for 3 years. She started with a Halloween display – we featured a photo of her 2020 display in our December edition. This year her Christmas display was awarded the title of The Most Festive House in Britain by the property website Zoopla.
Households from across the country entered the competition …. Read more

Mum and Daughter act on period poverty
LAST DECEMBER, my daughter Cara and I were talking about periods, in part following the announcement by the Scottish Government to provide free sanitary products to women and girls needing them. It’s a shocking fact, but many people cannot afford or do not have access to sanitary products, even in Berkshire. So we started the All Yours project to raise money to make ‘Period Boxes’ to help fight period poverty locally …. Read more

Building our community
Planning update from Caversham and District Residents Association (CADRA)
This is the first of a new feature for the Caversham Bridge, bringing you a summary of planning and transport matters affecting our area.
SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE’S new Local Plan has now been adopted. While some controversial elements remain, for Caversham, the main news is all the big housing sites are well away from our boundary…. Read more

A thank you from Reading Family Aid
READING FAMILY AID want to say a huge thank you to Caversham Bridge readers and everyone else who supported our Christmas Toys & Teens appeal for 2020, including our sponsors, The Reading Chronicle, Berkshire Freemasons, Big Yellow and Caversham Vehicle Hire.
During December, our team and volunteers were busy ordering, packing, sorting, delivering and unloading toys and presents. At the end of a difficult year, we were really touched by peoples…. Read more

Easy as ABC
OUR READING based charity, Assisting Berkshire Children to read (ABC to read), is recruiting volunteers who we will train to become reading mentors for children who struggle with reading.
At the moment we are training volunteers online…. Read more

A course for Lent – The Parables
The Rev Andy Storch is running a series of evening Zoom meetings through Lent on the subject of the Parables from the
New Testament. Andy will be leading those attending through five Parables…. Read more

Fourbears Books
IN OUR January edition we included a brief report on the opening of a bookshop in Caversham – Fourbears Books in Prospect Street.
The owner of the shop is Alex Forbes, who has lived in Caversham for 10 years and grew up in Woodley. Alex was working in financial services in Reading town centre, but three years ago it became apparent his work would be coming to an end before long. He asked himself what he would like to do if there were no limitations…. Read more

For your bookshelf – Strangers in the night
Welcome to ‘Fourbears Reviews’, where we briefly review a couple of chosen titles from our bookshop ‘Fourbears Books’ on Prospect Street. Each month we will pick a children’s book and an adult book that we think deserve to be heard about and read if you are a fan of that particular genre.
FIRST UP this month, the book for adults I have selected is Will Carver’s Good Samaritans, published by Orenda Books. It’s about a man called Seth who can’t sleep. He phones strangers in the night before one night he connects with a suicidal Hadley …Read more

Write to the editors – Scuppered celebration saved
One of our readers sent in the following article. It made us wonder what other innovative ways our readers may have found to make the most of special events over the last year. Write to editors@cavershambridge.org to share your story.
“My 70th birthday celebration last November was scuppered by Covid. Sunday lunch for thirty-two members of the family…. Read more

Happy Wanderer ponders… THE VANISHING SNOWFLAKE
IT WAS in April last year I wrote about the old Reading and Caversham Laundry on George Street, where there is still a laundry on the same site. It is only recently that I learned of another laundry in Caversham, in South View Avenue. By curious coincidence, someone gave me a copy of the catalogue for the sale of this laundry, which took place on 27 October 1952….Read more

THE QUAIL is one of our more modest game birds. It is not dramatic like the stripy partridge. No trailing pheasant tail. No flashy white fantail like the black grouse. So I was startled when what was obviously a quail pushed its way through the bottom hedge. It was sporting a jaunty topknot, and it should have long ago been winging its way to sunny North Africa. How come? …Read more

WALK WORKS – if you go down to the woods today…..
LIZ AND I met 14 years ago when we had our first child, we both then had our second child very quickly, in fact a mere 5 days apart. A (much needed) weekly coffee and baby chat with our group of friends bonded us all amidst the busyness of babies and toddlers. We have both always loved walking and being outdoors, …Read more

Bee kind in the winter – Late Winter Plants for Pollinators
PLANTS THAT benefit pollinators in winter provide colour and scent for us to enjoy as well. Snowdrops, winter aconites and winter crocus will naturalise and give carpets of colour during January and February. Snowdrops and aconites like partial shade and moist soils, whereas crocus want sunny, free-draining soils to open up and share their nectar and pollen with grateful bees,…Read more

Beware of those serpents
THIS IS the time of year when our gardening genes are stimulated and we feel the urge to recreate the Garden of Eden in our own backyard. Now I have been interested in gardening for a great number of years and I feel it is my duty to educate any newcomers about some of the temptations. You see there are serpents out there, just waiting to entice us into trouble and despair…Read more

A warming winter soup
For our February recipe, we asked the True Food Co-op in Emmer Green if they would like to provide us with something suitably seasonal. They suggested:
This is a winter warming soup, originating from Scotland. There are probably as many recipes for cock-a-leekie soup as there are cooks! Some use rice or even a couple of tablespoons of porridge oats (which will thicken the soup a little) instead of barley, some omit the prunes and the bacon, and some use a bay leaf instead of thyme. Whatever you choose to do, it is a hearty soup which can serve as a main course…Read more

Time for bed – and so to sleep
A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees Murmuring;
the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky –
I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie
William Wordsworth, To Sleep
IT APPEARS that many of us are back to counting sheep, as difficulty sleeping has become more of an issue in lockdown. Caused perhaps by a lack of routine or the demands of a more challenging routine of home schooling …Read more

Community Connections
This month we get to know something about Caversham resident Sarah Roy.

FORMER primary school teacher Sarah put a request on social media for friends’ excess fruit and started making jam during the summer holidays of 2016. A few friends suggested she start to sell her lovely jams…Read more

Shining the light
STAINED glass windows have been a feature of cathedrals since the Middle Ages; Victorian and Edwardian architects introduced the craft to front doors and porches, some of which are now in need of restoration. This month, we meet stained glass artist Nicola Kantorowicz, whose work adds a magical touch to the streets of Caversham.
Many of us have discovered that an unexpected benefit of lockdown has been the opportunity to spend far more time walking around our own neighbourhoods, ….Read more

Robin and Eve Bentham
IT IS WITH overwhelming sadness that the Warren and District Residents’ Association (WADRA) Committee announces the death of Robin Bentham, Chair of the Association between 1999 and 2019. Robin died of natural causes at his home on 10 December, having been predeceased by his wife, Eve Bentham, who died on 30 November …Read more

In memory of Ute Lord 1933 – 2020
OUR MOTHER, Ute Lord, moved to Priest Hill in October 1961 from Clapham. From the start she was happy in her new home, with three small children and the fourth on the way. It was heaven having her own garden and not having to struggle up and down five flights of stairs with babies, shopping, etc.
Mum hadn’t seen the house before moving, and it was pitch dark when they arrived (the removal van broke down on the way from London!). We never knew how she managed, being seven months pregnant, and with three little ones to care for. The gas and electricity were off, so she couldn’t see the house she was to live in for the next sixty years until the morning. Luckily, a friendly neighbour helped, providing candles and soup. Even today Priest Hill has a very friendly feeling.,…Read more

Wilfred Owen Window Appeal 
RENOWNED First World War poet Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918), lived locally, in Dunsden, from 1911 to 1913. His parents and sister are buried in Dunsden churchyard.
In 2014 the Dunsden Owen Association launched a special trail around the local places Wilfred knew, and installed an interpretation board on the village green. The Association has now partnered with the parish of Shiplake with Dunsden and the Glaziers’ Company to launch a project to design and install a stained glass window in All Saints church…Read more

Creative space for healing, wellness and team-building
IN OCTOBER 2019, less than 18 months ago, local artist and businesswoman Tamalia Reeves opened her new studio in Marsack Street, Caversham. Her vision was to build a creative space that brings local community together with local artists through the medium of art.
Since launching her business she has offered art and craft workshops for both adults and children, birthday parties, baby showers and hen dos …Read more

Act locally for a global impact – Fairtrade Fortnight
NORMALLY at this time of year, the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) in London Street would be ramping up to Fairtrade Fortnight, which takes place every year at the end of February. Founded in 1995 by the Fairtrade Foundation, this two-week festival brings together people and groups from all over the UK to raise awareness of trade justice and to celebrate craft producers and farmers from around the globe.
RISC has helped co-ordinate Fairtrade Fortnight for many years on behalf of Reading Fair Trade Town. Over the years…Read more