Headlines for our January 2021 issue

Autumn reflections
OUR AUTUMN photo competition received more entries than ever, capturing the mood of the season. Leaves changing colour in local woodlands, a fallen sweet chestnut, autumn mists, sunrises and sunsets over the river, early Christmas lights and children playing in Caversham Court gardens. Once again, the challenge for the editors and Chris Walton of Walton’s Jewellers was choosing a winner.
Our overall favourite, printed on this page, captured the transient early morning mists around Reading Bridge and the adjacent office building around 7:30 am on 5 November. … Read more

A HAPPY NEW YEAR from the team at the Caversham Bridge
IT WOULD be fair to say most of us are pleased to say goodbye to 2020. Whilst we still have a long way to go before our lives return to something like normal, we can be hopeful for 2021. Over the last year, our distribution volunteers have managed to ensure your paper has been delivered to your door despite the impact of the pandemic. So, on behalf of the Caversham Bridge team and our readers, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to all of you who have made the deliveries possible, including those who were not able to carry on and the volunteers who filled their places.
In our Talking Point this month – see page 2, recently ordained Minister Andy Storch reflects on the way many of us have felt lost over the last year … Read more

Write to the Editors
WE ARE working through the results of our reader survey and will be reporting more on this in future editions. However, a number of the responses suggested we should include readers’ letters, providing they were relevant, interesting and not
We are always pleased to receive feedback and ideas for the Caversham Bridge in the form of readers’ letters or e-mails. In the last year we have published a small number under the heading Write to the editors or have used them as the basis of short articles, such as the Mini Memories item in June and the Breath of Fresh Air article in July…. Read more

A new face at St Barnabas
A NEW Minister has been appointed to help at St Barnabas church in Emmer Green. Leonard Onugha, who spent part of his training on placement in Caversham, was subsequently ordained and has been working in Thatcham for the last 2 years. …. Read more

Sky pilot grounded
THE REV John Dudley has retired from active service as part of the Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham Parish.
For John this is a second ‘landing’, as he retired from his first career as an airline pilot with British Airways 31 years ago. …. Read more

Martin Howarth – Whitings Butchers
WE REPORTED the closure of Whitings Butchers in Coldicutt Street in our May edition. We regret to say the following notice is now in the shop window: ‘It is with great sadness we have to inform you all that Martin passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on Tuesday 6 October 2020. Martin was very passionate about his career and loved all of his customers as you were a big influence and impact on his life. We thank you for supporting him and his family through the tough times’.
The message is also on the shop’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RealMeatWhitings

A new local connection
READING Borough Council has posted the following on its Facebook page about a new social media app which connects neighbours.
‘We are now on Nextdoor! Nextdoor is a new social media app that connects neighbours to each other — and to everything nearby: local businesses, services, news updates, recommendations and stuff for sale from the people down the block. Alongside all our other social media channels, we hope to use Nextdoor to reach as many people as possible –
especially with important local Coronavirus safety messages or emergency alerts.’
Join today and say hi to all your neighbours. rdgcouncil.co.uk/Nextdoor_L9Fwg

Caversham Library now open
OUR Library re-opened just before the November lockdown. It remained open for booked appointments, although computer bookings were temporarily suspended. The home library service has continued to operate…. Read more

Online Art Exhibition
THE READING Guild of Artists’ online exhibition Celebrating our Town –Discover Reading has been ‘Expanded & Revisited’ with 90 new works added and new stories to tell, alongside works from their original exhibition launched in September 2020.
Visit their website at: www.rga-artists.org.uk/online-exhibition2.html to ‘rediscover’ Reading through the eyes of local artists. With 9 ‘Rooms’ ranging from History in buildings to Green Spaces, each with 20 or more paintings, there’s plenty to explore.

Changes to Council Wards in Reading
A REVIEW of the arrangements for electing local councillors in Reading will lead to an increase in the number of councillors from 46 to 48. The Local Government Boundary Commission report makes recommendations for significant changes in Caversham. Mapledurham Ward will become part of a new Caversham Heights Ward, Peppard Ward will become Emmer Green Ward, with some minor changes, Caversham Ward will change and a new Thames Ward covers areas on both sides of the river. The changes are expected to be in place for the 2022 elections. For full details, see the
Commission’s website at consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/18202

A tonne of tasty veg for a ‘Good Cause’
LOCAL charity Veg4Reading has been selected by the Co-op Local Community Fund as a ‘Good Cause’ that Co-op members can support when doing their own food shop.
The project, which was only set up in July, has now delivered nearly a tonne of fresh fruit and vegetables for free distribution to people in Reading badly affected by the Coronavirus crisis …Read more

Teddy’s Panama Canal Adventure
ON 14 November 1950, my parents and I left Victoria, on Vancouver Island, to sail back to the UK. From mainland
Vancouver we travelled down the West Coast of Canada and the USA, via San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Panama Canal.
I was one of two children among the 18 passengers on SS Duivendijk, a ship with the Holland America line; its final destination was Antwerp…. Read more

Cooking to help Dad
THE COVID-19 lockdown in summer 2020 was a difficult time for everyone. But for Caversham schoolgirls Bessie (10) and her sister Milly (12) it was especially tough having to cope with home-schooling whilst also helping their mother, Hannah, care for their father Neil, who has young onset dementia. When things became fraught, Neil’s specialist dementia nurse suggested Bessie cook with Neil to keep occupied and help them get along. These baking activities soon blossomed into a creative family project.
But what started out as a summer holiday exercise for Bessie morphed into a full-scale fundraising effort. Bessie asked family and friends for their favourite recipes and the memories they held……Read more

Happy Wanderer worries about… ASH TREES IN DANGER
THE ASH was always one of the commonest trees in woods and hedgerows. Over the centuries, it has acquired a vast
amount of folklore, too much to go into here.
Its name may be connected with the grey colour of the bark, which is smooth in saplings but becomes grooved and reticulated as the tree gets older. Compared with beech, its twigs are much stouter, and end in buds which are totally
black – a distinguishing feature. …Read more

MAGGIE, MAGGIE, MAGGIE – so handsome, but OUT, OUT, OUT!
AN ELEGANT bird in its black coat and tails and with vivid white splashes of waistcoat. But the harsh guttural chacchac-chac cries of the magpie announce its presence and warn lesser birds that danger is in the air, particularly in the nesting season. The magpie likes a diet of eggs and nestlings.
Gamekeepers, protecting their young pheasants and partridges, drove magpies from farms and woodland in the early 20th Century to establish new homes in the hedges and trees in the gardens of our…Read more

Write to the Editors
THE FOLLOWING e-mail from Hilary Jakeman was received by the Editors in late November. “I always enjoy reading Caversham Bridge. My husband buys it when he goes to the True Food shop in Emmer Green, and we both think it is very good. So much interesting news.
I expect I am not the only person to contact you about a glaring inaccuracy in the current issue! On page 8, you have an article about a grey squirrel, calling it Squirrel Nutkin. As anyone will tell you, who has read Beatrix Potter’s books, or read them to children and grandchildren, Squirrel Nutkin is the …Read more

Take it all back
A NEW enterprise has started operating from the Frangipani shop in Caversham, offering a refill service for a range of cleaning products. Frangipani moved from its shop next to Vegivores, in St Martin’s Precinct, to a larger unit at 21 Church Street, just around the corner, at the beginning of December. We asked Claire Anderton to tell us about the
services they offer.
NOODSkin is quickly becoming a household name in Caversham …Read more

Blooming Latin names
I WAS seated in front of my computer wondering what I should write about and then the notion came that it ought to be about those yellow daisies I like so much. Yes, of course, they are so easy to grow and they have flowered all summer. I expect readers might like to know about them. Now what are they called? My mind is blank. Was it not Jamaica Yellow? Maybe, but what variety of plant is that? I went into the garden and found the plastic label that would tell me. Sadly the name written by a so-called indelible pen had long since faded …Read more

A treat for the New Year
We asked if we could include a recipe from the Bessie Bakes recipe book featured on Page 6. Bessie and Hannah
suggested Grandma Dixon’s Shortbread. …Read more

Make a new start
THE PROMISE of new beginnings, a chance to let go of unhelpful habits and to reset, are amongst the many motivations for setting new year resolutions, but how can we make sure that we haven’t broken them after just a few days?
The smallest of changes to our day can sometimes have the greatest impact, positive wellbeing really can be simple ….Read more

Caversham Connections – Roland Hazell
ROLAND, owner of The Caversham Butcher, is a Caversham boy through and through. As a youngster he went to St Andrews Preschool, then on to Caversham Primary School and Highdown. He started his butchery apprenticeship at 15 and has never looked back.
Since taking over the much-loved Jennings Butchers in St Martins precinct just over a year ago, Roland and his team have worked really hard d to bring new products to the
community: beautifully pre-prepped meat plates, signature scotch eggs, and even cakes. They have seen their online ordering soar, most likely due to the pandemic. …Read more


Creative Caversham – It’s all in our hands
GETTING her hands dirty – in the nicest possible sense! – has long been an obsession for ceramic artist Debbie Page. Debbie, who grew up in Folkestone, was introduced to pottery whilst at secondary school.
“In art, we were supposed to spend a term each in pottery, batik and lino cutting. But I fell in love with pottery. There’s something about working with clay, it gave me such a buzz. So, in the following terms, I found someone who didn’t want to do pottery, and we swapped. I did pottery for the whole year!” Debbie recalls.
Initially, she trained as a nurse, moving into NHS management in her 20s. Moving from Leeds to Reading in 1994,…Read more

Giving Children a Hug
ST PETER’S Craft Group have been busy this summer making quilts for Project Linus. The Project provides cosy quilts for sick, disabled or distressed children of all ages. It is a volunteer led Community Interest Company, which exists to benefit the community rather than its shareholders. Its aim is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to these disadvantaged children through donations of new, homemade washable quilts, made by volunteers …Read more

Talking About Life Beyond Divorce
A LOCAL church minister has taken the bold step of writing a book describing his personal journey to recovery and restoration following the shock of a painful separation and divorce.
Keith Saynor, pastor of Grace Church in Emmer Green, was prompted to write his book, Life Beyond Divorce: My Journey, when he noticed the lack of written resources on the subject in a Christian bookshop …Read more


Reading Golf Club Development
THE CONTROVERSIAL planning application for development at the site in Emmer Green has been withdrawn by the applicants. However, the club maintains everything is on track and the application will be re-submitted shortly. The large number of comments received meant the January planning committee meeting would not be able to consider the application adequately. So, with the council’s agreement, the plans have been withdrawn and a revised version will be submitted shortly. This should allow enough time for them to be appropriately considered at a future planning committee meeting.

Called from court to church
IN NOVEMBER 2020 we reported on the ordination of Andrew Storch. Andy has now started his new role in the church as a curate in the Parish of Caversham Thameside, with particular responsibility for St Margaret’s Church, Mapledurham.
Andy runs a law firm in Reading, specialising in legal aid criminal defence work. He describes his work as having been something he was ‘called’ to do. However, in the last ten years, he has increasingly felt a new calling, to ministry in the Church. For Andy the two roles have much in common, as both have a large element of helping people. However, his work in the courts is very immediate, about the here and now. As a minister he describes his role as building a long-term relationship…Read more

Stand strong to help others
IN NORMAL times, the Witt Morgan Chorus would be at the Wesley Methodist Church in Reading busily rehearsing for their next concert. But these are not normal times.
While the group still meets online to sing together every Wednesday evening, they are also turning their talents to something other than tunes. The singers already fundraise for the Samaritans in Reading but, encouraged by choir directors Louise Morgan and Anthony Witt, they wanted to find additional ways to help the community during the Covid-19 crisis …Read more

Empty Times
by Audrey Preston
So I sit in the quiet of the garden
and words come back again and again
‘What am I doing here?’
A lone plane buzzes in an empty sky
and seemed to ask itself
‘What am I doing here?’
The birds begin a conversation
A song and rhythm in the bushes
They take on the world – no pressure or rushes
They know what they are doing there.
A red kite came to visit me
dived at me again and again
until another swirled above.
My kite knew what he was doing there
and left me sighing in the empty air
Now hope in this time to view the cost.
Allowed six together – love not lost?