Headlines for our July 2021 issue

Early morning, Sulham Woods photo R Stallard RDNHS

THIS MONTH the Caversham Bridge has a focus on some of the voluntary work undertaken in our community. We start on this page with the story of a twice postponed wedding and how Rachel Williams responded by donating her hair to a charity which makes wigs for children and young people. We report on an advisory service which has been set up at the Weller Centre (p5) and celebrate the work of the many volunteers who have assisted in responding to the pandemic (Tour de Thanks p13).
The work of Reading Family Aid, who have supported needy families in Caversham and across the Borough in recent years, has been recognised with a Queen’s Award (p15)…. Read more

The long and the short of it
YOU MAY remember an article last August about the postponement of our wedding. Well fast forward another year and we’ve had to postpone it again. Let’s hope it will be third time lucky for us. However, that’s not the reason for this article, although there is a link. When Sam and I got engaged back in 2018, I decided to grow my hair long for our wedding, as it was then very short.
My idea was to let it grow as long as possible and then cut it off to donate to the Little Princess Trust… Read more

F0r your bookshelf – No to cold coffee
SADLY, THE famous children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle passed away recently. Carle created some favourites like ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’. His drawings are unique and distinctive – the hand painted collage technique he used creates such colourful and recognisable drawings.
‘Do You Want to be My Friend?’ is maybe a lesser-known title by Eric Carle but just as beautiful. It follows a mouse on an endearing journey looking for a friend. … Read more

Another brick in the wall…
THE LONG wall beside the allotments at Caversham Court has some unusual features and has been puzzling the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens. If you walk through St Peter’s churchyard and turn left into The Warren, you will see a long, high brick wall stretching down to the River Thames. This is the western wall of the kitchen garden of the old house later known as Caversham Court. On the inner (allotments) side of the wall there was once a peach house and a palm house. On the outer side, what we see from the Warren are 22 equally spaced buttresses built along the 220ft (67 metres) length of the wall. The brickwork dates from the latter part of the 19th century … Read more

Down by the riverside
FOR THIS month, I’ve chosen to illustrate the Flowering Rush, which technically isn’t a rush at all. Although uncommon, it’s something to look out for along the Thames and the Kennet in July and August, and its pink flowers make it particularly attractive.
Geoffrey Grigson, in his book ‘The Englishman’s Flora’, gives only three English names for it – the Flowering Rush, Raxen, and Pride of the Thames.
The leaves are triangular in cross-section, have sharp edges, and look much like the leaves of the tall plants among which it grows – Flag Irises, the Sweet Flag, and the Reed-Mace or Bullrush – so unless it’s in flower, it’s almost impossible to spot … Read more

ONE OF the most shameless frauds in my garden is the black headed seagull. First, it’s probably never been to sea; you are more likely to see it following a tractor in search of worms than following a trawler, snapping up the discarded entrails of the catch. Second, our gull is not black headed; on closer inspection it has a dark chestnut head and, in winter, the mask fades to two dark spots.

Landgulls were first tempted away from the sea when they discovered rubbish tips. Snatching sandwiches from the hands of hungry day trippers was also a welcome change from a daily diet of fish, fish, fish. Another reason for the exodus was the Clean Air Act 1956 which banned the burning of rubbish. This increase in easily available food led to a huge jump in the number of gulls who ran out of coastal nesting sites – so the gulls moved inland… Read more

On the wing in July
THIS MONTH I am featuring July visitors you may spot on the wing in or over your garden.

The comma (Polygonia c-album) is an easy butterfly to identify because of the oddly tatty looking wing edges. It is a woodland butterfly that often comes to sunny gardens for nectar in mid-summer. The main food plant for the caterpillars is nettles, but sometimes they will use currants, hops or willows instead.

Overhead, the Swifts (Apus apus) are back for their 3-4 month annual visit to the UK to breed… Read more

Be Bee Friendly
A FEW weeks ago, I received an on-line message from the RSPB reminding me to make my garden wildlife friendly. I like to think that in a half-hearted limited way I already try to do just this. They suggested we grow seven plants: Lavender, Marjoram (Oregano), Catmint (Nepeta), Verbena bonariensis, Foxglove (Digitalis), Helenium and Geranium. Again, I did feel slightly smug because I do grow most of these missing out only on Catmint (cats are forbidden in my dog owner world), and Marjoram that I don’t recall ever growing. The RSPB memo suggested avoiding double flowers because they haven’t the nectar and pollen that insects need… Read more

A Crafty Cuppa – Tamalia Reeves
When lockdown hit in 2020, Tamalia’s bookings for creative workshops closed, and after dusting herself down she decided there was only one thing for it. Equipped with paintbrushes and brimming with ideas, Tamalia and her mum got artistic with the studio space. Walking in last week was like arriving at a creative sanctuary for the soul! Tamalia’s obsession with the rainforests is everywhere – think jungle oasis and you’re half way there!

“I wanted to bring together a creative community where we could celebrate each other’s work,” explained Tamalia… Read more

Community Connections – Emma Gaines
This month, we learn something about local resident Emma Gaines, of Hutch Homestore
EMMA LIVES in Caversham Heights and has opened a shop in her garden shed. Intrigued as to her unique approach, I went along to find out more. She’s always been fascinated by interiors and fashion, design and one-off pieces; Emma just inherently knows what she likes and ‘what works’. When doing up her own home, friends would always tell her she should be an interior designer.

She toyed with a few ideas before deciding to open a curated space in her garden shed, but let me tell you, this is no ordinary shed. Firstly, you’re hit with the most divine smells and, as you enter down the corridor, you are met with the most beautiful array of home furnishings, candles, pots, creams, leisure wear, readers, art work – the list goes on… Read more


The Stand Of Trees – Nicolette Carter

Nicolette Carter talks to Elestr Lee about the TV challenge which put a spotlight on her artistic talents.
The past year has proved exceptionally busy for this month’s artist. Not only has Nicolette Carter been busy home-educating her daughter, Francesca, while providing online and classroom lessons to key stage one and reception children at Brimpton Primary near Thatcham but, last July, she found herself winner of an episode of BBC One’s Home Is Where The Art Is, and the publicity has resulted in many new commissions to fulfill.

“At first I thought it was a scam. I got an email, then a phone call – then another. I finished up being offered a Zoom interview – I had never done anything like it before!”
Read more

Caversham Baptist Church
RIGHT IN the centre of Caversham on the mini-roundabout between Prospect Street and South Street, a large Baptist Church dominates the view and is celebrated in this month’s drawing by Janina Maher. The building was designed by one of the nineteenth century’s greatest architects – Alfred Waterhouse (1830–1905). Reading and Caversham can boast a number of distinguished buildings by Waterhouse who is best known for his glorious design of the Natural History Museum in London. Locally he designed the large part of Reading Town Hall, Reading School, and a number of grand houses and churches. He built in a rich Gothic Revival style and particularly enjoyed decorative brickwork and terracotta tiles and motifs… Read more

Will you put it off again?
THINKING ABOUT your Will and how you want your property and assets shared out after you die is something that no one really wants to do… but you know you should.  I speak with people every week about this, and one thing is clear – there is always a great sense of relief once it has been done!

It has been estimated that two thirds of people in the UK do not have a Will or any other form of estate planning in place, with the average person thinking… Read more

First Impressions Matter – Use your skills in your CV
RECRUITERS see hundreds of CVs. When you apply, they’re looking to see if your skill set matches the role requirements. Prior to recruiters seeing your CV, many medium to large companies (around 70% of them) use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to do a first sift, primarily using keywords to rank each CV.
To be seen, your CV must have the relevant key skills for that role littered throughout it. If you’re changing career, focus on your transferable skills… Read more

These boots are made for walking
THERE HAS been a rise in the popularity of walking these last twelve months, as pandemic restrictions have prevented us from travelling to see family and friends and limited the number of people we were allowed to be with at any one time. But at last things appear (fingers crossed) to be easing as infections of the virus are reduced and we are now able to exercise outdoors with others.

We are surrounded by beautiful countryside in the Caversham area… Read more

READING Family Aid, whose work we reported on in our February edition, was thrilled to receive a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June this year. The award is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. Ruth Perkins, Chair, said, “When we heard that we were to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service we were excited, astonished and humbled. It was a huge honour to be nominated but to actually receive it was overwhelming.”… Read more