Headlines for our November issue

War and peace – Readers remember the best and the worst of times
RELUCTANTLY I have to admit summer has ended and darker evenings are now with us. November is a month of remembrance. The month starts with All Souls Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. This is a day of prayer and remembrance for those who have died, which is observed by some Christians. Then Bonfire Night on 5 November, when we remember the 1605 Gunpowder Plot the subject of our wordsearch on page 7.

November 11 brings us to Armistice Day, marking the end of the First World War in 1918. … Read more

War and peace – Support the Poppy Appeal
THIS YEAR has been different for all of us and, unfortunately, the Remembrance and Poppy Appeal period this year will also have to be very different. The Royal British Legion has decided there will be no locally organised face-to face collections this year. Any collections will be organised and undertaken at Regional level…. Read more

Enter our Autumn Photo Competition
LAST month we published details of the winning entry in our Summer photo competition. Our autumn competition is open now with a £25 John Lewis Gift Card as the prize. The closing date is 1 December 2020, so not much time now!
Please state where and when your photo was taken, and include the story behind it. Images featuring people are welcome, especially if they are engaged in some form of activity. But you must … Read more

A new start
A NUMBER of our churches are now able to welcome worshippers into their buildings after many months of closure. In each case a great deal of planning and risk assessment has been involved in the preparation of something we all took for granted until the Coronavirus struck.
At Caversham Heights Methodist Church, a small number of people who cannot access services on Zoom are now invited to attend, with seats set out at the appropriate ‘socially distanced’ spacing.
There is a one-way system into and out of the church and the service is limited to 40 minutes in total. Singing is not allowed in the church and masks must be worn. It is a small move in the right direction, but still a long way from the normal service… Read more

One more step on the way
ANDY STORCH, curate in the Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham Parish, was ordained priest on 19 September at Reading Minster by the Bishop of Reading, Olivia Graham. The service, which had been postponed from June due
to the Covid-19 pandemic, had restrictions in place, such as a requirement for face coverings.
Three deacons (Andy, Amy Cavender and Julie Howell) were presented to Bishop Olivia. They declared their intentions to pray, lead God’s people, proclaim the gospel, administer the sacraments, and fashion their lives according to the way of Christ – all by the help of God…. Read more

It’s all happening
News from around Emmer Green and Caversham… Read more

A long way from home – braving the war to ‘do their bit’
IT WAS VE Day, and we were on Lockdown. I got to thinking how I could celebrate my late Jamaican father’s part in WWII. I lost my dear dad in 1996, and I’m so sorry we didn’t talk at any length about what he did during the war, but I do know he served as a clerk in the RAF Medical Corps.
Digging deep, I found a couple of photographs of dad in uniform, and posted them on WhatsApp to friends and family. It was lovely to hear their comments, so that made my VE Day.
Back in 2009 when I visited my late honorary uncle and his wife in Jamaica, he recalled how he and dad were the greatest of friends at school. He related how they joined the RAF to serve in England to help the ‘Mother Country’ win the war … Read more

Mysterious Elf-cups
I HOPE to go down to the woods this autumn to see the colours of the falling leaves and to look for fungi. Maybe the sounds of the tone poem ‘November Woods’ by Arnold Bax will be going through my mind which, for me, invokes the wind in the branches and the swirling of leaves.
The fungus I’ve chosen as the subject of this article is one you’ll be lucky to see, but it’s easy to see where it’s been at work, and it is common… Read more

Nutkin’s going crackers
FROM early autumn onwards the hazel by the bottom hedge has been alive with activity. It was coppiced some years ago and the vigorous new stems produce side shoots which are time of year. There is nothing the grey squirrel likes better
than cobs, so from dawn until dusk, Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin leaps from branch to branch gathering nuts in November.
As soon as his cheek pouches are full he comes down, scoots across the lawn – then pauses.  He or his family can’t possibly eat all he gathers, so he must
hide them for harder times to come. First he scratches a hole in the lawn … Read more

Tree time
EVERY garden has space for a tree. Perhaps for beauty, for fresh fruit, for wildlife, for shade to sit under in our hotter summers, or to conceal the ugly shed next door. Perhaps even just in a pot if there is very limited space.
Recently much has been made of planting trees to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and that’s brilliant IF the tree is in the right place and will grow to maturity. Otherwise the overall process of growing it in a nursery, soil disturbance during planting, and a limited life could release more greenhouse gases than it absorbs. So think about what is best for your space … Read more

Generating Interest
THE SCHEME to install hydroelectric turbines at Caversham Weir has made significant progress in recent months. Reading Hydro, a community benefit society, has now managed to raise sufficient funds for construction to begin.
This follows a successful share offering early on this year and a second opportunity for local investors in August, which saw the total raised reach £980,000 by mid September. Ninety six percent of the investors are people and businesses
that are local to Reading and the Reading area. …Read more

In too deep….
I WAS watching Gardener’s World on the television the other day and Carol Klein was talking about one of my favourite herbaceous perennials, Monarda. This took my mind back to some time ago, probably in the 1970s when I had a small group of these lovely flowers that were really attractive. I loved their aromatic plumed blossoms of crimson, pink and mauve, and the bees loved them too. But, fickle gardener that I am, time went by, boredom set in, and I neglected them when a new fad took over. Eventually they disappeared.
Some years later I thought, “I’ll grow some Monarda plants again just like I had before.”… Read more


Cook up a seasonal treat
We asked local restaurant Vegivores, based in St Martin’s Precinct, if they could come up with a seasonal recipe for us. Sarah, their Head Chef, sent the following: Squash & Almond Hot Pot (Vegan & Gluten Free) …Read more

Dreams really can come true – How I Came to Write The Lost Ones
SOMETIMES I have to pinch myself: dreams really can come true. All I ever wanted was to be a writer, but it seemed such an unattainable goal. My first serious attempt came when I entered a competition run by Reading Libraries and Historical Mills & Boon – to my astonishment I won. But the celebrations were short-lived – soon after, my infant son was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy that was to leave him severely mentally disabled. Overnight my priorities changed and my writing dreams firmly shelved.
In the years that followed, I never stopped jotting down my book ideas, but somewhere along the way I lost the courage to write; …Read more

Community Connections – Matt Emmett
MATT Emmett is a Caversham based landscape and heritage photographer. His eight-year photography project titled ‘Forgotten Heritage’ won him Architecture Photographer of the Year in 2016 and then the inaugural Historic Photographer of the Year the following year. His work captures and documents ruins and at-risk heritage, and is not only stunning but historically important. Matt works with Heritage Open Days and gives lectures on…Read more

Creative Caversham – Pop Art – to help out
Life may be changing in ways that were unimaginable at the start of 2020. But creative new ways of coping and living with the ‘new norms’ are being discovered. Caversham artist Liz Real has come up with new ways to bring her work to the community, whilst helping to raise awareness and also much-needed funds for Reading’s homeless charity, Launchpad.
“I have come up with ‘Art In The Arbour’ – a special little space I have outside the front of my house, where I can display my greetings cards and my art. It’s a socially distanced pop-up gallery,” explains Liz. “I advertise it on social media, and people make appointments to come around – some I already know, or else they have spotted my Facebook page. Some people don’t want to go to the shops, but they are happy to come to me when they need to buy cards.”
Liz came up with the idea …Read more

A narrow escape..
Heather Baker, who lives in Matlock Road, Caversham, was 90 years old last year. With the VE Day celebrations in May she was inspired to record her own story of living through the Second World War. Heather writes,
‘THE SECOND World War was a very traumatic period in my life and that of my family. At the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939, I was living with my parents in Eastleigh, near Southampton. …Read more

Happy Caversham Christmas
TO ADD a little cheer in difficult times, Caversham and District Residents Association (CADRA) is working with two local artists: Liz Real (who features in our Creative Caversham article this month) and Janina Maher. Liz and Janina are producing six black and white drawings of Caversham landmarks with a Christmas theme. From mid November, these will be available on the CADRA website www.cadra.org.uk for anyone to download, print and colour in. …Read more

If you go down to…
DURING the lockdown, many of us put posters, bunting and soft toys in our windows to cheer up passers-by. But in Hemdean Road, two neighbouring gardens close to Balmore Park Surgery have gone much further and become quite a local feature.
Local residents Mike and Hester have lived in Hemdean Road for more than 20 years. Their front garden has been used for small displays, often with a theme relating to current affairs. Since the pandemic restrictions were imposed, the space has been invaded by a Fairy Castle, with logs and twigs transformed, as if by magic. To finish the scene, there are delicate ladders made from twigs, fairies wearing facemasks, wooden doors and windows, and an aerial ropeway….Read more

Caversham Precinct – a different view
I HAVE drawn from a young age and studied womenswear design at university which involved a lot of artwork; but doodling and sketching have always been a hobby. In recent years I have dabbled in it by doing little cartoons for my kids’ lunchboxes. I haven’t done anything this detailed for some years but thought I would give it a shot. I posted the sketch on Facebook where it attracted some attention – perhaps because of the contrast between the vegan café and the butcher’s! I have now set up a Facebook page to showcase my work at: www.facebook.com/RockPaperString/Read more

Pop in to a pop-up
NEITHER a dull, windy morning, nor the Covid-19 virus stopped me from holding my thirtieth Macmillan Coffee Morning on 25 September. In the early days, when I was Leader at Crawshay Playgroup it was held in the grounds of Caversham Park Primary School. Since I retired, I have supported Macmillan Nurses every year at my house in Caversham Park Village and I was determined to do so again this year. I decided to hold the event outside, …Read more