HAVE YOU heard of CoP26? Perhaps only in passing, but I’m sure someone must have mentioned it recently. CoP26 stands for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, being held this year at the end of October beginning of November in Glasgow. It is when the countries in the United Nations meet to discuss their progress on the Paris Agreement (trying to keep the rise in the global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius) and make decisions about lowering or cutting carbon emissions.
As a teenager, I feel that not enough is being done about global warming. Though many people are talking about it, few people actually know what to do to make a difference, myself included…Read more

And on a similar theme….
ONE OF THE most important international conferences for many years is taking place in Glasgow this month. Our lead article (above) gives some background from the point of view of a young person and suggests one simple action we could all take.
A number of the articles in this expanded edition (20 pages) also touch on climate change and the environment. Trish Marcouse writes about the national campaign to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by planting trees (p11), and we have a report on a recent Harvest Eco-Fest at St Andrew’s Church in Albert Road (p17) …Read more

Caversham Bridge Subscriptions 2022
DESPITE RISING printing and delivery costs, we have decided to keep the cost of the annual subscription for the Caversham Bridge at £5. The cover cost for single copies will also be unchanged. However, if you can help support us in continuing to make the paper available in our area by paying more, we would be grateful for any additional contributions. Subscriptions are due as from 1 January 2022.
The collection of subscriptions can be a challenge for our volunteer deliverers, particularly in the light of the pandemic. Last year we introduced the option for direct payment which was used by a small number of subscribers. We now aim to make this option more generally available. If you can do so, we would appreciate payment by direct bank transfer.
To identify the payments, a reference made up of your postcode and house number (or name) should be used. For example, 59 Church Street, Caversham, RG4 8AX would be RG48AX59. This will enable us to notify your deliverer that payment has been made directly. We have set up a new ‘subscriptions only’ account for this…Read more

Parkers Partnership
HAVE YOU caught sight of Parkers Estate Agents signboards in Caversham? The local branch of the company joined with Thameside Primary School to sponsor mental health and wellbeing services at the school delivered by BEAM Wellbeing.
The school has a newly established Family Hub which supports families and carers within the Thameside Community. Parkers offered to contribute £25 towards the service for every one of their signboards hosted by parents, up to a total of 30. The target was met in just two days!
An Advanced Drawing & Talking practitioner from BEAM provides gentle therapeutic early intervention to help children overcome emotional problems like anxiety, low self-esteem, bereavement and trauma…Read more

Shining a light on a dark trade
WE ARE APPALLED by news portraying scenes of death and destruction in war-torn countries across the world. We also see people fleeing those countries, risking all in flimsy boats to find sanctuary here. But do we make any connection? On 14 September, Quakers joined others taking action against the Arms Fair network, challenging attendees and listening to those directly impacted by weapons sold at this event.
The Defence and Security Equipment International Arms Fair held at the Excel Centre in London is one of the biggest trade shows for the arms industry this year. Over four days, more than 1,500 companies displayed their products to 30,000 visitors from around the world. The weapons sold by these companies cause suffering and devastation across the world…Read more

We will remember them
THIS YEAR we mark 20 years since British forces became involved in Afghanistan. On Remembrance Sunday we honour all who have served in our armed services. However, because of the constraints imposed by the Covid epidemic, it is not possible to hold the usual parade. A gathering will occur at the Caversham Cenotaph at 11:00 on Sunday 14 November…Read more

Caversham’s Christmas shopping evening CAVERSHAM TRADERS have organised a Late-Night Shopping and Christmas Extravaganza for Friday 3 December from 18:00. Caversham Artisan & Farmers Market will be putting together a selection of food and gift stalls in the precinct. Dancers, choirs and bands will be performing through the centre of Caversham in Church Street, the precinct, Prospect Street and up to The Last Crumb…Read more

Your task for the day
Welcome to ‘Fourbears Reviews’ where we briefly review a couple of titles chosen from our bookshop ‘Fourbears Books’ on Prospect Street. We are fully on the countdown to Christmas now, so pop down for all your booky Christmas gifts, advent calendars, and diaries.

THE FIRST BOOK is beautiful albeit a little sad; ‘The Death House’ by Sarah Pinborough is about Toby who has forgotten how to live. It is set in a world where death is everywhere and children are tested for a mysterious illness and, if they test positive, they are whisked away to ‘The Death House’ where they will die. The house is filled with children and we see the world through Toby’s eyes as friends he makes start showing symptoms, and there is only one outcome. Then Clara turns up and changes his world reminding Toby how to live…Read more

The Return – a book by Anita Frank
LAST NOVEMBER we published an article by local author Anita Frank describing how her first book, a ghost story ‘The Lost Ones’, came to be published. The book was shortlisted for both the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown in 2020.
A year later and she is celebrating the publication of her second novel. ‘The Return’ is a sweeping story of love, sacrifice and loss set around the Second World War…Read more

Happy Wanderer checks into The Caversham Bridge Hotel
THE EARLIEST mention of the bridge in the historical record comes in 1231 and the earliest mention of an inn at the Reading end of the bridge comes in 1614. Of course this does not mean that bridge and inn were not there long before those dates.
In their journeys between Caversham and Reading, many readers will be familiar with the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and perhaps with the former names of the building, the Holiday Inn and the Caversham Hotel. Those of us who have lived here for rather longer will remember the previous building on the site, the Caversham Bridge Hotel, gracious and spacious with lawns going down to…Read more

Garden Spider photo LaToya Atkinson

Misunderstood Critters
HAVE YOU ever wondered what lurks around in your garden and what their purpose is? One particular creature I am sure you have seen often enough, who just so happens to be the man in the middle of our ecosystem, is the very common Garden Spider. These spiders can be anything from light yellow to dark grey in colour, but they all have one specific feature that you can’t miss – white marks on their abdomen…Read more

Weller Welcome
ON 1 OCTOBER, the Weller Centre organised a special celebration of the International Day of Older People established by the United Nations in 1990. Senior Caversham residents came along to enjoy several organised activities, although the highlight of the day may well have been the meal prepared by volunteers! A busy kitchen and plenty of satisfied guests. The lunch was served by one of our young people who gave up his inset day from school to carry plates, cups and glasses – both full and empty. Once everyone had eaten, they played Connect 4, quoits and Jenga, as well as chatting at the tables…Read more

Caversham tackles plastic waste
ON THE NORTH bank of the River Thames, people in Caversham are working to reduce single-use plastic and improve the area’s eco-credentials. Plastic Free Caversham is part of the nationwide initiative by marine conservation group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) to encourage local communities towards accredited plastic-free status.
The group was founded in 2019 by local business owner Anne-Marie Evans and Caversham Councillor Ayo Sokale. It aims to help residents, businesses and schools to reduce reliance on single-use plastics…Read more

FOR SOME reason or another I think of November as a good time of year for mulching. It’s probably because my compost bins are so full and in need of emptying they are groaning. I blame that recent period when our green bins were not collected.
The answer to the full compost bin problem would appear to be to use the contents for mulching things like my gooseberries. However, as I have written before, when I did this a year or two ago it was a disaster…Read more

HAVE YOU noticed how much improved book covers are these days? Instead of a plain title and author plate, there is a bright picture here which makes us want to open the book and look more closely.
The approach taken by author Amy Boucher Pye in this book is original and likened to a chef making a Christmas pudding, with choice ingredients well blended. There are reflections on both familiar, and perhaps unfamiliar, Bible passages, mixed with memories of our Christmases gone by…Read more

The Queen’s Green Canopy
OVER THE next six months you’ll hear more and more about this project, which asks everyone to plant a tree for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and mark them on the UK map at www.queensgreencanopy.org
This is a great idea for carbon storage and biodiversity, provided it is the right tree in the right place! The carbon emitted can be significent from a tree that has been in a nursery, possibly imported and moved around the country. Add the disruption to the existing balance of micro-organisms, fungi and invertebrates from a newly dug hole, and the release of carbon if the tree is cut down because it has grown too big, and it will probably result in more net releases of greenhouse gases than it has stored over those years. And then the wood will rot down and release still more…Read more

The Climate for Electric Cars
ARE YOU debating changing to an electric car? What are the benefits and challenges for you and for the energy industry? Is an electric vehicle really greener? And how does this fit in to all the national issues on energy supply?
Phil Coker, from the University of Reading, is examining the variability of renewable energy supplies and the challenges in moving towards a low carbon energy system…Read more

Creative Caversham – Finding her path to fulfilment: El Camino leads Kate to her calling
MOST OF the artists we have met are based locally: Kate Spencer-Millan makes regular excursions to the area to contribute to our artistic community. But then, as she explained to Elestr Lee, one very special pilgrimage is the inspiration for her artistic expression.
The various opportunities for creative artists within Caversham and the immediate area are a matter of pride – and even some surprise that there is so much going on. Artist Kate Spencer-Millan had travelled some considerable distance before settling down to live in Berkshire with her husband and baby son…Read more

A Crafty Cuppa – with Corinne Atherton
DO YOU EVER wonder where the flowers you pop into your supermarket trolley are from? It turns out that they’re mostly intensively farmed and imported from abroad, bringing with them a substantial carbon footprint. Keen to find a more sustainable bouquet, Caversham-based Corinne Atherton researched a new wave of UK flower farms which take a different approach – growing blooms from seed and offering freshly cut bunches reflecting the seasons.
As an avid gardener and a lover of colour, Corinne set about growing her own flowers from her garden in Caversham, and House & Flower was born…Read more

photo Caroline Gratrix

Community Connections – Nicky Culetto
I STUMBLED across Woodland Women on social media in the summer. This is a weekly meet up for women who enjoy spending time outdoors. I thought, “That’s something I’d love to do,” so put my name on the waiting list. When a place came up, I went to see what it was all about.
Woodland Women is run by Julia Warwick (left), a Director at Path Hill Outdoors, and Nicky Culetto (right), who works part-time. At that first session we made tea with freshly picked herbs, learned how to light a fire and cooked flat breads. It was magical and I was hooked…Read more

From junk to life changer….
TAKE HALF AN old tennis ball and a bit of broom handle, and what do you have? No, not rubbish, but a remarkable wheelchair control gadget which has transformed someone’s everyday life.
Caversham resident Carole Obray has difficulty with manual dexterity which exacerbates her general mobility problems. She sometimes found her wheelchair control stick impossible to operate properly. Local engineer Robert Monk – a ‘MakeAbility’ volunteer with charity Remap Berkshire – came up with a simple solution at zero cost…Read more

Saving Lives with a Defibrillator
IN 2017 A local group was formed to ‘save’ the phone box at the top of Courtney Drive in Emmer Green which the council wanted to remove.
Firstly, we asked the local community, via a questionnaire, how the box should be re-purposed, and the majority of responders thought the box should be retained, refurbished and a defibrillator installed…Read more

The Local Scene – Art Jam Studio
THIS MONTH Janina has chosen the façade of the Art Jam Studio at no. 41 Prospect Street, heralded as ‘Caversham’s own art space. It offers a wide range of creative classes and workshops from pottery, painting and drawing, glass fusing and painting, sewing, clay modelling and much more’. For some years it has fully justified this description, and many children and adults have enjoyed the warm welcome from its inspiring owner, Sherrie Tuhy, and benefitted from the guidance of her team of experienced artists and teachers. Schools groups, children’s parties, grown-up gatherings – beginners and those of all abilities can throw themselves into the joy and fun of creating…Read more

US President visits Caversham
BUT IT WAS in 1786! During his visit to Caversham Park, Thomas Jefferson, who later became the third President, planted a White Mountain Pine in Clayfield Woods.
As part of a programme of work agreed between Econet and Reading Borough Council’s Parks Department, some space will be cleared around the tree and a commemorative plaque placed nearby. Other work includes changes to the storage of woodchip from Christmas Tree recycling on the site to discourage the tipping of garden waste in the area. A bank is also planned along the boundary with some semi mature trees. A new oak tree will be placed in the car park…Read more

Current news
THE FIRST electricity was generated from the new turbines at Caversham Weir on 27 June. However, the project suffered further difficulties with a range of statutory approvals. The last problem was a lack of water in the river! However, the Environment Agency finally gave approval in September…Read more

Enter the toys
READING FAMILY AID’S annual Toys and Teens Christmas Appeal was launched on 21 October. Due to Covid-19, we will be fundraising online again (gofundme.com/f/Reading-Family-Aid-Toys-and-Teens-21), to buy presents for children in the Reading area who live in poverty and with other disadvantages…Read more

Going Green at St Andrew’s Church
ST ANDREW’S Church & Pre-school held a Harvest Eco Fest event on Saturday 2 October. This was a new community initiative to get people together who are interested in the environment, recycling, making, growing, and harvesting. Originally, the plan was for the car park to be filled with exhibitors under gazebos, attracting passers-by along the road; alas it was not sunny but very wet! Plan B brought everyone inside, using the Church buildings. Happily, crowds of people still found us.
The Church’s aim was to raise awareness of the Climate Change Conference (COP26) meeting in Glasgow in November and of local projects and the impact of individual choices we make each day…Read more

Thursday Tea Time
THE WARREN and District Residents’ Association (WADRA) is pleased to announce our first event in over 5 years was a great success. With the Pavilion at Mapledurham Playing Fields now refurbished and finally opened, WADRA has begun to run a regular Thursday afternoon Community Café. Our first session was on 7 October and was well attended. We had a real cross-section from the community in to enjoy a hot drink, cake, and a chat. We also had a local ‘Mary Kay’ representative doing a bit of pampering…Read more

First Impressions Matter – My spelling is Wobbly
It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places– A. A. Milne
WHILST YOU might forgive Winnie the Pooh for the odd typo, a recruiter will be less forgiving if they find one on your CV.
Checking spelling and grammar sounds so simple and obvious but it’s often what lets a CV down, despite impressive content…Read more

Get Jamming with the Jam Lady – Apple and Cinnamon Jam
WE ARE NOW well and truly in the thick of Autumn with all the gorgeous fruits that go with it. This month’s recipe is for Apple and Cinnamon Jam, and it’s a great one to make if you still have apples on your trees or in your stores…Read more

Wellbeing – Taking Notice
THROUGHOUT OUR lives many of us will experience times where we find ourselves lost in our own thoughts. We may find we are so busy, making plans, going from task-to-task, or from one place to the next and pushing forward in many different directions, we don’t take time to reflect and take notice of the world around us. At other times in our lives, we may find that we aren’t busy in the same way – but are occupying our minds with ‘doing nothing’…Read more