Headlines for our October issue

Services are back
THE CAVERSHAM BRIDGE is doing its bit to support local enterprises. For this edition, we have increased the size of the paper to 20 pages to allow space for an advertising supplement focussed on Caversham and Emmer Green artists and businesses.
Our aim is to provide low cost advertising space to help boost our local economy, and more than 30 individuals and traders took the chance to promote their work. Please have a look at the supplement (pages 8-11) and Choose Caversham for your purchases … Read more

Summer shower sunset is a winner
WE ARE featuring some of the best entries in our Summer Photo competition this month. We had a number of very good submissions, and one of our team commented, “They are all winners.” The editorial team, along with Chris Walton from Walton’s Jewellers, have each selected their three favourite entries.
The winning entry was taken by Jerry Ainel Abeya on 25 July from close to Caversham Bridge; it shows the Thames, the Promenade and a colourful sunset…. Read more

Learn about Black History Month
Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month.
It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.
It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, whereas in Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, it is observed in October … Read more

Milkshake mentors
LOCKDOWN and the ensuing months have been particularly challenging for young people. They now face a return to school where there will be new rules and restrictions. For those beginning secondary school and going into unfamiliar environments, it’s going to be an even bigger change.
As Children & Families Worker at St John’s Church in Caversham, I am looking to support young people through this time and am pursuing training in supporting youth through mental health issues. I want to spend focused time with those moving up to secondary school to give them the opportunity to share… Read more

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

Celebrate local growers from the comfort of your home
DO YOU love food, enjoy spending time with family, and want to learn about how you can eat more sustainably? Then join in with Reading’s annual celebration of locally grown and healthy food on Saturday 3 October. Let’s enjoy the day together (albeit from our own households) with recipe cards, online workshops, Kahoot quizzes and much more. We even hope to broadcast live from Forbury Gardens on the day to help connect us all. … Read more

Swim free
ONE consequence of the pandemic restrictions was the closure of swimming pools. Rivermead and The Lido have now reopened, although the restrictions in place to control infection mean they have a much reduced capacity and booking is essential.
Many keen swimmers have considered wild swimming in natural lakes and rivers. There are safety concerns with this. However, over the summer, Caversham Lakes Watersports opened up for open water swimming… Read more


Time for your flu jab?
BALMORE Park Surgery have advised their flu vaccination programme will be different this year. They are expecting a high demand, but need to maintain a COVID-secure environment.
They will hold clinics for different groups at different times. This will take account of vaccine delivery and government guidance, as well as protecting their patients, and they advise patients over 65 to check their web site … Read more

A time to sing and dance
WHILST looking for something completely different, I came across this old programme, which brought back happy memories.
The festival was held annually, but only for a few years, and I would guess that this 2001 event was the last. The object was to give people a good time, and to collect money for various charities, some local and others national. The brochure states: ‘We do not charge an admission fee to our Festival, but we do aim to raise money to benefit our supported charities … Read more




All hands to the wheel
OVER the last few months, many of us have turned to local shops and services to see us through the lockdown. We have told the stories of how some of these, like Dudmans the greengrocer, have adapted.
But for many small businesses, it has been a difficult time with no work coming in for months. Even essential service providers, like plumbers… Read more

Looking for a little local inspiration?
CAVERSHAM and Emmer Green have a flourishing community of arts and crafts people. This has become obvious in the past ten years since the advent of the Caversham Arts Trails. Every year since 2010, local artists have opened their studios
for the carefully planned trails, which people can walk or cycle round, to view the work on display, watch demonstrations – and catch up with other regular ‘Trailers’!
The artist who got the Caversham Arts Trail off the ground was Julie Simmonds …Read more

Choose Caversham
2020 HAS been an incredibly hard year for most small businesses in Caversham. Many retailers were forced to close their doors for three months during lockdown, with those in the hospitality trade having to remain closed for even longer. But throughout that time, there was mutual support available via the Caversham Traders Association (CTA).
The CTA offers free membership to anyone with any type of business registered within Caversham and Emmer Green. In ‘normal’ times, face-to-face meetings are held once a month. Once lockdown happened, it was clear to us that such meetings were no longer viable. Yet we felt that the support …Read more

Bad news for ants – Yaffle has got his tongue out
BIRD LIFE on the lawn is nowhere near as varied as it used to be. There are pigeons, crows, blackbirds and robins  plenty, but it is ages since I saw a wren or a dunnock.
So when I heard, then saw, my old friend the Yaffle I knew that for a while there would be a flash of colour and a cheerful chuckle to liven up the remains of the day.
Yaffle is the name many folk give to the green wood-pecker because of its laughing cry…Read more

Plant Hedges for Wildlife and You
LOWLAND Britain was cleared of native woodland to create agricultural land. But much of the wildlife from the woods managed to live and travel within the hedgerows used to separate parcels of land. Surviving hedgerows still provide wildlife corridors through the countryside, and we can expect policies for reforesting Britain to pay for improved hedgerow management.
In towns, it is up to householders to make and maintain these corridors for wildlife. Can you help by planting or thickening up a hedge?…Read more

Eat Locally and Seasonally
DURING lockdown, particularly initially with fears of food shortages, it was very tempting to buy whatever was available during our limited visits to the supermarket. But now, with restrictions easing, it’s more important than ever to support local initiatives and growers. Could you consider what locally grown foods you could include in your diet/shopping list?
Remember, locally grown produce is picked at the peak of its ripeness …Read more

Plastic in the Thames
THE PROBLEM of plastic pollution in our seas and on our beaches was highlighted by Sir David Attenborough in the Blue Planet television series. But this is not a remote problem – it starts much closer to home. Even our own rivers are affected, and the Thames has some of the highest levels of plastic pollution in the world.
Research by scientists at Royal Holloway College and the London Zoological Society has found …Read more

A little more recycling
HAVE YOU noticed new recycling messages on bread wrappers these days? Something like ‘Recycle with bags at larger stores’. This refers to the containers at the entrance of some supermarkets for recycling plastic carrier bags. Take off the sticky plastic tape used to seal the bag, shake out the crumbs for the birds …Read more

Rose – rose I love you
WHAT HAVE you made of the great Corona Virus lockdown? With all this time on your hands, your garden must have been perfect. No! Sadly I must confess that, due to drought, my own garden was often not a pretty sight either. However, that does not mean the Cooper garden has been a failure; let me explain.
Our small garden is divided into ‘His’ and ‘Her’ parts. The front and some of the back are managed by Eunice, my wife, and these parts have looked very good. Eunice likes roses and they been particularly excellent. Like so many enthusiasts, Eunice is a David Austin Roses fan and she grows quite a lot of their old-fashioned type roses …Read more

Give us your support
LADIES, you can now give your used or surplus bras a new lease of life. The charity ‘Against Breast Cancer’ is collecting them as part of their fund-raising effort for research into secondary spread breast cancer. In the UK, 55,200 women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer – more than 150 a day. Secondary spread occurs when cancer cells from the
original tumour spread to other parts of the body where they grow into new tumours …Read more

Then and now…in praise of our NHS
A FEW weeks ago I was suffering from severe toothache. As it was during lockdown I knew I couldn’t get an appointment with my dentist, so I went to the local pharmacy for advice. It was suggested that I apply gel round the painful area and also take strong painkillers. …Read more

Community Connections – Ruth Martin
WELCOME to my new section, where each month we will get to know a Caversham resident a little better. During lockdown, kind hearted local candle maker Ruth Martin suspended production of her candles to make hand creams for local NHS workers.
Ruth, along with neighbour and friend Antonia from Antonia Taylor PR, crowdfunded locally to raise the funds to make and donate an astonishing 700 bottles of hand cream. The recipients were NHS staff at The Royal Berks, Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice and Frimley Park Hospital….Read more



Creative Caversham – Life on the sharp edge
MOST artists build up a range of favoured ‘tools of their trade’ – but Emmer Green silhouettist, Charles Burns, lives by just one item – his surgical scissors. His latest pair has served him for 12 years so far – and he doesn’t intend to hang up his scissors just yet!
Charles studied Fine Art at Wolverhampton and, having moved to London, he managed to get a pitch at Jubilee Market, Covent Garden, where he produced ten minute pencil portraits. “The pitch fee was £50 per day, which doesn’t sound much now, but this was the 80s! …Read more

Something New for Lockdown
FROM BOYHOOD I’ve been interested in local history so, while there have been no local history meetings to go to, I’ve been finishing off a couple of books I’ve been wanting to get …Read more

Spooky rhymes and racing cars
HERE AT the Weller Centre we saw many of our users and hirers returning during September and also welcomed in some new ones. We were very excited to see them and catch up on months of silence even if we couldn’t share a cuppa. We can’t quite believe how the babies have grown and changed during lockdown, and many of them are little people now! We also watched the young people go off on their first day at secondary school – most of them were just starting primary when I moved here!
September saw registration for our first ever darts, pool and air hockey championship…Read more

MakeAbility back on the case!
REMAP Berkshire is once again able to design and make free bespoke gadgets and equipment for anyone in Caversham with a disability or special need where nothing suitable is otherwise available commercially. Remap Berkshire is a branch of Remap, a national charity founded in 1964 to provide free, custom-made disability equipment.
Their service has now re-started after pausing during the lockdown …Read more