OCTOBER IS Black History Month, and local minister Headley Gayle reflects on this in our Talking Point this month (p2) and will host a zoom meeting for Churches Together in Caversham (What’s On, 5).

Caring for others and our environment links a number of articles this month, including the work undertaken by Warren and District Residents Association (p9) to salvage discarded materials at the Reading Festival which both reduces waste and puts the unwanted materials, including food, clothing and camping equipment, to good use. This year one of the beneficiaries was a collection of clothes organised at the Weller Centre for Afghan refugees (p9)…Read more

Pavilion To Be Proud Of
THE HEIGHTS School re-opened at its permanent home in Mapledurham on 6 September. With the construction work completed, users and supporters of Mapledurham Playing Fields (MPF) will soon be able to celebrate the refurbishment and re-opening of its Pavilion. At one point, the demolition of the Pavilion to make space for additional parking had been proposed. The Warren and District Residents Association (WADRA) has worked hard to ensure the future of this valuable community asset.
To do this, WADRA funded structural refurbishment in late 2018. The building had been closed in 2015 as a result of long standing damage affecting its structural soundness. We funded this work with over £50k we had raised since 2011. The Pavilion was briefly re-opened for use after this but closed again for the completion of the work…Read more

Sleep out to help out
JOIN #TEAMLAUNCHPAD over the weekend of World Homeless Day (9-10 October 2021) and swap your comfortable bed for a sleeping bag in your garden. With friends, family and pets help Launchpad raise £60,000 to provide support for those affected by pandemic-related homelessness in Reading.
The Big Sleep Out at home will support Launchpad’s drop-in service, which provides free housing and homelessness support and information. This has seen a sharp rise in the number of people in COVID-related crisis…Read more

The Heart of the Matter
LAST YEAR the Board of the Caversham Bridge chose to support the Weller Centre in the installation of a defibrillator at their site in Amersham Road. Lockdown caused delays to the work, but the device was finally inaugurated on 11 September by a member of our Board, Janet Offord with the Mayor of Reading, Councillor David Stevens…Read more

ON FRIDAY 20 August a group of 20 people, including a number of local families, gathered together in the community garden at St John’s Church for a special garden celebration.
Local artist, Julie Simmonds, led the group in experimenting with mark making and texture in oil and water pastel to create some wonderfully expressive paintings and drawings of the foliage and flowers around us.
A number of the children who attended are part of the Gosbrook Garden Growers Group who meet regularly with Sandra Gough to help tend to the plants and produce in the garden. They do a fantastic job, and it was great to see them spending time appreciating the beauty of what they have grown…Read more

Ring if you dare
Welcome to ‘Fourbears Reviews’ where we briefly review a couple of titles chosen from our bookshop ‘Fourbears Books’ on Prospect Street. We’ve started having a few more events in the shop so keep an eye out for authors visiting if that interests you.

THIS MONTH the first book has been a bestseller in the shop. We’ve sold more copies of this book than any other since we opened last December. It’s a dark thriller, similar in tone to Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’ and to the film ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. The plot is about an apartment building, which could be in any city in any country. A new tenant is arriving and, as they ring the doorbell, one of the current residents is dragging a dead body out of sight. Every time someone dies, a new resident will ring the doorbell 60 seconds later. What is happening to all the people? …Read more

Happy Wanderer looks in to the horn of plenty
IN THE spring of 2018 I was on a botanical tour in the mountains of Crete. I happened to find myself near Mount Ida, where the god Zeus was supposed to have been hidden in a cave. Then, a few days ago, I was in Bristol showing my young nephew Brunel’s ship, ‘Great Britain’, and there, among the carved decorations at the stern, I noticed a horn of plenty.
The connection between the cave and the horn of plenty involves a bit of Greek mythology. The infant Zeus had to be kept hidden in a cave to prevent him from being found and eaten by his father, Cronos. In one version of the story, Zeus is fed goat’s milk by a nymph called Amalthea; in other versions
it is the goat which is called Amalthea…Read more

Swan upmanship
THERE IS NOTHING more relaxing than a walk along the river enjoying the sights and sounds of the Thames. So much to enjoy. Rumbling boat engines, children playing, couples sitting on the benches, dogs barking, the cries of the gulls. But my eyes are constantly drawn to the majestic swans.
The most common species found along the river is the Mute Swan, white in colour, its distinctive orange beak bordered with black. These swans are one of the largest flying birds and can reach a height of one and a half metres when standing, I find them beautiful, elegant, and graceful in their movements, especially in the water. I could spend hours watching them splash around having a bath to ensure they look their best. Hearing their powerful 3.1 metre wings, making a pulsating, humming noise as they fly overhead makes me turn my head to catch their precise, controlled landing using their large, webbed feet as their braking system….Read more

HE WAS NO BIRD-BRAIN – I shouldn’t have started this relationship
IT WAS during April when my pigeon ‘friend’, who I decided to call Clint, first appeared. Every day he came to our patio garden and sat at the same spot on the pergola looking, I thought, menacingly into the kitchen (like Clint Eastwood in the iconic bridge scene in the film Dirty Harry). I knew it was him because of his distinctive white wing markings.
Initially, when I put out bread, he’d fly away as I opened the kitchen door but came back as quick as you like. Soon he’d be waiting on the patio and would eat in front of me…Read more

The Festival Salvage Team
TEN YEARS ago, the Warren and District Residents Association (WADRA) started working with the Reading Festival organisers to ensure the safety and security of the area, and to salvage as much as possible from the items left behind on the site.
Many volunteers, old and young, have helped with our efforts over the years. After a two-year break, we were again able to take advantage of the discarded items at the Festival site. Due to COVID we had fewer volunteers this year, yet were able to collect a considerable amount of camping equipment, toiletries, clothes, and food …Read more

I DO HOPE that, because it is October, you are not thinking of going into hibernation for a few months. Come on, if we want to have that perfect garden in 2022 then we need to keep our sleeves rolled up and to toil away. But what should we be doing?
When I began writing these articles, I was pretty confident about my gardening knowledge. What an idiot I was, because now I realise my field of knowledge can be quite narrow. In reality, I should have known after the very first article, when someone asked me a question about the care of houseplants. I hadn’t the nerve to tell them I would probably find it hard to name just one houseplant, let alone have any knowledge about growing them …Read more

Young Amelie’s artful way to raise funds
DID YOU take up a new hobby during lockdown? Like many, Amelie Turnbull chose to pick up a paintbrush and try her hand at painting watercolours. Her hobby soon became a passion and, for most of us, enjoyment of such a pastime would be enough. But not for Amelie. She decided to use her creative skills to help others. She is just seven years old.
Amelie has an older brother, George, with complex needs as he suffers from holoprosencephaly, a rare brain abnormality. His condition means it is not easy for the family to get out and about. Consequently, Amelie, who attends The Heights Primary School, spent much of the summer at home, practising her skills, with amazing results…Read more

A Crafty Cuppa – with Jenni Sinclair
YOU ONLY need to know the name of Jenni’s business to understand how important the environment is to her. Making simple swaps on everyday purchases is her mantra. “Being eco-friendly can be overwhelming,” Jenni explained over a cuppa, “but by making minor adjustments to everyday purchases you can slowly make more change and make a difference.” What better place to start she thought, than a bar of soap?
Jenni uses the traditional cold-pressed soap making method, dating back thousands of years. However, making soaps the natural way is also the slow way…Read more

Community Connections – Charles Burns
I MET CHARLES recently at local community art hub, Creative Spaces, in Marsack Street when he was guest speaker for the ‘hold the floor’ ten minute session. The shortness of the slot was not a problem for Charles as he can cut a perfect silhouette in under a minute.
It was after leaving art college that Charles discovered a fascination for cutting silhouettes…Read more

Creative Caversham – Watery reflections from our riverside
Living close to the Thames has provided a regular theme for artist, Nicola Duncan. She talks to Elestr Lee about her work which frequently features the beauty of Caversham’s swans.
WHILE SOME artists are perpetually seeking new sources of inspiration, others prefer to return to a favourite subject, allowing them endlessly to re-imagine and revisit the source of their inspiration. Nicola Duncan moved to Caversham 25 years ago, and has long lived close to the Thames. She remains fascinated by the reflection from the sky on to the river, and with the vast array of river birds – but especially the swans…Read more

The Local Scene – Caversham Methodist Church
JANINA MAHER’S delightful drawing this month is of Caversham Methodist Church on the corner of Ardler Road and Gosbrook Road.
Living in South View Avenue, I pass the church almost every day and am always impressed by the activities that are being held there. Recently I popped in to the old school hall next to the church to chat to Janina, who was one of the exhibitors at the monthly ‘Artist & Makers Fair’. Walking round the exterior of the church, I could not help appreciating the unusual architecture and decorative design in contrasting brick and stonework…Read more

YOU MIGHT think Trusts are for the rich and people with complex estates. Think again. Trusts are used by people like you and me every day to protect families and inheritances.
Trusts have been around since the 12th Century and have been recorded as used by Knights to ensure their lands were looked after when they went off to battle – hence our business name!
In recent times, home ownership triggered their use for normal people who, for the first time, had a valuable asset to protect and hand down through their families. With home values at an all-time high, a Trust is a good strategy to pass these assets on…Read more

First Impressions Matter – Meet the robots
It is estimated that around 80% of large companies use ATS ATS quickly eliminates 75% of applicants.
SOUNDS A BIT scary doesn’t it, and what is ATS anyway? Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) scans your CV for key words that match the job requirements, prior to it being shortlisted for a recruiter to read.
You can have the best experience, the most amazing achievements, and be the perfect person for the job – but your CV will not reach a recruiter if it’s not readable by ATS or doesn’t score highly in matching the job role…Read more

Join the ‘Welcome to Reading’ team
A NEW volunteer-led scheme to welcome visitors to Reading is up and running at Reading Station. But we still need volunteers to join the team! Organised by Reading UK, a team of local volunteers is providing an information service to visitors arriving by train, playing their part in Reading’s economic recovery by providing a warm welcome, local information and directions…Read more

Wellbeing – Are we being ‘bugged’?
WE ARE NOT alone in our bodies. Living inside every person are trillions of micro-organisms — bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other life forms collectively known as the microbiome. In a healthy person, these ‘bugs’ co-exist peacefully throughout the body, with the largest numbers found in the small and large intestines.
The gut microbiome affects the body from birth and throughout life by controlling the digestion of food, the immune system, central nervous system and other bodily processes.
Without gut flora…Read more