Caversham Artisan & Farmers Market
Janina’s drawing this month is not about permanent buildings but a ‘temporary shopping centre’ of independent retailers and us, individuals, friends and families, enjoying a Sunday visit to the Caversham Artisan & Farmers Market.
It’s rather ironic that one of the effects of lock-down, despite isolating, has been to bring communities together – whether at a social distance, in person or on-line. We increasingly identify with our locality, and the growing success of our local market is part of that… Read more

Celebrations and Commemorations
THIS MONTH we have a bumper edition of the Caversham Bridge for you (20 pages). With the lifting of most lockdown restrictions, some of the activities we have missed for the last 18 months are restarting.
Clubs are planning for a future without the need for Zoom, and musicians are preparing to make music together. Local orchestra the Langtree Symphonia is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and is seeking players (p17), whilst the South Chiltern Choral Society celebrates its 70th anniversary (p16) …Read more

God’s love is bigger than a burger…
IF YOU’VE BEEN going to bed humming “God’s love is bigger than a burger” over the past weeks then you probably know what this is about. If not, read on…
Due to Covid-19, Churches Together in Caversham (CTC) were unable to offer the usual week-long holiday club we do every summer. So instead, this year we planned an event at six different churches in Caversham to take place on Friday mornings throughout the summer.
We got off to a brilliant start at the beginning of the summer holidays …Read more

A place to listen and share
BEREAVEMENT CAFÉS have been running for some time throughout the UK. They provide a place to find others who have suffered loss and are able to appreciate something of each other’s experiences. Everyone’s experience of grief is personal. Cafés such as these provide a space to talk about the pain of loss and to find mutual support and encouragement when people most need it. The Bereavement Café format is not a form of counselling, as most bereaved people don’t need formal counselling…Read more

Welcome to ‘Fourbears Recommends’ where we briefly review a couple of chosen titles from our bookshop Fourbears Books on Prospect Street. As restrictions have started to relax, we have started having author events in the shop. On 19 September we have local Poet Robin Thomas giving a reading from his new book.
FIRST UP is a lovely, funny picture book called ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ by Drew Daywalt. One day Duncan opens up his box of crayons to find a letter from each crayon saying they had quit! Each crayon has its own reason; Blue is tired from colouring all that water, Pink doesn’t feel like it’s ever used, and the list goes on. Drew Daywalt has created a fun, imaginative story…Read more

The inside story
CAVERSHAM resident Colin Ferguson spent thirty years as a Probation Officer, the last ten in Reading. In his book ‘Behind the crime’, Colin tells the story of his journey into crime when he moved from the safe environs of the Bank of England to the chaos of disordered lives.
Whatever the crime, there is a human story behind it and, though many crimes are frightening and even horrifying, most of them are stories of human failure. This book is full of the people with whom he worked from the late 60s until his move to Reading in 1979. This was South London, reeling from the power of the Krays and Richardson gangs…Read more

Happy Wanderer on the trail of Autumn Lady’s Tresses
THIS UNASSUMING little plant is an orchid, as you can see if you get down to peer at it, and it’s the last of our wild orchids to flower, so September is a good time to look for it. It’s probably far more widespread around Reading than is generally realised. Growing in short grass, and itself only 3-6 inches tall (8-15 cm), it’s easily overlooked.
I remember how, some years ago when Thames Water was selling off the old water tower and reservoirs at Bath Road in Reading, the protestors cited a colony of Autumn Lady’s Tresses orchids as a reason why the site should not be sold off.
The best site to see it reasonably nearby is the former airfield on Greenham Common, now a nature reserve to the south of Newbury and Thatcham. The plant obviously likes the dry habitat created by the crushing up of the old concrete runways, and it’s hard to walk around parts of the site without treading on orchids in September. Most visitors probably never notice them at all….Read more

BRIAN CECIL LEE 1930 – 2021
WE CAN now unmask wildlife columnist William Cecil as the journalist Brian Lee, who died at the end of May this year. His final column appears below.
Brian was born in Kent and, as a young man, trained on his local newspaper, moving swiftly to Fleet Street after doing National Service. He switched from national newspapers to Weekend magazine, part of the Daily Mail and Associated Newspapers group, spending almost four decades with the company.
Following many happy years in Cambridgeshire, Brian and wife Betty moved to Caversham in 2012. Brian took to his new neighbourhood with enthusiasm. He supported local music groups and made new friends…Read more

THE OTHER day a completely unexpected visitor shouldered its way through the bottom hedge. It was obviously a chicken but unlike any chicken I had seen before. It had silvery blackish breast feathers, a dramatic white tail with black spots, and a neat red comb to top the lot.

The bird was certainly not the usual product of any poultry farmers’ free-range prairie, or from barn mass production. So I started leafing through dozens of pictures of rare breeds. Eventually it came down to the Hamburg.
These were first bred by the Dutch before the 14th century…Read more

Creative Caversham – September ’21 Art on tour

LOCKDOWN HAS not dampened local artists’ determination to create. With no arts trail, many have taken the opportunity to show there work in venues elsewhere, reports ELESTR LEE. And for one, with prize-winning results!
This summer, there have been great opportunities to catch up with the work of local artists – the only snag being that we have needed to travel to view the exhibitions. Many of the artists we feature on this page not only take part in the Caversham Arts Trail, but are also members of the Reading Guild of Artists…Read more

HOW LOVELY to stroll up Donkin Hill on a sunny morning to visit Liz Real’s Art in the Arbour event, and to meet some ‘friends of old’. Bet Tickner had a lovely display of items made using hand blocked fabrics from Rajasthan in India. Bet was fortunate to travel to India and visit the factories where these beautiful fabrics are made. She recalled the accuracy of the printers, who use no machines. The blocks are applied by hand and built up to the final print. “Every home has a sewing machine,” said Bet…Read more

Showing this September
CAVERSHAM’S talented artists have been keeping busy, and there will be several opportunities to see their work during the coming month. September always marks the launch of Heritage Open Days across England; among the activities taking place, the Turbine House is re-opening its doors from September 10 – 26 to host a special exhibition curated by Jenny Halstead and Linda Saul, called The Last Gasometer and Reading’s Changing Skyline. The 25 artists invited to picture the town include Caversham’s Martin Andrews…Read more

Wild about trees
THE CLIMATE Change Committee say that, to reach our national carbon net zero commitment by 2050, woodland cover in the UK needs to increase from the current 13% to 19%. At the last election, political parties were tripping over each other to announce larger targets for tree planting.
At the same time, rewilding projects, or natural regeneration, have received a lot of publicity. This includes the large-scale rewilding project at the Knepp Estate in Sussex. Both approaches result in more tree cover which, unless they convert wet meadows or bogs to woodland, increases the carbon storage per hectare of land. However, natural regeneration has some extra benefits, as well as a few potential problems…Read more

THIS IS THE strapline of the Soil Association’s Organic September campaign for 2021. Every year, they support organic businesses to raise awareness of the benefits of choosing organic food for people, wildlife and the planet.
True Food Co-op in Emmer Green is our local, wholly organic grocery shop. In mainstream supermarkets, organic products are often separate and need to be identified as ‘organic’. At True Food, only the handful of non-organic products are identified as such – everything else is organic!…Read more

Taking to the water
LAST OCTOBER we reported on the rising popularity of free swimming at Caversham Lakes. But I had not realised there was another water-based activity available on the opposite side of the lane. Through a gate into another former gravel pit and the world of water-skiing!
The ISIS Water ski & Wakeboard Club has been using the site for some years and has an established club house and facilities. However, this year they have hosted a water ski school which is run by husband and wife (and baby Leo) coaching team Chris and Ellie Mullins.
Chris started his life on the water at the age of 11, when his father bought a boat…Read more

The cannibals of View Island
I WAS chatting to a neighbour the other day and she mentioned she had been taking photos of insects by the Thames. She had not been able to identify a particular caterpillar and showed me the photo on her phone. I recognised the distinctive Cinnabar Moth caterpillar immediately. I had seen the same sight on View Island in July last year, during one of our lockdown walks.
The caterpillar of the Cinnabar Moth is most unusual, because it can feed on Ragwort…Read more

Making the most of it
WAY BACK in the past, did you ever fall in love with someone and then later realise they weren’t quite as perfect as you’d originally imagined? Perhaps they looked absolutely wonderful, but it dawned on you gradually that they had the brains of a peanut.
Isn’t it a bit like that in the plant world? There are some lovely flowers that flash their beauty for a day or two and then become quite tedious. Over the years I have been tempted to grow some pretty flowers that sadly come and go before I have had time to really appreciate them. Sometimes the foliage that remains is quite nice but often it is boring, or at least it is in my opinion. My prime examples are Bearded Irises and Peonies…Read more

House plant of the month – Spotlight on: Monstera minima
THE MONSTERA minima, as its colloquially called, is often seen as the miniature cousin of the Monstera deliciosa – as the two plants share several of the same traits. Many don’t know that the minima is a separate species entirely, it’s botanical name is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. I’m reminded of the old adage about the rose still swelling sweet… despite the frequent miss-identification, Monstera minima is a much sought after kooky, climbing plant…Read more

Community Connections – Fazilet Secgin
I MET Fazilet when she came on our first guided WALK WORKS walk in April. It didn’t take long to learn she is a warm and generous person, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her better on walks since.
Fazilet is a media and art consultant, with a degree from Greenwich University and an MA in Global Media and Communications from SOAS. She started her career working in media companies in London and Istanbul.
She came to Caversham from London when her husband’s role at BP moved to Pangbourne. As she continued commuting to Kensington, it took her a while to connect with Caversham…Read more

AS THE sound of Puccini’s Messa di Gloria echoes through our screens, we realise the importance of technology and how it has helped a long-standing choir to continue their practice throughout a pandemic. However, Zoom rehearsals have been going a short time compared to the long history of the choir. South Chiltern Choral Society (SCCS) celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.
It started in September 1951 with the amalgamation of the village choirs of Peppard and Kidmore End, when the new choir became South Chiltern Choral Society. Then, in 1957, with the building of Chiltern Edge School, it moved there for rehearsals and concerts…Read more

Weller walk to Wembley
‘WELL DIDN’T the summer break fly by?’ said no parent ever! If you’re reading this, then well done on surviving! We’ve had an amazing summer here at the Weller Centre, with lots of young people in the centre. They have been fed and watered – as always – and have taken part in plenty of activities. Breakfast club had arts and craft activities, as well as some special guests. Young people were entertained by an illusionist who also taught them some illusions, had the chance to handle exotic animals and tried their hands at glass fusing.

On top of all that excitement, they learnt basketball skills, and every young person who attended took part in our walking challenge. We awarded certificates and medals to them for walking from Paddington to Park Royal, Paddington to Wembley, Paddington to Watford and a full 26.2 mile London Marathon…Read more

First Impressions matter – Why and how should you tailor your CV?
YOUR CV MUST be tailored to every role you apply to. Writing a generic CV and using it for numerous applications without changing the content is unlikely to land you an interview.In many cases, your CV will be passed through applicant tracking software (ATS), scored against the key words/skills of the job advert, and ranked. If it ranks highly, your CV will be sent to the recruiter. If you don’t tailor your CV, it’s less likely to match the key words/skills, so more likely to go to the reject pile…Read more

WE ALL know volunteering is an excellent way to help others, but did you know it can also have a positive impact on the volunteers themselves?
Numerous studies have demonstrated that volunteers can benefit from a boost to their own wellbeing. This can result in an increased sense of happiness and life satisfaction, and a reduction in feelings of depression and anxiety. Moreover, other studies have shown volunteering may even be related to better physical health.
The right volunteering role(s) can provide you with a unique gateway to accessing the five paths to wellbeing…Read more

Get Jamming with Sarah Roy – Blackberry and Apple Jam
I OFTEN GET asked what my favourite flavour jam is and I always reply Blackberry and Apple. It reminds me so much of my childhood, walking across local fields and footpaths, and gathering blackberries with my mum. Of course I’d end up with purple fingers and lips – I couldn’t resist the juicy fruits along the way! Blackberries are very low in pectin but, fortunately, the addition of apple always ensures a firm set…Read more

Wellbeing – This thing called sleep
THE WORD ‘circadian’ is taken from the Latin words ‘circa’, meaning about and ‘diem’ meaning around. Circadian rhythm is a natural process that controls the sleep-wake cycle. The sleep-wake cycle is determined by complex interactions between the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system.
Sleep and the circadian system exert a strong regulatory influence on our immune functions…Read more