I’m off angling with the Fish Wives tomorrow. I’ve not once picked up a fishing rod. The closest I got was when I went to the canal with a fishing-mad ex-boyfriend and stood, freezing cold, watching him not have a bite all day... At least with the Fish Wives there’s a picnic involved (and plenty of sunshine, hopefully). It’s good to try something new sometimes, don’t you think? I don’t expect I’ll become a fan of fishing. However, there are lots of things for you to try this month. From singing to badminton and bridge. If that all sounds a bit much, we’ve always got the usual fetes, fairs and festivals to tempt you outdoors.
This month, there are a gang of runaway brides you might just notice and will, hopefully, want to sponsor! Ashley Burnell, who owns White Rose Bridal Rooms, has recruited more than 20 women to run Newbury’s Race For Life on July 5th, in donated wedding dresses. The idea came to Ashley as a way to help a cause close to her heart; Cancer Research UK. Opulence Brides, Pure Bridal and David Tutera by Mon Cheri have donated the dresses to raise money for the charity, and Ashley hopes as many people as possible will sponsor the gang. Her sister has been undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer and several of the other women running have personal reasons for the sponsored run, too. Read more and donate by visiting www.justgiving.com/teams/white-rose-bridal
It’s carnival time! And the town and open spaces of Basingstoke and its surrounding villages are hosting nearly a month of activities and entertainment as part of their vibrant arts and cultural programme until 12th July. Described as ‘world-class but with strong local roots and connections’, the Basingstoke Festival is now into its fourth year. Starting with a colourful and spectacular carnival parade, the festival continues with music, outdoor performances and street theatre, a World Party, Family Sunday and finishes with the ever-popular live music event Basingstoke Live! For information on the full programme visit www.basingstokefestival.co.uk or follow the festival on Twitter @BstokeFestival, Facebook Basingstokefestival and on Instagram #Bstokefestival
This summer, The Watermill and Reading Rep have teamed up to present the world première production of A Little History of The World, based on the international bestselling book by E.H. Gombrich. The production opens at The Watermill from 14th to 25th July and transfers to Reading Rep from 29th July to 15th August. This brand new adaptation follows Ernst, Ilse and Otto as they take a fun-filled trip through time from the Big Bang to the present day, discovering the extraordinary achievements of mankind and its frailties along the way. See www.watermill.org.uk for more details and tickets.
West Berkshire Widows meet on the first Friday of the month, from 7.30pm at Fairclose Day Centre. The evening consists of a speaker or a quiz followed by tea or coffee, all bereaved partners welcome. There’s a handy bus available from Thatcham. They also meet up for lunch on a regular basis and generally support each other. Go along to a meeting or contact Jenny on 01635 871977.
One of Britain’s most recognisable and unique species, the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) is unfortunately becoming increasingly rare to find. For 15 years, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has been actively working to halt the decline of this iconic insect. PTES is asking volunteers to join their annual Great Stag Hunt Survey and record any sightings of stag beetles. The survey, which can be found on their website, www.ptes.org , is easy to use and with your input, PTES can better understand how stag beetles numbers are faring in the UK. By the end of May this year, only 384 stag beetles have been recorded, so all contributions are vital to this survey.
Unfortunately, the stag beetle’s tough exterior and formidable-looking mandibles encourages some people to kill them without realising they are not harmful to humans. Others, who believe the larvae can destroy living wood or timber are also misinformed, as larvae only feed on decaying wood underground. Added to which, their attraction to the warmth of tarmac and being hunted by natural predators, stag beetles don’t currently stand much of a chance at finding a mate and reproducing before the summer ends. Alongside the Great Stag Hunt Survey, find out how to create a stag beetle-friendly garden on the PTES website, giving the insect a better chance of survival.
From leaving dead wood on the ground to rot down as food and shelter for larvae, to being mindful of cats outside in the evening, we can all help to support the numbers of stag beetles in Britain. If you spot a stag beetle, ensure it is recorded: at www.ptes.org/stagbeetles
At the Newbury Floral Society’s next get-together, on Tuesday, 8th July at 2pm, there will be a flower demonstration by National Flower Demonstrator Susan Philips called ‘The Promise of Summer’. The Society meets at 2pm on the second Tuesday of each month at The Royal British Legion Hall, Pelican Lane, Newbury. Entry for visitors is £5. For more details call either 01635 48852 or 01635 200843.
There’s a few things happening at The Old Chapel Textile Centre this month. Have you been there? It’s in a really bizarre location on Greenham Business Park. You would never think there would be one there, honestly. But the ladies you find there are so helpful and knowlegable about their craft. It’s well worth visiting. Go before the 17th of July though, as the exhibit by the Wye Severn Textile Group will be open from 10am to 4pm. See the work of seven experienced textile artists from mid Wales. It’s a miscellany of their work with a variety of subject matter and techniques. Admission costs £4. ‘Above & Below The Waves’ is a huge knitted project which took two years to make with the help of knitters from all over the world and which has even made the BBC News. It’s on display from 22nd July to 6th September, 10am to 4pm, and admission is £4. Find out more online at www.nationalneedleworkarchive.org.uk . The Old Chapel Textile Centre, Main Street, Greenham Business Park, Newbury. Call 01635 38740 for more details.
Newbury Camera Club are ‘Celebrating 70 years of Photography’ with their exhibition taking place at West Berkshire Museum until 13th September. The exhibit is showing the range of work from the club members, who were asked to submit their three favourite prints. The exhibition also includes a fascinating look at the history of the Newbury Camera Club using material from West Berkshire Museum’s photographic and camera collections. The prints will be changed on 14th July and 7th August so that more than 90 prints will be displayed in total.
It’s Mary Hare’s Summer Fayre on Sunday, 5th July, from midday to 4.30pm. It’s the sixth one, so they’re having over 40 stalls to peruse and plenty of entertainment for the family. It costs £1 for adults, 50p for children and under-threes go free. It all takes place at the school on Wantage Road.
Parkway Shopping in Newbury will once again be running its summer series throughout July. The series will launch on Saturday the 4th July with the renowned and unmissable Street Party. This is certainly one for the diary, where you can expect incredible entertainment throughout the day including live music, acrobatics, Punch & Judy, Covent Garden street performers and much more. Couple this with exclusive offers from all the stores including Jack Wills, John Lewis, Schuh, PAUL and many more and you are all set for a fantastic day of retail therapy and entertainment for the whole family! Look out for Parkway’s other instalments of their Summer Series including PROMS at Parkway on Saturday, 18th July which hosts some superb classical artists in a purpose built garden on middle street. Visit www.shopatparkway.com for details.
There’s one happening at St George’s Church in Andover Road at 3.30pm. Spend a relaxing summer afternoon concert with Pimm’s and strawberries. Oliver Williams accompanies violinist Helen Page, cellist Claire Haines and soprano Amy Bennett in a programme of well-loved music, both classical and modern, with choral contributions from the harmony choir. Tickets are £8, which includes refreshments and goes towards the church’s environmental project. Information and advance booking from Helen Tuck on 01635 45978 (or you can pay at the door).
On Sunday, 5th July it’s the Berkshire Motor Show in Prospect Park, Reading, from 10am to 5pm. To book, call Steph Awbery on 07990 667503 and for more details visit www.berkshiremotorshow.co.uk
The whole village of Yattendon will be given over to a feast of classic transport on 12th July. From military heavy weights to push bikes, commercial and agricultural to motorbikes, competition machinery to cruisers, you’ll find them all, and everything in between. Bring your own classic or just pitch up. Best thing is it’s completely free. If you want to know more, call Eddy on 0777 920 6326.
Afternoon teas will be served at St Mary’s Church, Aldworth (RG8 9SB), every Wednesday from 2.30pm to 4.30pm from 3rd June to the end of August. Everyone is very welcome to visit this unique and beautiful church, home to 14th century effigies know as ‘The Aldworth Giants’. Families, walkers and groups can enjoy Afternoon Teas in Aldworth’s historic church and peaceful churchyard on the edge of West Berkshire’s Ridgeway. St Mary’s has toilet facilities and toys for children. Proceeds go towards St Mary’s conservation funds. Large groups are kindly asked to pre-book dates by calling 01635 578936.
Next up, it’s the West Ilsley Village Fete & Dog Show, on Sunday, 5th July, from midday until 4pm. It’s held on the cricket pitch opposite The Harrow pub in the beautiful village of West Ilsley. This year’s fete has owls and birds of preys display, classic cars, helicopter, crockery smashing, inflatable go-karting, a bouncy castle, raffle, silent auction, boxing ring, sweets and popcorn stall, vintage clothing, fun dog show and agility clear round, pizzas, an ice cream van, barbecue and much, much more. Entry is £2 for adults and children are free. There’s also free car parking.
St Mary’s Church, Aldworth is celebrating 700 years of consecration with a variety of events and a Flower Festival on the first weekend of August. Every Wednesday in July and August delicious Afternoon Teas will be served from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, with time to explore the treasures of the historic and beautiful church and churchyard. Groups are most welcome if you call this number first: 01635 578936. Also, on the first three Saturdays in July, from 9.30am to midday, St Mary’s will host a village produce market with refreshments all morning. For market details, call 01635 578090.
Like Scrabble? Head to St Thomas’ Church in Manor Road, Goring, on the fourth Friday of the month. Sessions 3–5pm in the Canterbury Room and it costs £2.50. There’s no need to book, just turn up. Transport can be arranged if required. Ring Antoinette Jackson on 07740 940777.
Do you suffer from back pain? Why not join a weekly hydrotherapy class run by Reading Branch of BackCare. They are a friendly group of men and women of various ages who meet once a week for an hour of exercises in lovely warm water at Pulse 8 in Winnersh. Exercises are led by a physiotherapist with a pool assistant – ideal for post-operative rehabilitation or to help maintain movement and muscle tone. It costs £66 for a six-week term and there is a reduced rate for a one-off ‘taster’. Find out more by calling 0118 9470709 or 0118 983 5582.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA