What summer sight sets your heart soaring? For me, Berkshire aflower with natural beauty is one of the best places in the world to be. Nothing lifts the spirits like basking in a sunny spot such as Twyford’s Loddon Nature Reserve as butterflies jumble along. What’s more, thanks to the advice from Sir David Attenborough and local wildlife groups, all of us can help preserve the whimsical sights which inspired Lewis Carroll’s madcap Alice In Wonderland, 150 years ago this month – read on!
The South Chiltern Choral Society is proud to present an All American Concert at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham (RG4 6DX). This will take place on Saturday 4th July which is, of course, Independence Day, at 7pm. This is the third concert directed by South Chiltern Choral Society’s conductor, Paul Burke, after his acclaimed Christmas and Spring concerts. The society will perform Chichester Psalms - by Leonard Bernstein, Old American Songs arranged by Aaron Copland and Jazz Classics arranged by Gwyn Arch. The beautiful school grounds are available for picnics from 5.30pm. Tickets can be obtained by visiting www.southchilternchoralsociety.org.uk or by calling Caroline Jones on 07500 032840. Adult tickets are £12 and under-21s tickets are £6 each.
Summertime and the living is easy! Just sitting in the garden, enjoying eating strawberries... ahhhh! We’ve been speaking to the friendly bunch at Caversham Horticultural Society who have a great event if you’d like to embody the dream of eating homegrown fruit in your own garden. Jan Lambourn of Sheepdrove Organic Farm will be giving a talk on how to grow soft fruit successfully on Wednesday, 15th July. This will be held at our usual venue Caversham Primary School at 7.45pm. Entrance fee for non-members is £3 but join the society on the evening for £5 and attend the rest of this year’s talks for free.
Apparently, you music-loving readers have been flocking to the Readifolk events, which draw in good numbers from Caversham and Sonning. With this in mind, it’s well worth telling you about the July ones! Readifolk meet in the Conference Room at RISC on Sundays from 8pm to 10.30pm. On 5th July is a guest night featuring the young, award-winning singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Louise Jordan. On 12th July the highly acclaimed singer/songwriter John Conolly makes a return visit. The brilliant singer/songwriter Anthony John Clarke is the guest on 19th July and on 26th July, it’s a singers night which follows the usual format: sing a song, play a tune, read a poem, tell a joke or just come and listen. Admission is £6 on guest nights and £2 on singers nights. For more information visit www.readifolk.org.uk or call Una on 0118 9483145.
Tempted by our All Aflutter feature to get your garden blooming? Woodley Flower Club are having their monthly Flower Arranging Demonstration on Tuesday 6th July at Coronation Hall, Headley Road, Woodley (RG5 4JZ) at 7.45pm. See Katheryn Goddard from Surrey demonstrate arrangements based on Pennies from Heaven – and maybe win one of them in the raffle! Doors open 7pm – arrive early for a cuppa and chat with the friendly gang. Visitors’ admission is £5 each. For further details, call the club’s chairman on 0118 969 5697.
Caversham and Chiltern Flower Club present an event by Coral Gardiner; ‘Put Your Garden on a Pedestal’ on July 8th. Arrive for 7.30pm at the Methodist Church in Highmoor Road, Caversham (RG4 7BG). Entrance fee is £5.50 for visitors. For more details please contact Shirley Sexton by calling 0118 9412329.
Now, it’s getting hot in here! And, on that note, here’s one for those who might like to relax in their birthday suits. Bracknell mixed sauna club is a naturist club that hires the Forest Spa Suite at the Bracknell Sports & Leisure Centre for two hours every Sunday evening. The club has existed for more than 30 years and its members come from all walks of life. Some are keen naturists but others just prefer not to wear a clammy swimming costume in the sauna. The facilities include a sauna, saunarium, steam room, two jacuzzis and a foot spa. There is also a pleasant lounge area with loungers and tables and chairs. For more information, call Val or Bill on 0118 969 0500.
A fete worth mentioning, in a stunning location. Caversham Church Fete starts on Saturday, 11th July, in Caversham Court Gardens. This family event is organised by St Peter’s, Caversham, and St Margaret’s, Mapledurham, and offers all the fun of a traditional English event. Entertainment will include a bonanza of music and dancing, stalls selling everything from cakes, plants and bric-a-brac to jams and preserves and sideshows including a coconut shy, hoopla and Hook a Duck. Fred in the Shed will also be keeping the little ones entertained with a fun show for all ages followed by children’s races. The Berkshire Maestros and Hurst Morris People will also keep you entertained. This all sounds like hungry work to me, so tuck into refreshments including homemade cakes, tea, coffee, ice cream and a Pimm’s tent by the river. A ticket for the grand draw could win you a Kindle Fire, a Barrett Photography portrait pack and four rounds of golf at Caversham Heath Golf Club plus many other great prizes. All this fun starts at 1.45pm with the ringing of St Peter’s bells and a Spitfire flypast. All the money raised will go to help the parish’s work both at home and abroad. Hope to see you there!
The next meeting of the Caversham Allotment Association is on Tuesday 14th July at Church House, Caversham, next to Waitrose. The speaker will be Gillian Franklin from Cross Lanes Apple Farm who will talk about The Apple Year – a subject which I am sure will be of interest to most gardeners (and pie-lovers). Gillian’s talk starts at 7.30pm and there are refreshments and a raffle. Entrance is free. Contact Carol Wheeler on 01189 475802 for further details. Don’t forget that Church House now has a lift which will appeal to all those who were prevented from attending in the past due to the stairs.
The polite folk from Caversham Horticultural Society have asked us to pass on apologies to anyone who turned up for their May talk and found it was cancelled. The speaker was ill and it was too late to rearrange another speaker at so short notice. However; July is the season for eating soft fruits. Imagine lounging in your desk chair consuming fruit from your own garden. If growing fruit seems daunting, head to the group’s July talk for inspiration and advice. Joy Lambourn of Sheepdrove Organic Farm will be speaking on this subject on Wednesday 15th July. This talk starting at 7.45pm will be held at the usual venue, Caversham Primary School, in Hemdean Road. Admission cost for non-members is £3 and refreshments will be served after the talk.
And, here’s an advance diary date for all gardeners in the RG4 postal district! The society’s popular autumn show at Emmer Green Primary School will take place on Saturday 12th September. Details of show categories can be found on the website www.caversham-horticultural.org.uk or can be picked up at the Oakley Road allotment trading shed (Saturdays 10–11.30am). Plenty of time to get growing and show off your produce!
Vivace Voices Ladies’ Choir are holding a concert on Wednesday, July 15th, at 2.30pm in St Stephen’s Church, Pangbourne Road, Upper Basildon, (RG8 8LS). Previously, readers from RG4 have been enthusiastic attendees, so do spread the word! The programme includes songs from Irving Berlin to Bach, WWI songs, ballads, readings and an instrumental piece. Tickets are £3 on the door, including delicious savouries, cakes and tea. All proceeds from the event will go to Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice in Maidenhead.
The Reading Open Air Shakespeare returns with Shakespeare’s most lively farcical comedy, replete with comic accents, laundry baskets and faux fairies. Performances take place each evening at 7.45pm from Wednesday 15th to Saturday 25th July (except Sunday), for the fifth year in the beautifully restored gardens of Caversham Court, on the banks of the River Thames, close to Caversham Bridge.Shakespeare’s bawdy comic romp follows hapless rogue, Sir John Falstaff, as he attempts to woo, swindle and cheat the two irrepressible wives. But he finds himself no match for their cunning, as they repel his odious advances, heaping humiliation upon humiliation on him. Meanwhile a jealous but blundering husband tries to catch Falstaff in the act of seducing his wife, and young Anne tries to outwit her distracted parents and avoid arranged marriage to be with the man she loves.
The play is presented by Progress Theatre and visitors will find a licensed bar (of which the Bard would almost certainly have approved) and audience facilities available. Tickets are available by calling 0118 384 2169 or visiting www.readingopenair.com
Emmer Green Pre-School will be hosting its annual Summer Fair on Saturday, July 18th, from 1-4pm at Emmer Green Primary School. There will be plenty of fun for all the family, including; Wacky Wheelers go-karting, an animal roadshow, bouncy castles, a fire engine and ambulance, storytime tent, archery, fencing, traditional fair games and activities, craft tent, face painting, tombolas, coconut shy, raffle, great refreshments (including Pimm’s tent) and much more – all amongst a variety of fantastic stalls. All are welcome! Entry is £1 for adults and children go free. Visit www.emmergreenpreschool.org.uk
Much Ado about Nothing comes to Eye & Dunsden Village Hall, in Dunsden Green (RG4 9QG). The Pantaloons will take on Shakespeare’s play in a fast-paced, physical and funny new production, which arrives here on Sunday, July 19th, at 6pm. Beth Timms from the village hall gave us this taster: “The boys are back from war and it’s time for celebration; until villainous Don John decides to spoil the fun... Will Claudio and Hero fall foul of his plots? Will Beatrice and Benedick stop bickering and fall in love?” Sounds better than any soap! Gates open at 5pm for 6pm performance. There’s a bar and refreshments, or bring your own picnic and a rug to sit on. Tickets are available from the Pantaloons’ website priced at £12, £30 family, £8 student, £6 under 16. On the gate (if space available) £15, £35, £8 and £6. Visit www.thepantaloons.co.uk for tickets and more tour details. And help the village hall charity by visiting www.dunsdenvillagehall.co.uk and following @dunsdenhall on Twitter!
The Roy Bailey Band returns to the Goring Social Club on Thursday, July 16th, at 8.30pm. If you like big band swing from the 1940s and some updated jazz ‘n’ funk, this is for you. The wonderful Beccy Kean will sing so it’ll be a Big Band Plus! With great music and free admission to a great venue with great beer (and a chance to check out the Goring Social Club) this evening is not to be missed.
The MillsTones Dance Band will play at St John’s Church, Gosbrook Road, Caversham, (RG4 8EB) on Saturday, 18th July, at 7.30pm. Dance or just listen to the music of the Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Duke Ellington Big Band era. Tickets are £10 from 0118 9475120 or on the door. You are invited to bring your own drinks. For further details, visit www.stjohnthebaptistcaversham.org.uk
More theatre, now. ‘Beyond The Doll’s House’ is a new show with live music and an animation film, performed at 7.30pm on Friday, 17th July, at Wesley Church in Queen’s Road, Reading. The Witt Morgan Musicventures team explore the fears and hopes of two children, William and Victoria, whose new-born brother or sister is due to come home the next day. Whilst they wait for news, the children discover an old doll’s house. They visit strange lands and peoples on a richly imagined make-believe journey of emotional discovery. The show features stunning artwork in a silhouette animation film, and a cast of 100 professional and local singers with a professional orchestral-band who perform live well-known pieces from an inspiring range of orchestral and vocal music. Excerpts from the opera Hansel & Gretel, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, well-known songs from Oliver!, the magical Peer Gynt by Grieg, and music by John Williams, Copland, Coldplay, Billy Joel, and Bach. Advance tickets are £14/£11 concessions. Call 0333 666 3366, or on the door they are £18/£15. Visit www.beyondthedollshouse.com to discover more about the show and the other great local artists involved.
Live better, help often, wonder more. That’s the inspiring motto of The Sunday Assembly, which is adding a little joy to the lives of people in and around Berkshire. These are free to attend, not-for-profit and volunteer-run events that aim to help the community and bring people together, regardless of faith, or lack of it, by channelling the virtuous circle approach. Songs, cakes and uplifting ideas and chats are the aim of each ‘sermon’. July’s is “From Faith to Faithless”, a fascinating story of identity changes and the difficulties that brings, with an in-house band. Intrigued? Pop to the Rising Arts Centre, in Silver Street, Reading, on 26th July, from 10.45am. There is also a new kids’ corner to enjoy. To find out more, visit www.sundayassembly.com or search for Sunday Assembly on Facebook.
Creative types should make a date for Nettlebed Art and Craft Show. This year’s show is expected to be another quality arty experience on Saturday, 1st August, from 12noon to 6pm and Sunday, 2nd August, 10am to 5pm at Nettlebed School. This is an opportunity to see excellent work by local artists with plenty of paintings, drawings, and craft to admire.
Do you enjoy a cappella harmony? Have you considered singing with a barbershop choir? Are you free on Tuesday July 7th, 7–9.45pm? If you’re male (or know one who is), an open-minded singer and willing to try new genres then Thames Valley Chorus would love to see you at their free taster evening. The Why Not Try Barbershop event is at Waingels College in Waingels Road, Woodley (RG5 4RF). Register at www.tvchorus.co.uk or call Peter on 01491 641021 LN
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA