You know you’re a proper grown up when you decide to throw a summer party for your entire family. This will be my first time - and possibly only time to impress. They’re travelling three hours or so to see us so I have to make it worth their while. We have all kinds of entertainment planned, from archery to garden boule (that’s posh bowling, I’m told) – let’s just hope the Bank Holiday weather forecast brings me good news otherwise we’ll all be cooped up in my tiny living room eating summer salad and oven-cooked sausages crying into our Pimm’s – or that might just be me….
There’s lots happening at the Corn Exchange this month, so much I cant list it all. Just a couple of mention however, include ‘I’ll Keep Waiting on the Pavement for the Ice Cream Van to Come’ on Tuesday, 4th August at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Performed from a working ice cream van, with ice cream served throughout, this playful, engaging, and humorous production explores what the ice cream van and being British really means through the medium of Mr Whippy. Sounds good to me. Tickets cost £7.50 (£5 concessions). Or how about you try the Funky Junk Drumming Workshop on Friday, 7th August at 2pm? This is for ages 10 and upwards and involves instrument making and a performance workshop with members of the Readipop team. Tickets cost a tenner. For the grown ups, watch the RSC live from Stratford-Upon Avon as they perform Othello on Wednesday, 26th August at 7pm. Tickets are £14.50 or £12.50 concessions. Find out more online at www.cornexchangenew.com
Make sure you pop along to Newbury Town Hall at some point to view the four historic portraits that have recently returned from restoration. Conservator Ruth Bubb Ltd of Banbury began the restorations in 2012. The four portraits are: A panel painting of Jack of Newbury (John Winchcombe the Younger), by the school of Federico Zuccharo, dated 1550. Sir John Boys, the defender of Donnington Castle in the siege of 1646 – a Victorian copy of a 1660 original, which was perhaps by John Riley. Coronation portraits of King George III and his wife Queen Charlotte, by the studio of Alan Ramsay, c. 1772, donated to the Town Hall by Mrs Louisa Goulding in 1879. Anthony Pick is Deputy Leader of the Town Council and said: “I am delighted by the results of the restoration, which has returned the paintings close to their former glory.” The paintings can be viewed by anyone visiting the Town Hall for a Saturday charity coffee morning or for a meeting in the Council Chamber, or by appointment. Details will be published shortly on the town council website.
Soutby Allotment Tenants Association (SATA) is holding their Annual Open Day on Saturday, 8th August from midday. There will be plenty of fresh allotment produce for sale and cut flowers. Plus there will be homemade cakes, breads, preserves and pickles for sale as well as a raffle and Tombola. Don’t forget there will also be a barbecue and hot and cold refreshments to enjoy. Entry is free along with a draw ticket for a hamper of fresh vegetables. Find them just off Greenham Road (opposite Stroud Green). This year they are supporting Dingley Family & Play Therapy Group.
Some advance notice now of an organ recital taking place on Sunday, 6th September 6th. Eleni Keventsidou will be playing at Newbury Methodist Church at 4pm. Tickets cost £5 and if you are a student you can go free. Tickets can be bought from Shoemakers Coffee Shop, The Arcade (off Market Place), Newbury.
On 17th August, Stockfest is back for its third year and looking better than ever. The village of Stockcross, near Newbury, will be hosting a unique series of events, including workshops, talks, walks and tours. New this year is the Big Music Weekend on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd August. Local bands will get the chance to play alongside professionals recognised on BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio 2 and on the festival circuit. Headliners are Big Boss Man, fresh from the Isle of Wight Festival and championed by Cerys Matthews; The 3 Daft Monkeys, festival favourites and regulars at Glastonbury and The Rev Ferriday and the Longdogs, a blues band who are supporting Mick Ralphs this summer. Add in a gourmet food stall, some real ale, pop up entertainment and a Busk Stop and its set to be a winner. Full details and how to buy tickets for this and the rest of the fortnight’s events can be found at www.stockfest.co.uk or pick up a brochure from Newbury Tourist Information Centre and various venues in the area. There are more than 30 events going on in the village of Stockcross over two weeks at various venues. Please check website www.stockfest.co.uk for full details, venues, prices, times etc.
Sticking with Stockcross and on Sunday, 30th August, from midday to 5pm, it’s Stockcross Classic Car Show. Featuring over 50 Rare Breed cars, this is more than a classics event. There’s something for everyone including gourmet food; beer tent, teas, Stockcross Village Show and Craft Fair; Stockcross House Garden Open; St John’s Church open; bouncy castle and Stockfest prize draw.
Go along to Shaw House on Sunday, 30th August to enjoy Taming of the Shrew – outdoors. If you’re not sure of the plot, here it is in a nutshell. Everyone wants to marry mild-mannered Bianca. No one wants to marry her acid-tongued older sister Kate. Their father won’t let anyone marry Bianca until a husband can be found for Kate. But no-one knows anyone mad enough to take on Kate – until Petruchio comes to town. Sparks are guaranteed to fly in Shakespeare’s rumbustious battle-of-the-sexes comedy, where nobody is exactly who they appear to be! Tickets are £15 for adults, £8 for children and the show starts at 7pm. For more details and tickets call 01635 279279.
Bird of prey expert Ray Prior is back at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre by popular demand on Thursday, 27th August. Join him for a fascinating exploration of his birds. Learn all about how they fly and hunt. Be part of Ray’s display and enjoy a hand’s on experience. It costs just £4.50. Call 01635 874381 for more details.
On Sunday, 9th August it’s the 23rd Annual Classic Vehicle Show in support of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research at Newbury College. The show is organised by West Berks Classic Vehicle Club and attracts a wide variety of classic cars, motorbikes and commercial vehicles. The show previously held at Newbury Racecourse moved to its new venue of Newbury College last year. This is a great day out for enthusiasts and all the family with refreshments, band, side stalls, auto jumble, with all the proceeds going to the chosen charity. Entry forms can be downloaded from the WBCVC website at www.classicvehicles.org.uk . The show starts at 10am and admission is £6 per adult and under-14s go free.
West Berkshire Widows meet on the first Friday of the month, 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.
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 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 7th August so more than 90 will be displayed.
The Dolphin Motor Club meets every first and third Thursday of the month at the Bowlers Arms, Enborne Street in Wash Common. Call 01635 255787 or 01635 35823 or visit www.dolphinmotorclub.co.uk
Newbury Antiques, Vintage and Collectors Market is held on the second Saturday of every month at Congregational Hall, Cromwell Place, off Northbrook Street from 9.45am to 3.45pm. Entry is just 50p. For more information call 07890 368185.
The Berkshire, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust is organising a Bug Hunt at Snelsmore Common on 14th August. For £5, families will be able to discover what lives in the wildlife pond and search the surrounding area for bugs and other wildlife. Booking is essential for this one on 01635 874381. See www.bbowt.org.uk/whats-on Snelsmore Common, Wantage Road, RG20 8AP.
On Sunday, 9th August it’s the 23rd Annual Classic Vehicle Show in support of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research at Newbury College. This is a great day out for enthusiasts and all the family with refreshments, band, side stalls, auto jumble, with all the proceeds going to the chosen charity. Entry forms can be downloaded from the WBCVC website at www.classicvehicles.org.uk. The show starts at 10am and admission is £6 per adult and under 14s go free.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA