Pantos, parties, bazaars, fairs, fetes and fireworks... That pretty much sums up November’s Ramblings! And so begins the flurry of fun in the run-up to Christmas. You either grab it with both hands and get into the festivity, or you channel Scrooge and his ‘bah humbug’ approach.
I keep saying every year that we should flee the country and try to forget about the 25th, but that’s just miserable of me, so you’re going to hear nothing but Christmas cheer from here on in.
On Sunday the 8th, Reading Outdoor Group is organising a five-and-a-half-mile amble through ‘time and space’ on a themed walk in London. If you are interested in finding out more get in touch at www.readingoutdoorgroup.org.uk or phone the membership secretary on 0118 9616506.
Calling all collectors of stamps, postcards and other post-related items –why not join the Henley Philatelic Society and find more enjoyment from your hobby? At the first November meeting, on the 11th, it’s Postcard Evening featuring members’ displays, up to nine pages, on any subject. Then, on the 25th, Stephen Marks from Oxford shows his display of Albania to 1945. Meetings are usually held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at Bix Village Hall at 7.45pm, from September to June inclusive. Call 01491 681739 or visit www.henleyphilatelic.org.uk
The Rotary Club of Reading are holding their annual Santa Run in the centre of Reading on the 6th December. Up to 2,000 runners are expected to take part and there will also be a mini Santa Run for under 10s. The route starts and finishes in Forbury Gardens and takes in the Kennetside paths, Oracle shopping Centre (Riverside), Broad Street and Butter Market. There’s a free Santa suit, medal and goody bag for all runners in the main event, plus medals and free Santa suits in the mini run. The Mayor of Reading, Sarah Hacker, will start the run and present the prizes. Last year’s run raised around £25,000 for local charities and the organisers are expecting that figure to be beaten this year. Register online now at www.readingsantarun.co.uk
A Guy Fawkes bazaar will be held at Goring Village Hall on the 7th from 10am to midday. It’s another chance to shop early for Christmas with a variety of good quality items plus gifts made from wood. Try some home made cakes and jams, the tombola and buy a raffle ticket. Entry is only 50p. For more information call 01491 838580.
Another fair, this one on Saturday 7th at Woodcote Village Hall between 1.30pm and 4pm. Admission is only 20p and there will be many traditional stalls, including cakes, jewellery, bath and beauty items, gifts and bric–a-brac, plus attractions for the whole family and you should find many Christmas bargains.
The autumn concert of the Langtree Sinfonia will be held in St Mary’s Church, Wallingford on the 7th, at 7.30pm. The evening starts with the sparkling overture Tancredi by Rossini, always a bright start to any concert. Set in Sicily in AD 1000, it tells of family betrays, battles and, in the natural way of all such things, eventual triumph. Rossini’s work sets the tone for the evening, which continues with the Piano Concerto No 2 by Camille Saint-Saens. Rounding off the evening will be Beethoven’s Second Symphony. Paul Cox conducts. Tickets are £10 for adults, £5 for students and under-16s, free. Available on the door, or call 0118 9415498.
Aldworth’s Turkey and Tinsel Bazaar will be held in St Mary’s Church (RG8 9SB) on Saturday 21st from 9.30 to midday. Enjoy free turkey tastings and mulled wine while you peruse the charity stalls. Find handmade children’s clothes and gifts in aid of The Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice now being built in East Berkshire and the RNLI stall’s Christmas cards and gifts. Father Christmas hopes to visit and say hello with a bag of sweets for children. There will also be fresh produce, foods and Christmas plants/wreathes, as well as refreshments. The weekly Saturday Market hopes to move into Aldworth’s new village hall by December. Call 01635 578090 or 579344 for more details.
Streatley Hill Pre-school is holding its annual Christmas Shopping Night on Thursday 26th at The Swan at Streatley – doors open from 7.30pm. The event has become a lovely local tradition for a fantastic local cause. This year there will be some familiar and some new stalls, all offering high quality and unique gift ideas – homeware, stocking fillers, Turkish Hammam towels, handmade chocolates, gifts for gardeners, clothes, cards and stationery, soaps, flowers, jewellery, handbags and so much more. There will also be a raffle with many great prizes on offer. Entrance is £2 for adults with all proceeds going to the pre-school.
If you’re community spirited and want to expand your social circle, you may be surprised at the irreverent fun entailed with getting involved with Reading Abbey Rotary Club. After some successful fundraising over the summer months, November features after-dinner talks about the Queens Flight by Squadron Leader JD Marshall (5th) and the Henley Standard by Editor Simon Bradshaw (12th). A visit to Binghams Brewery is planned, in addition to a Sunday walk and pub lunch. They will also be supporting mock interviews for local school children. Reading Abbey is an active and expanding club. Their Thames Walk raised £15,000 for End Polio Now, the AMAM Golf Day £2,000 for Riding for the Disabled and the Englefield 10k Run was the largest yet, raising £4,000 for Hope for Tomorrow and supporting the Berkshire Mobile Chemotherapy unit. Check www.rarc.org.uk for more details or contact Fred McCrindle (Secretary) on 07734 810238 to come as a guest and find out more.
The popularity of ballroom dancing during the Second World War was supported by dance bands of all shapes and sizes. Local boy Roy Bailey joined his father’s dance band in his teens. He rode to gigs in the sidecar of his dad’s motorbike, clutching his saxophone in his arms and his love for the music of those years never left him. In 1986, keen to share it, he formed The Roy Bailey dance band with younger players from the Goring and Streatley Concert Band. The band grew, becoming the Roy Bailey Big Band and adding to its repertoire modern dance and jazz styles which might not have been to his taste. Roy died recently and to honour his memory the band will revive some of his favourite tunes at its November concert in Goring & Streatley Social Club. The concert is on Thursday 26th, starting at 8.30pm. Admission is free.
A local hard of hearing group meets on the first and third Fridays of each month for a time of enjoying one another’s company and learning to lip read. They meet at 2pm, at Abbey Baptist Church in Reading (behind the Central Library) in Abbey Square. The group is very friendly; enjoying a meal together at Christmas, as well as a trip out in the summer.
As Christmas gets closer the National Trust is gearing up for some fantastic festive treats for visitors. The Enchantment of Christmas at Basildon Park starts from the moment you step into the woodland trail to the house. The gnarled old trees become the homes of fairs, complete with tiny coloured doors. Twinkling lights lead the way to the beautifully decorated country mansion with huge Christmas trees emblazoned with swags and garlands and glistening with glass baubles. Their Christmas Trail is open daily from the 28th to 5th January, costing £2 per trail (normal admission applies).
At Greys Court near Henley, from the 1st to 31st December, Lady Brunner, founder member of the Women’s Institute welcomes you to a perfectly crafted Christmas, with festive decorations in the house inspired by archive WI magazines. Have a go at wreath-making too, from the 28th to 5th December (£45). For more details see www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Pangbourne Village is hosting a Christmas Evening on Friday, 4th December. The Village Hall will have stalls operated by local organisations and joining in will be the Church of St. James the Less, shops, businesses and pubs. Look out for further details on posters and flyers around the village from the middle of this month.
There’s a Christmas Market in The Barn, Purley on Thames, on Sunday the 29th, 11am to 3pm. Father Christmas will be there as well as the Pangbourne Silver Band. Go along to buy your presents, as well as clothes, jewellery and cards. There’s also a grand raffle. Best thing is – it’s free!
Andy Hamilton is at Reading’s Concert Hall on Thursday 26th. Andy has experienced many changes. For instance, he was once a 6’4” tall professional basketball player, until a tree fell on him. But, of course, change is an inescapable part of the human condition. Why? Is that fair? Some changes are good, some bad. Why can’t they be more clearly labelled? How did we end up working longer hours? Where did all the sparrows go? If you’re feeling flustered because of flux, Andy will teach you how to cope with the changes we have seen and the changes yet to come. Contains mild peril. For tickets, call 0118 9606060.
The Reading branch of the British Cactus and Succulent Society will be welcoming Andy Young for a much anticipated illustrated talk entitled Conophytums. These miniature gems from South Africa, often called living stones, are a wonder to behold. The date is Saturday 21st. The time 7.15 pm. The venue is Chapel Hall, Loddon Bridge Road, Woodley, Reading, RG5 4BG. Non-members are welcome. A token entry fee of £2 includes tea/coffee and biscuits together with a ticket for the raffle. See the website www.reading.bcss.org.uk. For more details call Alice Vanden Bon on 0118 9775273.
The RG8 badminton club is a small, friendly club who have a few spaces to accommodate new members in both the over-11 years (Smashers) group and the adult group. All abilities are welcome whether you are a seasoned player, a back garden player or a total beginner. The Smashers are coached by a Badminton England qualified coach and assistant coach with support from adult club members. The club meets on Thursday evenings in the Sports Hall at Langtree School (6.30pm to 7.30pm for Smashers and 7.30pm to 9.30pm for adults). Subscriptions are payable on a termly basis and are usually about £25-£30 a term dependent on the number of weeks they play. A taster session is provided free of charge. New members are welcome throughout the season. If you would like to know more or wish to join contact Julie Drury on 01491 681654.
There has been a pre-Christmas Craft Fair held annually in the Goring Village Hall since the early 1990s. The Goring and District Twinning Association will be organising the event again this year to raise funds for exchanges with twin town, Bellême, in Normandy. The 2015 fair will take place on Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd in the Village Hall, from 10am to 4pm. Entrance will cost £1 per person with free admittance for accompanied children under 16. Products and crafts on sale will include ceramics, stained glass, woodwork, soft furnishings, greetings cards, RNL Christmas cards, jams and chutneys. Refreshments, coffee and tea, home-made snacks and light lunches will be available throughout the day. See www.goringcraftfair.co.uk which gives full details of all the stallholders, their products and the layout of the hall.
If you’re male and like to sing, how about joining Oxford Harmony? The group sings in styles ranging from barbershop to modern ballads and everything in between. The group rehearse at Cumnor Old School Hall on Wednesdays at 7.45pm. Visit www.oxfordharmony.co.uk or call Mike on 01235 831352.
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