Ooooh! Ahhhhh! I don’t know about you, but I turn into such a big kid on bonfire night. All those apple-cheeked youngsters with stars in their eyes, wrapped up cosy to watch the sparkles is a real winter highlight for me. Remember remember the fifth of November? I’ll never forget it!
Seven November 5ths ago, fireworks showered their light through my nearest hospital window (this was during my time living in Wembley, where Diwali packs an extra-glittery punch) waiting to give birth to my daughter. I remember thinking how wonderful: her birthday will be marked with such sparkle! (She wasn’t born for another three long days, but let’s not spoil the reminiscing there, and don’t start me off on a rant about childbirth, for God’s sake...). Fireworks displays spark off many heart-warming thoughts in our little family..
Firstly: exciting news for Twyford! The village is through to the final three places in the Government-sponsored Great British High Street Competition, to find the best in the country. Gordon Storey writes: “We were nominated in the village category by Wokingham Parish Council, and have done very well to get this far. If we win, we will receive a share of £80,000 prize money to use in the village!” Twyford will be judged by a panel who will be visiting soon – but your vote counts, too. Go to www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk and simply tick the Twyford Box in the village section, add your e mail address and you’re done – you can vote every day and voting doesn’t close until the 13th November, so get those clicking fingers ready if you love Twyford!
Thames Valley Chorus will be bring their barbershop a cappella sound to the Bulmershe Auditorium at Bulmershe School, Woodley, on Saturday November 14th. They are delighted to welcome as their guests, the youth choir, The Bulmershe Ensemble fresh from their success at the Music for Youth’ National Competition and Liquorice Allsorts, an entertaining clarinet ensemble. The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 – to buy, call 01189 774257. Visit www.tvchorus.co.uk
Colleton School will be the venue for one of Twyford’s most eagerly anticipated events of the year. The Be A Santa To A Senior tea party takes place at the school on Saturday, November 21st from 3.30-5.30pm. Five local organisations have been working together to provide this free tea party for 140 of the village’s older residents. Twyford Village Partnership, Age Concern Twyford and District, Home Instead Senior Care, Hare Hatch Sheeplands and the David Brownlow Charitable Foundation are the groups involved. “This is the fourth time that an event of this nature has been held,” said Gordon Holmes from Twyford’s Age Concern. “It is always very popular. As well as high tea guests will enjoy some musical entertainment. Attendance is by invitation only and we are usually oversubscribed so please get in touch ASAP!” Paul Westgarth from Home Instead Senior Care – which last year was named as Twyford Village Partnership’s Business of the Year said: “This annual tea party is a wonderful example of the people of Twyford pulling together to stage an event that is eagerly anticipated and then thoroughly enjoyed.”
We have some wonderfully creative people out there, not least members of the International Feltmakers Association. On the weekend of 21st and 22nd November, from 11am-5pm, it is well worth taking a trip to gaze on the beauty of a display of work and demonstrations by members of the Reading Group, Region 5, at Sonning Common Village Hall in Wood Lane, RG4 9SL. If you’d like more information about the association, visit www.feltmakers.com
Community group Woodley Concert Band have been building a bit of a reputation over the last few years for putting on a brilliant seasonal spectacular, full of cheery Christmas favourites, entertaining antics and the chance to sing along to a carol or two. This year promises to be no exception and the band will be giving two performances of their Christmas Concert, Let it Snow on Sunday, 13th December, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm in the lovely theatre at Leighton Park School. With previous highlights including posthorns, a sandpaper ballet and the Twelve Days of Christmas with full audience participation, you’re guaranteed a fantastically festive time and a great way to get into the Christmassy mood. Tickets are £10 (£2 under-16s) for the afternoon performance and £12 (£10 concessions) for the evening and are available from the band box office – call 0870 3212186 to book!
Shopping is not everyone’s favourite pastime! Have you tried the personal shopper service at Hare Hatch? You can pop by to Wyevale Garden Centre in Twyford for a cup of coffee in the restaurant and the team will help you to find everything you require to make your project a success. To find out more about how to use the service to get the best from your garden, call Hare Hatch Wyevale on 0118 9403933.
Do you suffer from back pain? Why not join a weekly hydrotherapy class run by the Reading Branch of the charity BackCare? The team always welcome new members and 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. It is 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’ session. Call 01189 470709 or 01189 83 5582.
Maidenhead Electronic Organ Society hold monthly concerts on the last Tuesday of every month (except December) featuring top artists from the electronic organ festival and concert circuit. The location for all concerts is Knowl Hill Village Hall, Knowl Hill (RG10 9XB). The society’s next concert is on Tuesday, 24th November, at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm), featuring Tony Stace. Twice voted British organ/keyboard player of the year, Tony is a firm favourite at organ societies and clubs across the country, playing a superb blend of music including many popular light classics. The rhythms he engineers are unique to his style and are very pleasant on the ear, say the organisers! Entrance is £6 for non-members, £3 members (annual membership is £20). There’s free, easy parking next to the hall and refreshments are available in the interval. Details of upcoming concerts, as well as photos and videos of previous nights, can be found by visiting www.meos.org.uk . If you’d like more details, call the society secretary on 07899 791579.
If you are 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 fundraisers over summer, November features after-dinner talks about the Queens Flight by Squadron Leader JD Marshall (on 5th November) and The Henley Standard by editor Simon Bradshaw (12th November). A visit to Binghams Brewery is planned, in addition to a Sunday walk and pub lunch. The club will also be supporting mock interviews for local school children. Reading Abbey is an active and expanding club – its Thames Walk raised £15k for End Polio Now, the AMAM Golf Day £2k for Riding for the Disabled and the Englefield 10k Run was the club’s largest yet, raising £4k for Hope for Tomorrow and supporting the Berkshire Mobile Chemotherapy unit.
A welcome note from Elaine of the Lions Club of Reading. The club, and registered charity, raised more than £2,000 for the Prostate Cancer Awareness Evening to be held on March 9th next year: well done everyone! The next golf day will be held on July 8th next year, for those golfing earlybirds out there! To find out more about this great organisation, visit www.readinglions.org.uk
Now, how about some music to warm the cockles? Readifolk, Reading’s Folk Song and Music Club, has another wonderful array of highlights for the upcoming month. This started on Sunday, November 1st with a Halloween special along the theme of Ghoulies & Ghosties. The next date for music-lovers is Jody Kruskal on tour from the US of A with some traditional American songs from yesterday, with dazzling Anglo concertina accompaniment. On 15th it’s Broom Bezzums; a whirlwind of trad British tunes along with “cheeky off-the-cuff patter”! And, on 29th, it’s the turn of Steve Turner who will dazzle with his songs and concertina. These gigs take place 8-10.30pm at The Conference Room of Reading International Solidarity Centre, 35-19 London Street, RG1 4PS. Admission is #6 for guest nights. For more info or to book, call Una on 01189 483145 or Anne on 01189 613586.
The Berkshire Group of The Hardy Plant Society will hold its next meeting at St Peter’s Church Hall in Church Road, Earley (RG6 1EY), on Tuesday, 10th November. Doors open at 7.15pm for a 7.45pm start. Thomas Stone, a professional gardener since 1989, will give a talk on Underplanting Roses. He’s spent many years of working at the Harold Hillier Gardens, the Mottisfont Abbey Gardens, and across private gardens in West Sussex and Hampshire. Visitors welcome – £3 non-members of the Hardy Plant Society – Berkshire Group. Plants and refreshments available.
Bracknell Flower Club, winners of a silver gilt medal at this year’s Chelsea flower show has recently celebrated their 45th birthday. The group’s Christmas evening this year will be held at the Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell. The evening is entitled A Little Touch of Sparkle by the NAFAS demonstrator David Ryland –buy by calling Gillian Lowe on 01344 886861 or South Hill Park on 01344 484123. Meetings are at the Priestwood Community centre in Bracknell on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month and new members are always welcome. Call Alison Phillips on 01344 882733.
Looking for laughs? You should make a date for Andy Hamilton – he’s a hoot! The award winning co-creator and writer of Outnumbered (BBC1), What We Did On Our Holiday (BBC Films), Ballot Monkeys (Channel 4) and Drop The Dead Donkey (Channel 4), star of Old Harry’s Game (Radio 4) and regular guest on The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Have I Got News For You and QI looks back on his 60 years on this planet when he heads to Reading’s Concert Hall on Thursday 26th November. Warning, readers: the show contains ‘mild peril’.
Do you suffer from back pain? Join a weekly hydrotherapy class by the Reading Branch of charity BackCare. The team welcome new members and are a friendly group of men and women of various ages who meet once a week for an hour of exercises in 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 ‘taster’. Call 01189 470709 or 01189 83 5582.
Would you like to make a difference? The Link Visiting Scheme is a charity befriending service for those in our community who feel isolated and lonely. Social isolation and lack of contact is more worrying to many elderly people than health or financial pressures. Weekly visits from someone interested and willing to listen makes a huge difference to someone’s life. Please call Mandi Eagle, volunteer coordinator, on 0118 9798019 or 07823 772716. For more information, visit www.linkvisiting.org
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA