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..
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 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 next meeting of the Caversham Allotment Association is on Tuesday 10th November at Church House, Caversham, next to Waitrose. The subject will be Winter Baskets, a presentation by Mike McGibbon, a local horticulturalist, so if you are thinking of creating colour for the outside of your house, then head along for 7.30pm to get some inspiration. Entrance is free and there will be the usual raffle and refreshments. Call Carol Wheeler on 01189 475802 for further details. Don’t forget that Church House now has a lift..
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. His many years of working at the Harold Hillier Gardens, the Mottisfont Abbey Gardens, and across a number of private gardens in West Sussex and Hampshire make him the best speaker to tackle such a difficult subject. Visitors are welcome. However, an admission fee of £3 per person is payable at the door by all non-members of the Hardy Plant Society – Berkshire Group. Plants and refreshments will be available for purchase.
Caversham and Chiltern Flower Club present Lee Berrill for an evening of spectacular Christmas Flowers entitled Deck the Halls on Wednesday, 11th November, at 6.30pm for 7.30pm at the Methodist Church in Highmoor Road, Caversham (RG4 7BG). The entrance fee is £12 in advance and £15 on the door but you’re advised to book ASAP to avoid disappointment. Refreshments are included. For tickets call Tricia Toogood on 01189 476811 or Shirley Sexton on 01189 412329.
Same venue, different event now. On Saturday 14th November, Caversham will be holding an Autumn Fair from 11am to 2pm in the church. Entrance is free and there will be stalls offering bric-a-brac, plants, cakes and many others. In addition to that there will also be tasty refreshments on offer. This year, the church will be supporting the Racecourse School in Zambia. The church has had close links with the school and supported them over the years after a previous minister, Rev Rosemary Fletcher spent some time working at the school. Last year the fair raised more than £1,000 for local charities including Wyfold Riding for the Disabled.
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. To find out more call 01189 470709 or 01189 835582.
Bracknell Flower Club, winners of a silver gilt medal at this year’s Chelsea flower show has recently celebrated its 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 and tickets can be purchased by calling Gillian Lowe on 01344 886861 or South Hill Park on 01344 484123. Club meetings are held at the Priestwood Community centre in Bracknell on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month and new members are always welcome. For more information 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. Andy has experienced many changes. For instance, he was once a 6’4” tall professional basketball player, until a tree fell on him... Warning, readers: the show contains ‘mild peril’.
Thames Valley Chorus will 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 for more info.
The Rotary Club of Reading held a successful charity golf tournament at Reading Golf Club in Emmer Green earlier this autumn. The principal sponsors this year were Lancaster Reading of Bennet Road, who are leading agents for Jaguar, Land-Rover and Volvo vehicles. They also featured strongly among the tournament winners, their team carrying off first prize with their players James Grimes posting the best individual score and Jerry Boyce taking the award for his tee shot ending nearest the pin at the 8th hole. Second team prize went to Harpesden Wealth Management while Team Owlett finished third. There were special prizes for the longest drives at the 18th, Ben Prior being the successful man and Eileen Paddick winning the ladies’. Immediate Past President Graham Broadhurst thanked the participants and the sponsor firms Lancaster, Dickies, Charles Stanley, Coram Life Education, Fraser’s, Dexter Montague, Bennetts, Drews, Haslams, Pro-Tar Pitmans and Vale and West. The proceeds of this annual event, which has raised about £4,000, will go principally to local charities, although Reading Rotary Club also helps hospitals and schools in poorer parts of the world. Well done to everyone involved!
Caversham Heights Townswomen’s Guild’s next meeting is on Thursday, November 19th. As usual, this will be held at Caversham Heights Methodist Church, 74 Highmoor Road, at 7.30pm,and the topic of the talk will be Houses of Parliament and Guy Fawkes, by Sue Nike. The guild have expressed their condolences following the death of Angela Lovewell, one of the group’s longest-serving members. “Angela had been a very active member of our guild, both on the committee and as a fund raiser,” writes Linda Rumble. “Many of our older members will remember her coffee mornings, especially those held in her garden.” Last month, ex nun, Marian Dante, talked to the group about Dropping the Habit, chairman, Hazel New,held a fun coffee morning, the social studies group learnt about the wildlife of Tanzania,courtesy of Peter Bean, a team was sent to take part in a quiz organised for all the guilds in the local area, they fluttered off to Birmingham to discover the History of Fairies, and the ambling group tried out the new footbridge over the Thames. If all these activities, plus regular lunches and Scrabble sound fun for you, ladies are very welcome to join the gang!
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
The Reading and District Probus Club welcome new members. Probus is a club for men who are retired or approaching retirement, and who enjoy a meal once a month in the congenial company of like-minded men. Lunch is followed by a talk, which may be on a variety of interesting subjects. The club meets at the Caversham Heath Golf Club on the second Monday of each month. For further information visit the club’s website www.probusclub-reading.org.uk If you are interested in joining, call secretary David Laird on 01189 470709.
Also on Saturday, November 28th is Sonning Common Primary School’s Christmas Fair. This will take place from 12-3pm and will have lots of gift ideas, while helping a great cause. Visitors have the chance to win a luxury hamper, enjoy mulled wine and mince pies, and meet Father Christmas in his grotto!
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 fundraising 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 Berkshire Mobile Chemotherapy unit.
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