I’m counting down the days until 25th March. As if you didn’t know already, that’s the date British summertime officially begins. Last April was the warmest ‘since records began’ (whenever that was). In London, it was a balmy 27.1C. Could we be that lucky again? Fingers crossed. As I write this it’s nearing the end of February and the first glimpses of spring have arrived in the garden. There are bulbs coming up everywhere, if only I knew what was what. But that’s the great thing about this time of year – watching everything come to life.
In all the excitement of the arrival of spring, make sure you don’t forget Mother’s Day – it’s on the 18th and there’s nothing quite like a freshly picked bunch of daffodils straight from the garden to start off the celebrations.
Tamesis Chamber choir’s next concert in the Historic Times season is entitled ‘A time to Celebrate’, and that time is on Saturday 3rd March, 7.30pm, at Greyfriars Church in central Reading.
In honour of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee, the Reading-based group will perform triumphant choral works from the 1953 Coronation and from the royal weddings.
If anyone in the area was one of the original Coronation choristers or sang at a Royal Wedding, the choir would love to give them the VIP treatment, welcoming them to a complimentary front row seat or inviting them to join the choir in performance. Let them know if you took part, on 0118 934 3200.
Tickets for the concert are on sale now from www.tamesischamberchoir.co.uk or 0118 934 3200.
Twyford Toddlers group meet at the Youth Centre (next to Loddon Hall) every Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9.30am to 11.30am. Babies and toddlers from 0-5 years are welcome there’s a huge range of toys and activities for them to participate in. For more information, call 0118 9342791.
The friends of Ruscombe Wood are a friendly group of volunteers working for the conservation of a beautiful piece of woodland, found off Castle End Road in Ruscombe. The local people call it bluebell wood because of the carpet of bluebells that can be found there every spring. They meet on the first Saturday of the month from 10am to 1pm.
New volunteers are always welcome. No special skills or knowledge are necessary. They provide tools and guidance on the day's tasks. Old clothes and strong footwear are recommended. To find out more contact Stephen Loyd on 0118 9345784 or George Parker on 0118 9017719.
Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences possible. The Family Placement Team is looking for caring people to foster children who haven’t had the best start in life. It could be for a few weeks or for their entire journey to adulthood. They will give you the training, financial and practical support to enhance a child’s life. If you have a spare room and a caring nature they would like to hear from you. Call 0118 974 6204 or www.wokingham.gov.uk/fostering
Wargrave History Society meets on the second Tuesday of the month at The Pavilion on the Recreation Ground in Wargrave. Founded in 1981, the Object of the Society is to provide a common meeting ground for the study and discussion of, and research into, history in general, and of the local area in particular. To join the society costs £9 per person or, for a family, £12 and £8 concessions. Visitors are welcome at a cost of £3 per meeting. Visit their website at www.wargravehistory.org.uk for more information.
The Berkshire Group of the Hardy Plant Society (HPS) is one of 40 local groups of the HPS is the UK. It offers a huge range of gardening activities from informative lectures to plant and seed sales. The Berkshire Group meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at St Peter’s Church Hall in Earley and members are encouraged to bring along their own plants to sell. Visitors are also welcome at the meetings at a cost of £3.
To join the Berkshire Group costs £5 for a single membership, and £7 for joint. You can apply online at www.berkshirehps.org.uk or call 01386 710317.
Twyford Bridge Club meets at Loddon Hall on Mondays at 7.20pm. They can accommodate players without a partner and anyone is welcome to join. Call 0118 9700470 for more information.
Loddon Hall, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford RG10 9JA.
The Loddon Valley Ramblers have been walking the Berkshire countryside since the club was set up in 1935. They’re a very welcoming group and there is no commitment to join when you first walk with them. Each Thursday and Sunday morning, and sometimes at other times, they offer a short walk of four to six miles, and on many Sundays there is the chance to take part in a longer walk of eight to 12 miles. Just one of the walks this month takes place on Thursday 15th March when the ramblers will be exploring the rolling hills of Medmenham in search of bluebells. The total distance is five miles. Meet at 10am from the car park of the Dog & Badger pub on Henley Road, Medmenham, SL7 2HF. Leader for this walk is Roger Avent, for more details tel. 0118 940 3426. Visit the group’s website at www.lvra.org.uk
Woodley Shopping Centre is now home to a thriving Saturday Market. Fresh foods, great vegetables, local produce and craft stalls fill the town centre - there’s even a bouncy castle for the kids. Occasionally some local brass bands join in the fun or Morris Dancers. Arrive early at 9am for the best choice. Find out more at www.woodleytowncentre.co.uk
Crockhamwell Road, Woodley Town Centre, RG5 4JZ.
On 24th March there is a Farm and Craft Market at Hare Hatch, Sheeplands in Twyford. It’s open from 9am to 4pm and entry and car parking is free.
Twyford Bridge Club meets at Reading Cricket Club on Mondays at 7.20pm. All players are welcome with or without a partner as they run a host system for single players. Tel 01189 843260 for more information or visit the website at www.twyfordbc.co.uk
Henley Archaeological Group (HAHG) meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7.45pm in the old King’s Arms Barn. Entrance is from the King’s Road car park.
The next meeting takes place on March 6th, when speaker John Poulter will be giving a talk entitled ‘The planning of Roman roads’.
The following month, on April 3rd, Hugh Granger will be recounting ‘The Reeves Tale’, describing what life was like in an English village of 1450 through the eyes of the reeve.
Non members are very welcome and are asked to pay £3.
‘Stations of the Cross’, an exhibition of prints by Robin Stemp, is at St Andrew's Church, South Stoke, on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the 5th and 6th of April, from 10am to 4pm. Refreshments are available and all donations go to St Andrew's Development Fund.
Following its highly successful autumn concert, Reading’s Witt Studio presents its spring showcase concert at 7.30pm on Friday 23rd March at Wesley Methodist Church.
The event features a mouth-watering array of talent performing classical and contemporary repertoire accompanied by Louise Lloyd (double-bass and bass guitar), Martin Proctor (percussion) and pianist Anthony Witt.
The awesome 100-strong Witt Studio Chorus will sing a dramatic selection of songs from Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’, the recent hit song ‘Run’ by Snow Patrol, Handel’s majestic ‘Zadok the Priest’, and the gospel classic ‘Oh Happy Day’, plus music by Purcell and Abba.
The line-up is completed by guest stars from major British Opera houses along with local music-theatre divas and the virtuoso Witt Studio Singers who will be performing music by Cole Porter, Johann Strauss, Barry Manilow, Ivor Novello, Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan.
Tickets cost £10 and £7 concessions and are available on 07531 386 616 or from at www.wittstudiochorus.com and on the door (subject to availability).
Christ Church Centre, 46 Reading Road, Henley on Thames, RG9 1AG.
This month’s theme at Readifolk is ‘Water, Water, Everywhere’, and on 4th March, members are welcome to sing any some with a watery theme. On 11th March, Anthony John Clarke, a fine songwriter with a unique performance, will be entertaining the audience. Then, on 18th March, lovely singer and guitar player Wendy Arrowsmith will take to the stage with her traditional songs and impressive original material. Finally, 25th March is Singers Night, another DIY night when you have the chance to show what you can do.
Admission costs £5 on guest nights and £1 on singers and theme nights. All events take place on Sundays, from 8pm to 10.30pm. For more information visit www.readifolk.org.uk
On March 10th the Charvil Choirs are holding a jumble sale to raise funds for the choirs. Admission costs just 20p and the event is open from 2pm to 4pm. Refreshments are available.
Charvil Village Hall, Park Lane, Charvil.
Henley Choral Society’s charismatic GRAMMY-nominated young Musical Director, Will Dawes, brings together the leading chamber orchestra in the South of England, the Southern Sinfonia and three outstanding soloists for their performance of Haydn’s ‘The Creation’ at 7.30pm on Saturday 17th March at the Concert Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading.
Sophie Bevan, recipient of the 2010 Critic’s Circle award for Exceptional Young Talent is one of the most sought-after young sopranos in the UK. Tenor Ben Hulett has been hailed by the national press as one of the most promising tenors of today, and bass Giles Underwood has earned first-rate reviews for his performances with major British orchestras and opera companies. With such an assembly of talent performing Haydn’s masterpiece, this is an evening not to be missed. Tickets cost £15 (under 18’s £12) and are available from the Ticket Secretary on 01491 572795, Gorvett & Stone, Duke Street, Henley on Thames or via the Box Office on 0118 960 6060. For more details visit www.henleychoralsociety.uk.org
On Sunday 20th May 2112 the Rotary Club of High Wycombe will, for the 17th time, be promoting its annual Chiltern Cycle PedalPush in aid of various charities including South Bucks Hospice. The 25 or 50 mile routes both start and finish at The Grange in Saunderton (HQ of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People). The routes are fully signed and marshalled, and, if you wish, you may retain 50 per cent of any sponsorship raised for your own charity or good cause.
Full details are available on www.pedalpush.org.uk or by phoning Les Hubbard on 01494 528107.
The annual rowing races between Oxford and Cambridge women and lightweight crews take place this year on the afternoon of Sunday, 25th March on the glorious Henley reach of the River Thames.
All are welcome on the river bank to enjoy ‘the other boat races’, which once again are sure to be fiercely contested between the two old rival universities.
Parking, food and drink are all available at Temple Island Meadows, RG9 3DB. There will be family entertainment with Reading Spring Gardens Band, and ‘Balloon Fairies’ providing an assortment of games and activities for children.
Racing starts at 1.15pm and the prize giving will be by Robin Bourne-Taylor, CGC (Olympic rower with four Boat Race appearances) at 4.30 pm. More details can be found at www.henleyboatraces.com
Tilehurst Eisteddfod Festival of Arts 2012 takes place on 19th May and entries for the exhibition are being asked to be submitted by 21st April. This is a unique opportunity to share your talents with the community. Both adults and children are welcome to enter the completion, Arts & Crafts, Original Verse & Short Stories, which will be judged by professional adjudicators. For more details, visit www.tilehursteisteddfod.org.uk