Fox vixen with a rat. Picture (c) David Turner
The late summer weather in my Whitley garden varied from warm to very hot indeed, with the occasional very wet day. The sun helped increase the numbers of butterflies, bees, insects and moths, of course. One of my photograph highlights for July was the vixen fox with a huge rat, striking a superb pose.
Household rubbish at the Smallmead MRF
David Nolan, Smallmead MRF supervisor
Manual waste sorters at the Smallmead MRF
The Katesgrove Community Association (KCA) will be touring the Smallmead Recycling Centre on Thursday 10 October.
Sustrans signpost on Waterloo Meadows
Reading were at home to Sheffield Wednesday for their first game of the 2018/19 season. It was a fine day, so we decided to see what had changed since 2017 on the scenic cross-country route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium.
Heritage Open Days (HODs) are celebrating their 25th birthday with an extended programme of events over ten days from 13 to 22 September. There are over 40 participating venues and events in Reading this year and you don’t have to go too far from the Whitley Pump for some of them.
The weir at Fobney Island
In July 2018, the multi-disciplinary artist Peter Driver set out on a three day pilgrimage from the Stanley Spencer Gallery in the village of Cookham to the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere. A Walk for Stanley is a travel diary that captures the journey in photos, sketches, woodcuts, sonnets and prose.
The Black History Mural and the IDR
The Whitley Pump asked Reg Vastern-King, chair of the Friends of the IDR (Inner Distribution Road), what he thought about the Reading Borough Council (RBC) consultation on transport strategy; he was not impressed. “I just don’t understand,” he said “how can you carry out a transport strategy consultation which does not even ask how you feel about the IDR?”
Jay with a monkeynut. Photo (c) David Turner
June was a very warm month; during the rainy days of mid-month the temperatures still held at a warm 20°C. On 1 June, the temperature reached 28°C and was the hottest day of the year so far.
You can celebrate Reading’s nature, as well as the people and groups who contribute to it, at a series of events across town starting in late July.
Lucky escape for the squirrel. Photo: David Turner
May was a very bad month for predation in my garden, with cats catching blackbirds, pigeons, starlings and squirrels. I do get annoyed, but I would never harm a cat; it’s just a natural instinct on their part, and there is very little I can do to stop it.
The Turbine house at Blake’s Lock, part of Reading museum and next door to Bel and the Dragon, is worth a visit on its own; it’s a lovely spot and I could easily gaze out the windows at the waters of the Kennet flowing over the Borough weir.
A Whitley fox. Photo :David Turner
April temperatures in my Whitley garden reached as high as 30ºC and as low as -5ºC, the hottest and coldest ever recorded for that month; the average temperature for the month was 17ºC. We also experienced an afternoon hail storm at the beginning of the month that briefly covered the garden in what looked like snow.
Mayor Deborah Edwards
Reading mayor, Councillor Debs Edwards, opens the South Reading Community Hub on 26 June 2018
The Mayor unveiling the old school bell at the Palmer Academy
Victorian strollers with the Mayor at New Christ Church School 150th anniversary celebrations
The Mayor in conversation at the launch of Reading in Bloom
Southcote councillor Deborah Edwards attended a considerable number of events in south Reading during her mayoral year. This is a pictorial record of just a few of them that the Whitley Pump was able to cover.
Group photo – Reading in Bloom Launch 2019
Reading mayor Councillor Deborah Edwards attended the launch of the 40th year of Reading in Bloom (RIB) at the Hilton Hotel, Kennet Island on 8 May. The gathering included local community gardening groups such as the Katesgrove community allotment and it was addressed by Marc Allridge, chair of RIB.
Male sparrowhawk. Photo: David Turner
March weather was a mix of every type of condition we could experience. We endured storm Freya for the first three days of the month, which consisted of extremely strong winds and rain, although the temperature stayed reasonably mild throughout.
Redwood near Cintra Park, Reading
A close-up of a Reading redwood
Hidden behind an ornate brick frontage on Milman Road stands a quietly growing giant. This giant is a tree, and not just any tree, but a Californian Redwood. It is the only tree on the street with a preservation order, thanks to efforts by local legends John and Edna Tuggey.
40 Silver Street – 13 April 2019
The cats of Cat’s grove have welcomed their new and spacious temporary toilet facilities on Silver Street. The archaeological site has been recorded and documented, and the trenches filled in, leaving a vast expanse of bare earth.
Bumblebee in crocus. Photo: David Turner
Who would have guessed, on the first day of February, when snow appeared for a few hours, that by the end of that same month we would enjoy summer conditions with temperatures reaching 20ºC most afternoons?
Reading Borough Council treated the town to a masterclass in diversion and obfuscation at their council meeting of 26 February, only managing to clarify that councillors were not obliged to clarify anything, and that rather than asking pettyfogging questions about how they were spending their money, the public should bask in the glow of virtue signalling instead.
Stream at Island Road
The Smallmead recycling centre on Island Road is selling ‘re3grow’ compost, available in 40 litre bags for £3.50 or 3 bags for £10. It has been processed in Oxfordshire from garden waste taken directly to the tip and from kerbside green waste collections; 90% of the content is from Reading, Wokingham or Bracknell.
Whitley Social Club and Cafe. Picture (c) Mohan Banerji
WCC bar. Picture (c) Jean Claydon
Whitley Community Cafe. Picture (c) Ellen Bentley
Sketches (L->R): Mohan Banerji, Jean Claydon, Ellen Bentley
Urban sketchers are a global community of artists who draw on location, and there are local chapters worldwide. The Reading Urban Sketchers got officially recognised as a local chapter recently but it has been around as the Reading Sketchers for two and a half years.