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Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

29 Jul 2014

Hows does my allotment grow

Not badly actually. I am constantly surprised when something I planted grows and ends up being harvested. It's not that I'm a bad grower,  in fact my fingers are quite green,  it's just the science of it.  Tiny seed plus sun,  water, soil and is nutrients and voila!  Stuff you can eat!

I can't deny is hard work though. I've had the allotment just over a year now and it is nowhere near where I want it to be. I still have a lot of grass and bindweed to battle and paths to put in but it had been productive.

Another bonus is my boys have been enjoying their visits now they are no longer in danger of getting lost in the long grass or attacked by nettles or brambles. Today we enjoyed harvesting potatoes,  beetroot and a lovely courgette. We are looking forward to various beans,  tomatoes, more courgettes,  cabbages,  broccoli, swede,  leeks and hopefully a pumpkin. My mum is also looking forward to sprouts. I'm not. Yuck. 

21 Jul 2014

Emergency overnight closure of Oxford Road

I have just received an email informing me of the emergency overnight closure of the Oxford Road.  Details as follows:

The urgent closure has been requested of Oxford Road, Reading, in a westbound direction only, between Bedford Road and Prospect Street. It has been requested by Thames Water to carry out urgent water mains repairs.  You may have noticed markings on the road and surface water, I know I have when walking home from work.

Due to the traffic impact and the shut off of the water mains, it's been agreed that the works will be carried out at night to reduce the impact on all users of this key location. 

The closures will be:

  • 2200hrs on Wednesday 23rd July until 0500hrs on Thursday 24th July to carry out the repairs to two leaking water mains, located outside 167 and 203 Oxford Road. 
  • They will return at 2200hrs on Thursday 24th July until 0500hrs on Friday 25th July to carry out a permanent reinstatement. 
  • The road will be reopened outside of these times.

20 Jul 2014

5th Tilehurst Guides loan shark success!

The guiding movement is an impressive one.  I was a member of the 2nd Reading Guides.  They used to meet in St Georges church hall and I remember my time with them fondly.

I was invited to a special presenetation on Tuesday evening by Kim Jakubizsyn who is the leader of 5th Tilehurst Guides and who I have known for a long while through Southern Housing and the Oxford Road Fun Day.  It was all quite hush hush and I was there along with Cllr Paul Gittings, members of Reading Borough Council's trading standards team and a representative from Stop Loan Sharks.

We were actually there to present the guides and young leaders with these:

They had won the Stop Loan Sharks regional award for their Stop Loan Sharks challenge badge.  The girls had created a series of challenges and tasks to raise awareness of the dangers of using a loan shark which Rainbows, Brownies and Guides around the country can complete to achieve a challenge badge.  You can read more about the badge here: Challenge Badge

The girls were very pleased with their achievement and celebrated with cake.  I was also given my first Guiding badge in a few years!  I was told that the challenge is already being taken up by Guides around the country which is something Reading should be proud of.

12 Jul 2014

Deputy Mayor Diaries: Naach Gana

By the end of this event my cheeks ached from smiling and I'd done a good 15 minute work-out.

Tonight I was at Naach Gana - an event run by the Indian Community Association to showcase the talents of Reading people as well as more international stars.

The first half was filled with children performing from the various after school clubs.  There were drama performances from the Enchanted Players Theatre Company, Indian classical dancing, Spanish guitar and singing.

The Indian Community Association of Bracknell did some outstanding Punjabi dancing as did the ICA Bhangra dancers and we were also treated to drumming from the Ministry of Dhol.

The second half was the big acts headlining with Kumar and Dhami from the Heera Group.  The beat was too much to resist and our host Raj got me to my feet to join in.

It was a wonderful evening and I would like to encourage as many people as possible to attend next year.  The Hexagon floor was bouncing as people filled the aisles and joined in.  Brilliant.

Apologies for some of the pics.  It was not the kind of event where people stood still!

My hosts and me.  I was made very welcome.

Some nof the tiny tots dancing

Indian classical dancing

The Indian Community Association of Bracknell

Kumar and Dhami of Heera Group

7 Jul 2014

Deputy Mayor Diaries: Oxford Road Fun Day

On Saturday I was at the Oxford Road Fun Day.  I have attended as a resident, as a councillor for the past three years and this year as Deputy Mayor!  I'd have been hard pressed to predict that last year.

Although the weather was a bit glum, the event was great fun and even bigger than last year.   The Fun Day is a great community asset as it brings the various groups in the area together allowing people to network, find new things to do and, of course, have fun!

Some of the groups present were:
  • Nature Nurture who want to bring children back to nature.  They will be in Prospect Park on 15 August too.
I was delighted to present volunteers from Christian Community Action with achievement certificates and prizes and got to speak to lots of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers without whom, the fun day wouldn't happen.

Special thanks go to Luke Trimby and Kim Jakubiszyn.

Click on the pictures to find out more about these organisations:

Having a go at the tombola with fundraisers for the Alexander Devine hospice

With the Oxford Road Timebank

OpenHand OpenSpace shared their creativity

With Kim who helped organise the day and is also part of 5th Tilehurst Guides
Thames Valley Police, the Royal Berkshire Fire Brigade and Oxford Road NAG provided advice and sirens!

4 Jul 2014

Deputy Mayor Diaries: Thames Valley Police Road Safety Drama Competition

Are you dying to text?  That was the last line in the powerful drama I watched this evening at the Thames Valley Police Road Safety Drama Competition showcase.  The play started with a funeral and was created to get across the message that texting while driving kills.  There has been an increase in passenger fatalities in the 15-21 age group which is why this topic was chosen.

The winning school was Hemdean House School who get a £500 prize for their drama department.  I was well acted by some of the girls from the school and told the sad tale of a young diver who killed her best friend through dangerous driving.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) have been running the drama competition for three years now, in partnership with Reading Borough Council (RBC).  Dave Thomas, the Safer School Officer at TVP, works with Chris Saunders from RBC to organise this competition.

A shocking number of people text while driving.  It's something I often see while waiting for the 17 bus!   I hope this competition goes some way to make people aware of the danger they are to themselves and others.

Dave Thomas and me

1 Jul 2014

Where in the west for ReadyBike?

I really enjoy twitter.  Not only does it allow me to discover new things, ideas and people but it also lets residents contact me quickly and easily.

Recently a couple of residents contacted me about the new ReadyBike scheme, asking why there were no points in West Reading.  Their questions inspired me to ask my own question at full council this evening:

Click here to see the full question and answer: ReadyBike in the West

The gist of the answer is for ReadyBike to expand it needs to be used, sites in the west requested and suitable locations identified.  So let me know where you think suitable sites are.