What’s On in Woodley Library December 2018

What’s On in Woodley Library December 2018

What’s On for Adults
Crafts and Laughs – Drop in for crafts and a chat. Tuesday December 4, 11, 18 2pm to 4pm
Crochet Group – all abilities welcome. £4 charge.Tuesday December 4, 11, 18, 12noon to 2pm
Scrabble Club Wednesday December 5, 2pm to 3pm
Woodley First Thursday Evening Book Group* Thursday December 6 6pm to 6.45pm
Woodley Library Book Group* – Book group for adults meets to discuss new books and favourite books.Thursday December 6, 11am to 12noon
French Conversation Club – Basic French required. Just drop in! Sunday December 9, 23 2pm to 3pm
Let’s Get Creative! – Card making classes with Helen Cook. £5 per session.Selected Fridays 2pm to 4pm

Whats On for Children and Families
Sand Art – create a sand art picture (£4 per picture). For children aged 4 to 11 years old.Sunday December 2 10.30am to 1pm
Children’s Chess Club – Aimed at children aged 8+ from complete beginners upwards. Free. Just drop in. Friday December 7 3.30pm to 5pm
Storytime with the Christmas Fairy- For children aged 7 and underSaturday December 8 11am to 11.30am
RhymetimeTuesday December 11 10.30am to 11am

*Places must be booked in branch. To renew your books online visit: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/libraries-online/search-renew-and-reserve-items/

 

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News and Events from Wokingham Borough Libraries December 2018

News and Events from Wokingham Borough Libraries December 2018

Christmas Closures

All our Libraries will be closed on Tuesday December 25, Wednesday December 26, 2018 and Tuesday January 1, 2019. All libraries will be closing at 1pm on Monday December 24 and from 4pm on Monday December 31, 2018.

Finchampstead Library will be closed from 12.30pm on Saturday 22 December to Tuesday January 1 inclusive and re-open on Wednesday January 2. Arborfield Library will be closed on Monday December 31, 2018 and Spencers Wood Library will be closed on Monday December 31, 2018

Twyford Library Refurbishment Closure

Twyford Library is currently closed for approximately 4 weeks for repair and refurbishments from November 19, 2018.  Customers will be able to use online library services and other libraries in the borough. There will be updates on Social media.

Wokingham Borough Libraries—Events this winter

Wokingham Living Advent Calendar

Each day between December 1 and Christmas Eve a venue around the town hosts a         performance of music, dance or drama lasting approximately 15 minutes but details of the performance are kept secret until the date itself. Wokingham Library will be hosting on Monday December 17at 6pm. For more details check http://wokinghamadvent.org.uk/

These are free events, just drop-in and join the fun!

Festive Quiz Evening at Woodley Library – Quiz evening to raise money for charity. £3 charge, places must be booked on 0118 969 0304. Friday November 30 at 6.30pm.

What’s on in Wokingham Libraries for Children

Storytime with the Christmas Fairy  – Come and hear festive stories and meet the Christmas Fairy.

  • Finchampstead Library Friday December 7 11am to 11.30am
  • Wokingham Library Tuesday December 11 4pm to 4.30pm
  • Woodley Library Saturday December 8 11am to 11.30am
  • Lower Earley Library Monday December 10 11.15am to 11.45am

For children aged 8 and under, Just drop in! With thanks to The Enchanted Players Theatre Company.

Festive Sand Art – Just drop in and create a sand art picture with Kids Bee Happy with Maddi. £4 per picture, for children aged 4 to 11 years old. Sunday December 2, 10.30am to 1pm

Wokingham Borough Libraries Christmas Events at Dinton Pastures

Christmas Rhymetime – Come and join Wokingham Borough Libraries for a special Festive themed rhymetime. Dress in your favourite Christmas jumper and sing along with festive tunes. Suitable for families with children aged 5 and under. £2 Charge per family – up to 2 adults and 2 children . Friday December 14 11am to 11.45am

Snowy Tales—Come and hear some snow themed stories and songs, then create your own snowman mask to take home and a fun Christmas jumper activity. Suitable for 2 to 8 year olds, £2 Charge per child. Saturday December 15 11am to 11.45am

Reindeer Stories and Craft – Come and hear stories about reindeers with fun songs and create your own reindeer mask to take home and a fun Christmas jumper activity. Suitable for 2 to 8 year olds, £2 Charge per child. Saturday December 15   9.45am to 10.30am

For further information and to book, please visit: https://booking.wokingham.gov.uk/whats-on/

Winter Mini Reading Challenge for Children

The Winter Mini Challenge encourages children to keep reading through the winter holidays by rewarding them for reading and reviewing three books. This year we are thrilled to partner with publisher Nosy Crow for an extra special challenge inspired by There’s A Yeti in the Playground!, the hilarious new book from Blue Peter Award winners Pamela Butchart and Thomas Flintham.

Taking part online – To take part in the Mini Challenge, children simply read three books of their choice, then rate and review them online at www.winterreadingchallenge.org.uk   The Challenge starts on Saturday 1 December 2018 and finishes on Friday 11 January 2019, so there’s plenty of time to get involved! Books added to the website during this period will count towards unlocking the Mini Challenge rewards: a special certificate to print off and keep, and a Winter Challenge badge that will appear on the user’s website profile. The website will also feature printable activities and recommendations for great winter reads.

For even more suggestions, try the Book Sorter, our unique database of children’s peer-to-peer recommendations.

All the books it recommends have been rated and reviewed by children using the website. https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/

Wokingham Borough Libraries contact details

Arborfield Library 0780 1664520

Finchampstead Library (0118) 908 8176

Twyford Library (0118) 934 0800

Wargrave Library (0118) 940 4656

Lower Earley Library (0118) 931 2150

Spencers Wood Library (0118) 988 4771

Winnersh Library (0118) 979 7519

Wokingham Library (0118) 978 1368

  Woodley Library (0118) 9690304

A selection of our events are listed above, for all of our events visit: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/whats-on-in-our-libraries/

Local Plan Update Survey

Wokingham Borough Council is consulting on an update to our Local Plan, which will guide where and how growth will take place in the borough in the years up to 2036.  Wokingham Borough is a popular place to live, with a strong economy and high quality of life. This popularity causes a huge challenge to provide the homes we need. We need to provide these homes for the future in the right way – and with your involvement.
The consultation asks you where you think development should go and whether there are locations suitable for higher densities and taller buildings. There are also questions about land for new employment centres. You will be able to see all of the land being put forward for development as part of this process and provide comments on its suitability. The consultation runs until 4pm on Friday 15 February 2019.

You can find all documents and details of the consultation on our website   at www.wokingham.gov.uk/localplanupdate.

We are running a number of events during the consultation. Come along to the following locations to find out more and ask any questions.

4 December 2018,  Tuesday 7pm-9pm Winnersh Winnersh Community Centre RG41 5DU
7 January 2019,  Monday 7pm-9pm Wokingham Without St Sebastian’s Memorial Hall RG40 3BA
10 January 2019,   Thursday 7pm-9pm Twyford  Loddon Hall RG10 1AS
16 January 2019,  Wednesday 7pm-9pm Wokingham Wokingham Town Hall RG40 1AS
22 January 2019,  Tuesday 7pm-9pm Shinfield  Ryeish Green Sports Hub RG7 1EP
30 January 2019,  Wednesday 7pm-9pm Arborfield  Henry Street Garden Centre RG2 9JY
6 February 2019,  Wednesday 7pm-9pm Earley  Trinity Church RG6 5HZ
12 February 2019,  Tuesday 7pm-9pm Woodley  Oakwood Centre RG5 4JZ
For more information, please email LPU@wokingham.gov.uk

Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 shortlist revealed

 

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Managed by BookTrust, the Blue Peter Book Awards honour the best books for children published in the last 12 months. BookTrust’s c.e.o. Diana Gerald said: “We’re delighted to be involved in the Blue Peter Book Awards again this year, helping to excite and encourage children everywhere to love reading and discover more about science, the human body and the journey to the afterlife.”

The shortlist was judged by: “Blue Peter” editor Ewan Vinnicombe; teacher, writer and researcher Darren Chetty; author and vlogger Louise Pentland; and author-illustrator Alex T Smith. Smith said: “Whittling these brilliant titles down to the shortlist has been incredibly tricky but I know we’ve managed to put together a shortlist which has something for everyone. We can’t wait to share it with the world!”

The winning titles, voted for by over 300 children from 12 schools across the UK, will be revealed live on “Blue Peter” on World Book Day on Thursday 7th March 2019, with the winning authors and illustrators appearing on the special awards episode of the show.

  • The best story shortlist

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The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf

“There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it. He’s nine years old (just like me), but he’s very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets – not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite! But the truth is, Ahmet really isn’t very strange at all. He’s a refugee who’s run away from a war. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to be his friend. That‘s where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we’ve come up with a plan.

The House with the Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson9781474940665[1]

“Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays somewhere long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning. The only people Marinka meets are dead; they disappear when her grandmother, Baba Yaga, guides them through The Gate. Marinka wants to change her destiny, but her house has other ideas.”

 

The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher9781910080849[1]

The Clockwork Crow‘ is a mysterious gothic Christmas tale set in a frost-bound Victorian country mansion. When orphaned Seren Rees is given a mysterious package by a strange and frightened man on her way to her new home, she reluctantly takes it with her. But what is in the parcel? Who are the Family who must not be spoken of, and can the Crow help Seren find Tom, before the owner of the parcel finds her?”

 

  • The best book with facts shortlist

The Element in the Room: investigating the atomic ingredients that make up your 9781786271778[1]home by Mike Barfield and Lauren Humphrey

“Did you know that without the ‘lead’ in your pencil, there would be no life on Earth? Just about everything in the universe is made from only 92 elements – and from aluminium to zinc, many of them are hiding in your very own home! This funny and fascinating guide is bursting with brilliant facts about the atomic ingredients that make up everything around us. Join scientific sleuth Sherlock Ohms as he investigates the elements, and help his enquiries with explosive experiments.”

The Colours of History by Clive Gifford and Marc-Etienne Peintre9781784939670[1]

“Why did Roman emperors wear purple? Which colour is made from crushed beetles? What green pigment might be used to build super-fast computers of the future? From black to white, and all the colours in between, every shade has a story to tell. Each colour group is introduced with a stunning and interpretive double-page spread illustration, followed by illustrated entries exploring the ‘colourful’ history of particular shades. With vivid, thought-provoking illustrations and engaging, bite-sized text, this book is a feast for the eyes and the mind, ready to enthral budding artists and historians alike.”

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey by Dr Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman9781911171140[1]

“Are our ears supposed to be a weird shape? Why do we sneeze? What is the point in having skin? The human body is one of the most complicated things in the Universe. Join Professor Astro Cat and the whole gang as they journey through all the wondrous parts of the human body, with the help of writer Dominic Walliman himself! From head to toe and everywhere in-between, there’s nothing left out of this fascinating human body odyssey!”

BluePeterBookAwards2019[1]To reserve your copy, pop into your local Wokingham Borough Library or visit the online catalogue at www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/search-renew-and-reserve-items/

November is National Non-Fiction month

National Non-Fiction November is a celebration of all things factual. Join in by borrowing one of our brand new non-fiction books, including biographies, cookbooks and travel guides.

9781911600893[1]My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

 

“In a series of essays exploring her life, thoughts and opinions, this is the first time Lily has laid bare everything. ‘My Thoughts Exactly‘ is an epic exploration of a messed up mind and a complex life. Beginning with her childhood isolation, to finding huge success in her career but ending up as alone as she once was, Lily questions everything she knew about herself, probing her life for answers to the question she has forever been trying to answer: Who Am I?”

Together: Our Community Cookbook 9781529102925[1]

“In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, a group of local women gathered together to cook fresh food for their families and neighbours. Over the chatter and aromas of the kitchen they discovered the power of cooking and eating together to create connections, restore hope and normality, and provide a sense of home. This was the start of the Hubb Community Kitchen. ‘Together’ is a storybook of this West London community, showcasing over 50 delicious recipes from the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen and including a foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex.”

9781786572820[1]Lonely Planet Guide to Paris

“This guide provides accommodation options for all budgets, details on where and how to see the sights of the city, advice on using public transport, advice on shopping and information on the history of the city.”

 

 

9781786571809[1]Lonely Planet Guide to South Africa

“This guide provides practical information on every aspect of travel, with transport and accommodation options to suit any budget. There are also details on national parks and game reserves.”

 

 

9781788700283[1]Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite: My Story by Roger Daltrey

“Roger Daltrey is the voice of a generation. That generation was the first to rebel, to step out of the shadows of the Second World War – to invent the concept of the teenager. This is his story, from his birth at the height of the Blitz, through tempestuous school days to his expulsion, age 15, for a crime he did not commit (though he was guilty of many other misdemeanours he’d got away with). Thanks to Mr Kibblewhite, his draconian headmaster, it could all have ended there. The life of a factory worker beckoned. But then came rock and roll. He made his first guitar from factory off-cuts. He formed a band. The band became The Who – Maximum R&B – and, by luck and by sheer bloody-mindedness, Roger Daltrey became the frontman of one of the biggest rock bands on the planet.”

Wokingham Borough Libraries Christmas Events at Dinton Pastures

Wokingham Borough Libraries Christmas Events at Dinton Pastures

Christmas Rhymetime at Dinton Pastures Country Park Come and join Wokingham Borough Libraries for a special Festive themed rhymetime. Dress in your favourite Christmas jumper and sing along with festive tunes. Suitable for families with children aged 5 and under. £2 Charge per family – up to 2 adults and 2 children

Friday December 14 11am to 11.45am

Snowy Tales and craft Come and hear some snow themed stories and songs, then create your own snowman mask to take home and a fun Christmas jumper activity. Suitable for 2 to 8 year olds, £2 Charge per child.

Saturday December 15 11am to 11.45am

Reindeer Stories and Craft Come and hear stories about reindeers with fun songs and create your own reindeer mask to take home and a fun Christmas jumper activity. Suitable for 2 to 8 year olds, £2 Charge per child.

Saturday December 15 9.45am to 10.30am

For further information and to book, please visit: https://booking.wokingham.gov.uk/whats-on/ or call Dinton Pastures on 0118 934 4424

Wokingham Winter Carnival at Wokingham Library-November 25

Come and help us celebrate the Wokingham Winter Carnival at Wokingham Library on November 25 when we will be open between 11am and 4pm.

Attractions include:

  • Santa’s Grotto provided by Home-Start Wokingham 11am to 3pm
  • Berkshire Maestros-free mini maestros workshops at 11.15-11.45am, and 12.45am to 1.15pm
  • Punch and Judy Show 12 noon to 12.30pm
  • Magic Show 1.30pm to 2pm
  • Berkshire Maestros Guitar Ensemble 2.15pm to 2.45pm
  • Cards for Good Causes on sale
  • Coffee Shop open 11am to 3.30pm
  • Entertainers dropping in throughout the day

Just drop-in and join the fun!Christmas 3

You and Your Little Ones- a workshop at Woodley Library to help improve health and well-being

Come find out how you can improve the health of you and your family. This workshop covers whole body alignment, tips on improving bad back and knees, impact of footwear, making eating healthy easy and more.

The workshop takes place at Woodley Library on Wednesday November 28 11am to 11.45am

Free Event. To book go to https://www.eventbrite.com/o/welift-18067451006

Health Workshop

New Christmas Children’s books in libraries now

 

Choose a new children’s Christmassy book from our wonderful new range of titles available in Wokingham Libraries now. Visit the online catalogue to reserve your copy www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/search-renew-and-reserve-items/

9781786890726[1]

Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig

“It isn’t always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas.”

 

 

9780552576703[1]Hetty Feather’s Christmas by Jacqueline Wilson

“An unexpected gift leads to trouble for Hetty on Christmas Day at the Foundling Hospital, and the dreaded Matron Bottomly is delighted to have an excuse to exclude Hetty from the festive celebrations. Poor Hetty is distraught – but just when it seems that all is lost, a dear friend arrives to whisk her away for a Christmas unlike any other.”

 

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Father Christmas’s Fake Beard by Terry Pratchett

“Have you ever wanted Christmas to be different? Turkey and carols, presents and crackers – they all start to feel a bit samey. How about a huge exploding mince pie, a pet abominable snowman, or a very helpful partridge in a pear tree? What if Father Christmas went to work at a zoo, or caused chaos in a toy store or, was even, arrested for burglary!? Dive into the fantastically funny world of Terry Pratchett, for a festive treat like no other. These ten stories will have you laughing, gasping and crying (with laughter) – you’ll never see Christmas in the same way again.”

 

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The Dog that Saved Christmas by Nicola Davies

“Jake is different from the other kids at school. He struggles when routines change and people’s emotions are so hard to understand. Christmas can be even worse and often the festivities are just too much to bear. But when Jake finds a little dog lost in the street he unlocks a connection he’s never had before.”

 

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Snowball by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

“A lonely young snowball, stuck at the top of a mountain, decides to visit the local town for a bit of fun – but on his way he trips, falls, and starts to roll – and when a snowball rolls through snow, we all know what happens! This snowball picks up not only snow, but a myriad of other crazy things on his way down – a sheep, a line of washing and even a bear on a bike.”

Meg’s Christmas by Jan Pienkowski and David Walser9780241357071[1]

“Oh no! A flood means that Christmas is looking doomed! Enter a spell, a surprise stay in a castle and a party to plan for – will Meg, Mog and Owl make it home for a very special Christmas Day? Jan Pienkowski’s bold, colourful artwork and instantly recognisable characters make this festive adventure for our favourite witch into a fun and satisfying read for the very young onwards.”

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The Three Little Snowmen by Georgie Adams and Emily Bolam

“Three little snowmen, Frosty, Freezy and Boots, are on a quest to find Father Christmas. Along with their pets, Poppet the Penguin, Henry the Husky and Samba the Seal, the intrepid friends go on a journey to the North Pole. But before long they get lost in a blizzard! Can the friends get to the North Pole in time to see Father Christmas?”

Mince Spies by Mark Sperring and Sophie Corrigan9781408893463[1]

“Who or what is destroying all the Christmas treats in the supermarkets? Santa sends his Mince Spies on a secret mission to uncover the culprits. With puff-pastry jetpacks, shortcrust walkie-talkies and squirty whipped cream they foil the villains – with a bit of help from Santa. A hilarious rhyming romp of a story with a festive message for all baddies: it’s better when you’re nice!”

9781471171536[1]

The Night I Met Father Christmas

“Jackson has always wanted to meet Father Christmas. He knows all about the reindeer, he knows about the elves and the secret North Pole workshop, he knows about the magic that allows Father Christmas to deliver presents around the world in just one night, but there’s one question he wants answered – how did Father Christmas become Father Christmas? One Christmas Eve, Jackson’s wish comes true and not only does he get to meet Father Christmas but he also hears his incredible story.”

The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo and Robin Shaw9780241352410[1]

A re-imagining of Raymond Briggs’ classic for a new generation of readers…

“When James wakes to see snow falling one December morning, he is delighted and rushes outside to make a snowman. With coal eyes, an old green hat and scarf and a tangerine nose, he is perfect and James can hardly bear to go inside and leave him. In the middle of the night, he wakes and creeps out to see his snowman again – and to his amazement, the snowman comes to life!”

New Adult Christmas Books in libraries now

Get into the Christmas spirit by borrowing one of these fantastically Christmassy new titles available now from Wokingham libraries. Visit the online catalogue to reserve your copy www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/search-renew-and-reserve-items/

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An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

“Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful. It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings? Meanwhile Saif, the doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons – but without his missing wife. Can the little family possibly find comfort and joy?”

A Christmas Return by Anne Perry9781472234254[1]

“As the festive season approaches, Charlotte Pitt’s grandmamma, Mariah Ellison, is facing Christmas alone. When she receives an unexpected gift, memories are sparked of a Christmas in Haslemere long ago, when her beloved friend Cullen Wesley died and a local villager was brutally murdered, with no killer brought to justice. The unsolved case has resurfaced and Cullen’s grandson, Peter, begs for Mariah’s help to solve the crime that led to his grandfather’s death. Mariah can’t resist a friend in need and she returns to Haslemere to investigate the murder and heal old wounds. But evil still lurks in the picturesque village and she’ll need all her wits about her to see that justice is done.”

9781472257369[1]A Christmas Revelation by Anne Perry

“Christmas is coming and the streets of London are full of festive cheer. As young Worm returns to his home at the Portpool Lane clinic, he encounters the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and, spellbound, he follows her until she is dragged away by two evil-looking men. Convinced that she is in grave danger, Worm begs Squeaky Robinson to help him track her down. But Elouise is embroiled with dangerous criminals who want information that only she can tell. They will stop at nothing to get what they want and, with Christmas day fast approaching, Worm and Squeaky must conjure up a daring plan to help Elouise before it is too late.”

A Christmas Wish for the Land Girls by Jenny Holmes9780552175814[1]

“Winter, 1942. Land Girls Brenda and Joyce have relocated higher up the Yorkshire Dales, to work on the remote hillside farms. Despite the bitter cold, there’s warmth to be found in old friends and new faces – and plans for a cosy Christmas are afoot. But then a child evacuee goes missing in the snow, and everyone must rally round to find the boy before it’s too late.”

 

 

The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan9781509838080[1]

“Set on the scenic fjords of Norway, ‘The Christmas Lights‘ by internationally bestselling author Karen Swan is a moving Christmas tale of love and heartbreak.”

 

 

 

The Magic of Christmas by Nora Roberts9780263267273[1]

 

“‘The most successful novelist on Planet Earth’ Washington Post Spend a glittering Christmas with New York Times bestselling sensation Nora Roberts!”

 

 

The Christmas Rose by Dilly Court9780008199678[1]

“As the ship glided into the harbour, guided by the cold, winter waters of the Thames, Rose took a deep breath. Had she done the right thing? Leaving everything behind her to follow the man she loved? But as London refused to appear through the thick fog that engulfed it, Rose felt more lonely than ever. Raised in Australia, Rose Munday is on the way back to the city she was born in. But, expecting to be met by her sweetheart, she is left alone on the waterfront, surrounded by whistles and scornful glances, chilled by the east wind coming off the docks. How could Max have abandoned her? With no money and no family left in London, Rose must go to work. Finding herself a position as a typist in a slowly modernising London, Rose‘s future begins to take shape in ways she would never have foreseen.”

Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson9781784709020[1]

“For years Jeanette Winterson has written a new story at Christmas time and here she brings together twelve of her brilliantly imaginative, funny, and bold tales, along with twelve delicious recipes for the twelve days of Christmas.”

 

 

9781471174360[1]Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland by Heidi Swain

“After calling off her engagement, Hayley, the Wynthorpe Hall housekeeper, wants nothing more than to return to her no-strings fun-loving self, avoiding any chance of future heartbreak. Little does she know, Wynbridge’s latest arrival is about to throw her plan entirely off course.”

 

 

 

Beige Coloured Days by Jean Hill

Local author Jean Hill who is also a member of the Wokingham Library Poetry Writing Group has written this poem at a time when we are all reflecting upon the lives that were lost during the Great War a hundred years ago.

BEIGE COLOURED DAYS

Wetly glistening, the stone, I trace

Your name with gnarled and blue-veined hands

Mottled white finger tips read the letters

On the memorial – this monument to madness

To my beige coloured days and tears unshed

“Wait for me”

You said, you said

Amid soddened poppies, the brass-band plays

And I hear echoes of the village carousel

Where horses grazed in fields now violated

With urban sprawl and shopping malls

I hold fast to my one silvered thread

I was once loved

You said, you said

You went the day the sun shone through

A misty dawn when the birds still sang

And church bells pealed their evensong

And wheat fields fanned with golden blush

When sun-sets gloried tones of red

“I’ll come back, we’ll wed”

You said, you said

A boy to adventure not understanding

In jaunty cap and hair shorn short

Village lads together, the Pals Brigade

With boots that sparked on cobbled stones

Over by Christmas, with Jerries fled

“Marching home victorious”

You said, you said

Your letters came with foreign stamps

Anguish between each censored line

My fresh-faced beau of tender years

God comfort you in the shadow of death

Give us this day, our daily bread

And prayers for you

I said, I said

Up the rutted lane the post-man came

Worn sombre face and cycle-clips

In his hand the yellow telegram

And time stood still while my heart raced

Numbed with grief – no tears to shed

“A reply?” – “No reply”

I said, I said

And so the start of my beige coloured days

The greyness of torment in years to come

No surrendered virginity – no bright horizon

I cry for children I would have borne

I weep for the life we could have led

“I’ll wait for you”

I said, I said

By Jean Hill

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