Category Archives: Extra!

Give blood in Reading: when, where and how (and why not now?)

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The sun shines in Reading!

The sun shines in Reading! (Actually this picture was from my neighbour's yard in California, Scotland.)

Hello lovely Revellers,

Did you know that emergency blood supplies reach their lowest at summer?

That’s right. There’s a significant need for blood donors in Reading right about now. Why? Well, many donors contribute regularly, but they sometimes miss their slots during the summer due to holidays.  Therefore the regular blood supply runs low.

I learned this important bit of knowledge today at Greyfriar’s Church in Reading, where a super organised troop of nurses were running the donation session like a true machine. Read the rest of this entry

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My go at writing for The Guardian, from West Reading

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The GuardianRevellers, hope you’re enjoying the rainy sunshine of summer in Reading!

As usual, I’ve been dabbling in 1,001 things under the sun. Today I thought I’d repost one of them. It was my entry to The Guardian’s International Development journalism contest. I didn’t make it to the finals, but congratulations to all who did. Next year I’ll make sure not to be finishing my entry at 11pm on deadline night!

Last year my entry on inclusive development made it onto the professionals’ longlist, and I had really hoped to do better this year for the chance to report on scene somewhere. Maybe next time! 

Anyway, here it is, a somewhat scraggly piece written for the category of post-emergency shelter: Read the rest of this entry

Feathery hat? Tick. Champagne picnic? Tick. It’s Henley Regatta time!

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Beer in shades at The Harvester in Prospect Park, Reading

Well Revellers, you may recall my last post being about a 3-step self-help programme in Reading: Visit the pub, grab a drink, plummet gracefully to the Earth in a bungee jump.

Last Sunday, a portable bungee platform was set up near the smoking patio beside the Royal Albion pub on Oxford Road, Reading. Did you take part?

In any case, there’s a different human spectacle on this weekend. It’s the famous Henley Regatta in Henley-on-Thames, Berkshire, drawing world-champion rowers since 1839.

You can see the rowing for free along the public paths of the Thames or in the start enclosure, from what I have read. Throw on some shorts, pack a picnic and invite the bees if you’re feeling sweet and summery.

However, if you’ve already gone out and bought your silly hat, lounge suits, jackets and blazers — after all it is July and you will be outdoors in England, you never know if it could snow — then fear not! You can still rise above the bourgeoise and buy a spectators’ badge for one of the other enclosures, ranging from £15-£20.

The Henley Regatta site goes into courteous detail about how one should present one’s self on the day. I think they had to spell it out really clearly in case Kate turns up to another royal-level event wearing jeans and wellies again: Read the rest of this entry

How to survive a bridal shop sales day

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Reading rainbow through the fence

Did anyone else see the rainbow over Reading last Friday? I captured this shot after the wedding fayre at the Reading Irish Centre.

Brides and their would-be equivalents are crazy. This is true. We’ve all seen it on telly, in the films, and perhaps we’ve met one or two in real life.

I didn’t actually plan on being like that… It just sort of happened! (This morning, aye.) Read the rest of this entry

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review – Actually, There’s Nothing Strange About Them

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What’s a better pastime in Reading than going to the cinema?  Well, water zorbing, perhaps.  But if you really want to see a movie then how about pirates at sea instead of a big bubble by the Kennet?  We decided to do just that this weekend and saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides at the Vue in the Oracle.

Read the rest of this entry

Tornado in Reading: a link between Kansas and Berkshire

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Tornado in Reading, Kansas

Tornado in Reading, Kansas

Dear Revellers,

You may have noticed a lapse since my last post about life in Reading, but there’s a good reason: I went home!

A good friend got married, I met my new niece Katherine and I also saw my brother graduate from uni.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the Heartland has been so lucky these last few weeks. You probably heard about the tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri (where my high school marching band visited for a festival back in the day). The tornado killed at least 132 people and left the community looking like a war zone.

Earlier that week, another tornado struck Reading, Kansas. One person died and 20 homes destroyed. It is a devastating situation for a community of 231 people. Read the rest of this entry

Thor: The Beardiest Avenger

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Editor’s note: This is the first film review featured on Revel in Reading! Guest author and chief Reveller Iain Burnside recently saw Thor at The Vue cinema (part of The Oracle shopping centre in Reading). A link to show times is below the review.

The superhero movie genre has become a familiar presence at the multiplex in recent times.  Over the past decade, starting with the first X-Men movie, Marvel Comics characters have amassed some three dozen feature films.  Another six will be released in the next couple of years, with many more in the pipeline.  Characters from other publishers, such as DC Comics and Dark Horse, are also being granted the big-screen adaptation treatment.  There is clearly a winning formula to these movies – the uncertain rookie hero discovering super-powers; the nefarious villain with a world-threatening scheme; the love interest whose survival is threatened by their conflict; the ubiquitous genre tropes of secret identity, costume and catchphrase.  All of which comes pre-packaged for Toys R Us shelves, fast food meal deals and a rockin’ soundtrack.

Thor does not fit into this mould.

Read the rest of this entry

Race for Life in Reading and Cancer Research UK need you!

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The Race for Life event (happening in Reading this July) just featured in a new television advert*, and it caught my attention. Why? Because it was honest.

The Cancer Research UK ad speaks directly to us couch potatoes, telling us of a key obstacle facing this year’s Race 4 Life events: Registration numbers are lower than expected, and Cancer Research UK are desperate for more supporters to join the races and walks. Read the rest of this entry

Horse racing, Scouting for Girls, Texas and dinner deal

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beer in shades How are you spending the bank holiday in Reading? I’m heading to Goring-on-Thames to pick up a vintage Raleigh fold-up bike. Goring’s just eight miles away, but I’m looking forward to roaming beyond Berks.

Speaking of which, there’s a cool concert and horse racing event (Epsom Live! 2011) happening just outside Berks. This includes a day of racing, a concert, dinner and a drink — for less than 15 quid per person! That’s a pretty awesome summer treat brought to you by the discount site Groupon.

There are 2 dates available. The first is June 30 and features the Scottish band Texas. The second is July 14 and features American rockers Scouting for Girls. Both bands are playing at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey. Read the rest of this entry

Race for Life in Reading and Cancer Research UK need you!

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The Race for Life event (happening in Reading this July) just featured in a new television advert*, and it caught my attention. Why? Because it was honest.

The Cancer Research UK ad speaks directly to us couch potatoes, telling us of a key obstacle facing this year’s Race 4 Life events: Registration numbers are lower than expected, and Cancer Research UK are desperate for more supporters to join the races and walks. Read the rest of this entry