16th October was quite a busy day. We finally did an in-person Meet & Greet session in Reading in the new venue, the Biscuit Factory which is actually a new cinema in Broad Street Mall. At the same time we ran a stall at the What's Happening in Binfield event which LETS had jointly facilitated with the Foxes Den Community Cafe. 22 local organisations put on stalls and many reported signing up new members - LETS added three new ones.
Repair to Camping Chair In October
On 29th September we had a nice but sparsely attended Coffee Morning at Foxes Den Cafe. It may have been quiet because of the fuel crisis, but no-one turned up on Zoom so maybe everyone was just busy on that day.
On 25th September we ran a stall at the excellent Reading Town Meal in Forbury Gardens. It's a community event put on by Food 4 Families, not the Council. Food is grown beforehand in gardens and allotments and then collected and sorted before being cooked up by Reading College catering students, and served up as a three course free meal for about 1000 people.
There were stalls from lots of local organisations, music from bands on the bandstand and other entertainment and activities.
Weather was good; admittedly not too much sun but at least no rain and loads better than the day afterwards. Our stall had various practical demonstrations including tool sharpening and two solar powered sewing machines. We didn't actually get a lot done due to the level of interest from the public. The reason the stall looks fairly quiet in the small number of pictures we took is that the rest of the time we were too busy to take any!
The event overall was slightly smaller than some previous ones but a better atmosphere and a nice step on from the Waterfest three months before which was subject to timed tickets and a one way system.
On 26th August we had another excellent Garden Party at a member's house. There was lots of nice food; some items for trading were on display and fruit from the garden also got traded. At the end there was also an unexpected piano recital.
On 4th August we had our first live meeting at Foxes Den Cafe since March last year. About 20 people attended plus two on Zoom. We were so excited at doing a real meeting no-one remembered to take any photos!
On Monday 26th July we held a Garden Party, the first such event since 2019. There was also an option of attending by Zoom but 12 people dropped in during the day and some in person produce trading took place.
On 19th June we actually did a stall at an outdoor event, the first since 2019 - Reading WaterFest in the Forbury Gardens which also included a celebration of the 900th anniversary of the Abbey. As it was the third Saturday we originally billed it as that month's Meet & Greet session though it soon became apparent that the Council's timed ticket system was going to limit the amount of people we could get in. Also we had some problems with the event's one way system which didn't seem to include much of a circular route and two of our stall volunteers found themselves having to leave the site and come back in through the front gate to get back to the stall. It did put us off from exploring!
However, fair play to Reading Council for actually putting something on when so many other events were cancelling.
At the start of the year trading was a bit limited due to the ongoing lockdown situation but there was still a reasonable amount going on, about 130 hours worth in six months. Produce, crafts and repair items were delivered by people on exercise walks, or moved between Bracknell and Reading by key workers who are making the journey already. We weren't able to do in person meetings but had some very good talks over Zoom.
There aren't loads of pictures of people exchanging items or putting up shelves yet but here are some examples of recent practical trades.
More practical trading included sharpening a set of secateurs and a serious metalwork operation to cut a hole in a stainless steel lid.