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Nellie Knows : The Wokingham Paper : 16 August 2018

Well the gardens, rivers and reservoirs have needed the rain and the signs of lawn recovery are quite astounding. I’m looking forward to visiting some gardens that are open for the NGS as well as the Hurst Horticultural and Home Industries Show this Saturday in Hurst Village Hall. I can’t resist a village show or plant sale and come away full of inspiration. This year my seeds from Higgledy Garden have done really well and I am particularly pleased with my Love in a mist.

You know autumn is round the corner when Casualty returns and the adverts start rolling for the new dramas. I’m rewatching Keeping Faith and still loving it, it’s also research as I am interviewing the scriptwriter Matthew Hall and special guests at Crickhowell Literary Festival. I have also been catching up with Unforgotten and Our Shirley Valentine Summer which I have been loving. I spoke to Sian Lloyd at an Awards Evening in March and she said she was off to Greece for filming. Having done island hopping spending time in the Cyclades it is fascinating to see Naxos again. The last time we were there we met up with an American who wanted to break into acting. Imagine my surprise when Jennifer Lopez burst onto our screens! Obviously not the same one but we did have a chuckle!

Have you seen Mamma Mia Here We Go Again? I loved it and I think I love it more than the first one if that’s possible. It’s very cleverly done and the cameo appearances are brilliant. I grew up on a diet of ABBA on the 8 track and despite not hearing many of the songs for years it could be Only Yesterday! Oh that’s the Carpenters, another favourite on the 8 track. I could go on Forever and Ever but I’m not Demis Roussos.

If you are looking for a fun day out for all the family with trips on the river and love of interactive fun activities on land then get your family to The Paddock at Phyllis Court Club, Marlow Road, Henley for the Regatta for the Disabled, now in its 9th year, on Saturday 1st September. Entrance is £5 per person, children under 4 and carers are free. There is plenty of free and accessible parking. Refreshments available to purchase or bring your own, don’t forget to take your rubbish home with you. Lucy Walton was one of the founders and tells me “it’s a unique family event that allows disabled and able bodied people to experience and enjoy the river and everything it has to offer”. For more information look at the website

How exciting that Wokingham will be holding its first Children’s Book Festival which is taking place on 20 and 21 October. It will be a fabulous chance for children to meet 23 authors and illustrators who will bring stories to life through fun, interactive workshops. The festival is brought to you by Wokingham Borough Council's libraries service, Wokingham Town Council and ‘more arts.’

More details are on the WBC website.

Do you know any extraordinary women? Now is the time to nominate and celebrate 'extraordinary women' you know on Wokingham Town Council's wall of women at Heritage Open Day, 15th Sept in the Town Hall. What better way to say thank you to a woman who has been there for you, stood by or up for you, inspired, supported or motivated you. This is a very special way to say thank you. For more information check out the Wokingham Town Council website

My nomination would have to be Elizabeth Burton-Phillips. A child taking to drugs is a parental nightmare but for Elizabeth drug addiction destroyed the lives of her identical twin sons. They were doing well at school but were suspended for smoking cannabis; it was the start of a journey into heroin addiction that led to Nick killing himself. In “Mum Can You Lend Me Twenty Quid”, Elizabeth, who was last year awarded an MBE for founding charity DrugFAM, tells her moving tale that won praise from Theresa May and has the saving grace that her surviving twin Simon is now drug-free. Join her in discussion at Henley Literary Festival on Friday 5 October 2018 at 830pm in The Town Hall with DrugFAM ambassador, Nellie Williams (that’s me!). Tickets available from the Henley Literary Festival.


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