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nclusive £204 holidays GREAT VALUE 5 DAY HALF BOARD BREAKS


per person

When it comes to inviting, relaxing breaks in the south, we have the ideal holiday for you.

Whether you’re after family-friendly holidays, a romantic getaway or a group break with like-minded people, our eight hotels cover the nation’s finest locations. From the popular beaches of Cornwall to the cosy Isle of Wight, there’s something for everyone.

have our own fleet of executive Our coach inclusive option allows guests across the UK to travel in ches that usoffer totheoffer comfort, while enables our self-drive holidays freedom of having your own car. el from a selection of pick up Every break includes: nts across the UK. • Return coach travel (self-drive option available) • Comfy en suite accommodation

vehicle features air conditioning and on board • Breakfast & 3-course evening meal to make your journey as comfortable as possible. • Live nightly entertainment also boast friendly drivers who will warmly greet help you settle into your pre-allotted seat and let Certificate of Excellence Awards now of any planned comfort breaks. We aim to We are proud to announce that five of our group – The Barrowfield, Devonshire,depending Daish’s, Bournemouth ou to your hotel between 3-5pm, on Sands and Claremont Hotels – have been awarded the coveted TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016. ngth of the journey. DHoalidisayhs’s

Seven fabulous locations, eight great hotels. Every break includes:

Llandudno Newquay

Isle of Wight

Torquay Weymouth






d Self-Drive

Coach an Price List






• Return coach travel (self-drive option


Isle of Wigh

Holiday &


• Comfy en suite accommodation

2017 02/12/2016



Request your new 2017 brochure now!

Daish’s Hotel

Devonshire Hotel

Bournemouth Sands Claremont Hotel • Breakfast & 3-courseTheevening meal

Don’t miss these coach inclusive breaks! Local pick up points from make it easy to get away. Price includes return coach travel from: Mansfield, Nottingham, Beeston, Loughbrough, Leicester, Coventry. Derby, Burton-upon-Trent, Tamworth, Sutton Coldfield, NEC. DATE




MAY 02

Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth




Russell Hotel – Weymouth




Claremont Hotel – Eastbourne




Daish’s Hotel – Isle of Wight




Somerset Hotel – Llandudno




Devonshire Hotel – Torquay




Sands Hotel – Bournemouth




Claremont Hotel – Eastbourne




Russell Hotel – Weymouth




Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth




Sands Hotel – Bournemouth




Claremont Hotel – Eastbourne




Barrowfield Hotel – Newquay




Devonshire Hotel – Torquay




Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth




Sands Hotel – Bournemouth




Barrowfield Hotel – Newquay




Devonshire Hotel – Torquay




Sands Hotel – Bournemouth




Claremont Hotel – Eastbourne




Barrowfield Hotel – Newquay




Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth




Russel Hotel – Weymouth



Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a Standard Room. Supplements apply on twin/ double rooms with sole occupancy. Optional local excursions can be booked at the hotel. Many more coach or self-drive holiday dates available in 2016. If you would prefer to self-drive, deduct £20 per person from prices shown. All offers are subject to availability and standard terms and conditions (see brochure or website for T&C’s).





n available)

Call 01202 638840 or visit daishs.com quote 50PlusEM facebook.com/daishs

Somerset Hotel

Barrowfield Hotel

Hotel Prince Regent

Russell Hotel


Twittering on With Tyler Grundy Starting this edition's ‘Twittering On' a rather sombre note. Remembering the vast amount of celebrities that we lost throughout 2016, the social media world has been typing in fear. Will this trend continue into 2017? (I mean it is likely, we are after all an ageing population).

Now I do not mean to boast but as I write this, I have just finished watching the series on my ultra-high definition TV and some of the scenes are truly breathtaking. I myself love the show and would recommend it to you readers today, if you have not watched it already although, I imagine many of you will have done. But I must admit, I had a second agenda other than for my viewing pleasure when I watched the show.

I shall regale you with one of my favorite tweets before moving swiftly on. I imagine you will be able to guess the famous figure to which the user was referring;

“He’s made it into 2017, Brucey! Wrap him up in cotton wool now!”

Attenborough Does It Again!

The internet following its initial airing was in uproar over a certain scene in the very first episode involving newborn iguanas and racer snakes. The scene unfolded into a deadly chase between the two. If you have seen it then I imagine the scene has stuck with you.

The original Planet Earth presented by David Attenborough is widely regarded as one of the greatest TV series’ ever produced. The series originally aired in 2006 and the follow up aptly titled Planet Earth II concluded this winter.


The epic scene has been widely compared to this decade's hit show Game of Thrones. Now if you are not familiar with that show it is filled to the brim with sex, incest, and head popping violence (literally). I saw many a viewer compare the intensity of the snakes swarming the baby iguana and the close ups of its final moments of its short life with the violence and gore ever present in Game of Thrones, many noting that Planet Earth had just raised the bar. In case you are one of those not familiar with Game of Thrones, I shall regale you with a story I heard going around about the show's latest season. It is renowned for its openness in showing full frontal female nudity and there was recently a rumor stating that if the showrunners did not even the score with full frontal male nudity then the show would risk being cancelled. Coincidently, they obliged. Anyway, that is just a taster of what kind of a show Thrones is. Admittedly, the scoring of the Planet Earth scene by world-renowned







6th Floor | 120 Bark Street | Bolton | BL1 2AX Sales Enquiries : T: (01204) 860 194 E: artwork@mcgrathmedia.co.uk



TWITTER composer Hans Zimmer did add a sense of epic proportion to the chase.

65 Years of Queen Liz!

Understandably, the internet could not miss such an opportunity to create an account for the iguana that made it to safety. With its first post being a thank you to all its fans who wished him well, while also informing us he was “bricking it” running across those rocks.

Indeed, this is the popular term of endearment for Queen Elizabeth II within the Twitter universe. As I write this section, I must admit I was a little puzzled as to how long a ‘Sapphire Jubilee’ was a recognition of. Then to realize that it was the first of its kind as no other English monarch has celebrated 65 years on the throne.

30p For A Freddo?! Yes, you read that correctly. The famous frog chocolate bar, that back in my childhood days was an affordable 10p has been steadily rising in price over the last few years. Now at the risk of not making myself sound too old, 30p in my childhood would have bought me a 10p Freddo and two 10p mixes from my local corner shop. I have no doubt this little tale will have you musing what you could have purchased with that amount of money back in the day. Some are linking the sudden rise in price with Brexit. First, they say it was the Toblerone when the chocolate bar, just weeks after the Brexit vote, announced they would be changing the traditional triangle shape of the bar. Albeit a minute change to the size of the triangles. Those passionate Twitter users have remerged here as well once again relating the rise in Freddo’s price to Brexit. Light humor over, here comes the academics. Here comes the inevitable history lesson from a history graduate. Some of you may be familiar with my historical tangents by now. Freddos were first introduced to Britain in 1973 and enjoyed their first stint on our shelves up until 1979 before again reappearing 15 years later.

The evolution of the Freddo bar can be seen above. And don’t let the picture fool you, as in recent years the Freddo has actually decreased in size as the price has increased. There is also a rumour that at one stage in the life of Freddo it stood at an absolute bargain price of 5p.

This picture is the Coronation of a young Queen Elizabeth II on the 2nd of June 1953 which took place more than a year after her reign began. I thought it was apt to take this opportunity to see what Twitter was saying about her reign as Britain’s longest reigning monarch. The most bizarre fact I have stumbled upon, although I am dubious about it, is that the Queen is the only person in the UK who does not require a driving license to drive. We really are in the realms of twittering on now.

Watch out Ticket Touts are about. In recent weeks, a string of high profile artists have announced tours of the UK. From Celine Dion, of Titantic fame and the young and hugely successful Ed Sheeran, the ginger haired bloke who started off as a busker and made it big. Both were sellouts in the multiple arenas they announced. For Sheeran the tickets ranged from a modest £44 to £77 for the better ones. Whereas for Dion officially the tickets stood at £49 to £163. Crazy right? I mean £163 for a one hit wonder, well in my eyes anyway. Now the shows are sold out, and this rather sadly is not because of committed fans but due to touts who buy tickets in bulk (in many cases you can buy up to 7 per person) and sell them on in some instances up to 10 times the normal asking price. Tickets that were originally priced at £44 are now going for the cheapest price of £152 right up to £220 and beyond. And this is on a website that is basically dedicated to the touting of tickets! We all know ticket touts to be shady men standing outside of arenas buying and selling tickets on the night. Now the game has changed.

I believe I can divide the rest of the tweets about her reign into three categories. We have the “65 years of doing nothing” brigade. We have, “Time to step down and let your son have a ago” posse and finally we have, “God save the Queen long may she reign” patriots who are the overwhelming majority in this case.

Rosie Returns! Consistent viewers of the nation’s favorite soap Coronation Street will have noticed a familiar face return to the cobbles in these past weeks. That is correct, Rosie Webster has returned! Online, fans of the show were quick to point out that although she may provide a bit of glamor and beauty for the show's male audience; it cannot make up for her lack of acting talent. One Twitter user wrote;

“Clearly Rosie Webster hasn’t spent the last few years away from Corrie at acting school”.

Fans these days will go to desperate measures to see their idols. One young Twitter user has already been forced to sell her house and car after spending £1,300 on tickets to see Ed Sheeran (pictured above) and is now moving back in with her parents. Of course, there is no guarantee the tickets will even come her way. I guess 30p for a Freddo does not sound so crazy after all. I shall leave you with some musings as I always do. How much would you be willing to pay to take you and your other half to see their favourite act? A few years ago I myself saw Sir Tom Jones who if the opportunity comes I would urge you to see. 50 quid I paid. So go on, treat yourself.






Coach Holidays

SAVE up to £50

per couple off a selection of 5 & 8 Day Tours

Robinsons Own Hotels


Delightful Devon and Torquay

The Garden Isle Isle of Wight

Sunny Sussex and Eastbourne

Imperial Hotel Located just a stone’s throw away from the promenade and band stand, this grand Victorian hotel is full of character and home to a number of spacious, comfortable bedrooms, all accessible via lifts.

Ocean View Hotel

Abbey Lawn Hotel

Situated in a premier location with an idyllic If you’re looking to unwind in style, this elegant seaside position, the charming, well-appointed Georgian hotel is the place to stay. Located in the Ocean View Hotel boasts uninterrupted grounds of the former Torre Abbey with stunning panoramic views across Sandown Bay. The hotel views of the bay, the Abbey Lawn hotel offers an also offers a large sprung dance floor and provides exceptional standard of comfort throughout. live entertainment most evenings. Park Garage, Great Harwood,

Freephone: 0800 083 9900 Visit us online at www.robinsons-holidays.co.uk

5 Day Tours 2017

4 nts dinner, bed & breakfast


DATE 01 May 15 May 22 May 29 May 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26 Jun 03 July 17 July 24 July 31 July 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Aug 04 Sept 11 Sept 25 Sept 30 Sept

WAS £225 £229 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 -

PRICE £199 £219 £200 £204 £214 £214 £214 £214 £214 £214 £214 £214 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £229 £219 £215

5 Day Tours 2017

Blackburn, BB6 7SP

4 nts dinner, bed & breakfast DATE 01 May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29 May 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26 Jun 03 July 10 July 17 July 24 July 31 July 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Aug 11 Sept 18 Sept 25 Sept 30 Sept

WAS £225 £229 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 £239 -

PRICE £199 £209 £219 £200 £204 £214 £214 £214 £214 £239 £214 £214 £214 £214 £239 £239 £239 £239 £229 £225 £219 £215

5 Day Tours 2017

4 nts dinner, bed & breakfast 19/12/2014 DATE



01 May



22 May



29 May



12 Jun



26 Jun



10 July



24 July



07 Aug



14 Aug



21 Aug



28 Aug



04 Sept



11 Sept



18 Sept



25 Sept



30 Sept



Supplements per person: Premier Room £20

Supplements per person: Premier Room £30 Sea View Room: £10

Supplements per person: Premier Room £30 Front Facing Room: £10

The following excursions are included: CHICHESTER AND ARUNDEL RYE AND TENTERDEN

The following excursions are included: ISLAND TOUR GODSHILL AND COWES

The following excursions are included: EXMOUTH AND EXETER TORBAY, BRIXHAM AND DARTMOUTH


8 Days from



Imperial Hotel

8 Day Tours 2017

7 nts dinner, bed & breakfast DATE 06/07 May 13/14 May 20/21 May 27/28 May 03/04 Jun 10/11 Jun 17/18 Jun 24/25 Jun 01/02 Jul 08/09 Jul 15/16 Jul 22/23 Jul 29/30 Jul

WAS £359 £369 £379 £389 £399 £409 £409 £409 £409 £409

PRICE £344 £354 £354 £364 £384 £409 £394 £409 £384 £394 £384 £409 £394

Ocean View Hotel

8 Day Tours 2017

7 nts dinner, bed & breakfast DATE 06/07 May 13/14 May 20/21 May 27/28 May 03/04 Jun 10 Jun 17/18 Jun 24/25 Jun 01/02 Jul 08 Jul 15/16 Jul 22/23 Jul 29 Jul

WAS £379 £389 £399 £409 £409 £409 £409 £409 £409 £409

PRICE £359 £369 £354 £364 £384 £394 £394 £409 £394 £394 £394 £394 £394

Abbey Lawn Hotel

8 Day Tours 2017

7 nts dinner, bed & breakfast DATE 06/07 May 13/14 May 20/21 May 27/28 May 03/04 Jun 10/11 Jun 17/18 Jun 24/25 Jun 01/02 Jul 08/09 Jul 15/16 Jul 22/23 Jul 29/30 Jul

WAS £359 £369 £379 £389 £399 £409 £409 £409 £409 £409 £409 £409

PRICE £344 £344 £364 £364 £374 £409 £394 £394 £384 £394 £409 £384 £384

AUGUST 8 DAYS NOW INCLUDE TRAVEL INSURANCE SAVING £40 PER COUPLE 05/06 Aug 12/13 Aug 19/20 Aug 26/27 Aug 02/03 Sept 09/10 Sept 16/17 Sept 23/24 Sept


£409 £409 £409 £409 £389 £379 £369 £359

05/06 Aug 12/13 Aug 19/20 Aug 26/27 Aug 02/03 Sept 09/10 Sept 16/17 Sept 23/24 Sept


£409 £409 £409 £409 £389 £379 £369 £359

05/06 Aug 12/13 Aug 19/20 Aug 26/27 Aug 02/03 Sept 09/10 Sept 16/17 Sept 23/24 Sept


£409 £409 £409 £409 £389 £379 £369 £359

Supplements per person: Premier Room - £35

Supplements per person: Premier Room - £50 Sea View Room - £15

Supplements per person: Premier Room - £50 Front Facing Room - £15

The following excursions are included:

The following excursions are included:

The following excursions are included:




Robinsons Holidays, Park Garage, Great Harwood, Blackburn BB6 7SP

TRAVEL it not for the sea walls and drainage ditches dating back to Roman times. This precarious platform of land is something of a world apart, a ‘Fifth Continent’, but it has been vital to the defence of England since Saxon times and always prized for its busy ancient ports and fertile sheep pastures.

Mermaid Inn, Rye

Travels in History: The Fifth Continent and the Making of England. Two regions of England have a fascinating story to tell. It is one that reaches back through centuries of interaction between the people, the land and the sea, and which is found within their particularly rich and striking natural and cultural heritage.

But the distinctiveness of this open, almost eerily strange landscape is more than physical. Life on ‘The Marsh’, as locals refer to it, has evolved a fascinating character and identity of its own. People have lived here since prehistoric times but most of the Marsh would now be flooded were

ROMNEY MARSH: THE FIFTH CONTINENT. “The world, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Romney Marsh” (The Ingoldsby Legends by Richard Harris Barham). Situated in the south-east corner of England, Romney Marsh is one of Britain’s most unique and intriguing regions, renowned for its rugged beauty and rich history. A flat tract of some 100 square miles, it projects bravely and calmly out to sea, distinct from the rolling hills and cliffs nearby. A 28 mile long canal hugs the Marsh’s landward edge, effectively cutting it off from the mainland.



Fairfield Church

A tour of the Marsh will reveal evidence of Saxons, Vikings, Normans, notorious smugglers, Nazi spies, inspired authors and many more colourful characters. It is famous for its medieval churches, within the walls of which are clues to a forgotten past, a past that was once carried on the shoulders of Kings, Archbishops, murderous pirates and scheming politicians. The churches are sometimes the only surviving testament to whole communities that disappeared to become the eleven lost villages of the Marsh. The smuggler’s tales of Russell Thorndyke’s Dr Syn novels are perhaps the best known stories from the Marsh but many famous authors and artists have found inspiration in the hidden history and strange beauty. This summer, local resident and professional archaeologist Dr Christopher Cole, invites you to join him on a unique 5 day tour based in the historic Mermaid Inn in Rye. His passion for and knowledge of the Marsh, its people and its history, give the tour an especially intimate insight (for details see below).

Latest research and discoveries. Based in the 4-star St Giles House Hotel in Norwich, this unique six day tour includes a fascinating day on a live excavation seeing the latest discoveries being made and the field techniques used, coupled with a wider exploration of the region’s unrivalled Anglo-Saxon and medieval sites. Enjoy lectures and guided visits to Sutton Hoo, Castle Acre, Walsingham, West Stow, Burgh and Norwich. Romney Marsh: 19 June, 17 July and 14 August 2017. Only £625 per person including 4 nights accommodation, all breakfasts, a 3-course evening meal on the first night, all excursion transport, entrances and expert guiding. East Anglia: 23 July and 30 July 2017. Only £699 per person including 5 nights accommodation, all breakfasts, a 3-course evening meal on the first night, all excursion transport, entrances and expert guiding.


Sutton Hoo Helmet

EAST ANGLIA: ORIGINS OF ENGLAND. The rich lands of Norfolk and Suffolk are steeped in the tribal origins of England and brimming with an unmatched medieval heritage. Facing continental Europe, they have hosted wave after wave of settlers in England’s history, including Celts, Romans, Anglo Saxons, Danes and Normans. Much of the region is prone to flooding and, like Romney Marsh, the flat landscape has been reclaimed for settlement and agriculture over many centuries. It now offers both a classic and unique representation of the English countryside, and still retains its winding lanes, rolling fields, timbered villages and pebbled beaches in abundance. It could also be described as a quintessence of the history of England. It was the tribal land of the Celtic Iceni, whose fearless Queen Boudicca led an uprising against Roman rule. In Anglo-Saxon times it was the Kingdom of the East Angles, one of the most powerful of the time, and home to the warrior-kings whose burial treasures were famously unearthed at Sutton Hoo, still the richest burial ever found in northern Europe. During the Middle Ages East Anglia developed into a powerhouse of agriculture, trade and religious activity, with Norwich as England’s second city. A tour of East Anglia will reward you with some of the finest medieval architecture and pure historical interest from anywhere in England. This summer you are invited to join historian Dr Martin Locker and archaeologist Dr Neil Faulkner as they explore Anglo-Saxon villages, Norman manors and monasteries, Christian saints and pilgrims and the creation of medieval England.

For details of these and other fascinating journeys into history, prehistory and the ancient world, visit www.hiddenhistory.co.uk or call them for a brochure on 0121 444 1854. Hidden History Travel explores a range of destinations in Britain, Europe and the Mediterranean. Combine beautiful locations with fascinating insights from archaeology and history through our expertly guided tours, gentle walks and interesting talks.

ARCHAEOLOGY & TRAVEL Perfect Combinations of Leisure and Interest • Minoan Crete & Santorini • Cyprus: North & South • Pompeii & Campania • Malta's Millennia • Ancient Greece • And More...

• Informed Travel • Beautiful Locations • Bespoke Itineraries • Expert Guides • Local Airports

RESERVE YOUR PLACE www.hiddenhistory.co.uk enquiries@hiddenhistory.co.uk tel: (UK) 0121 444 1854




50 Plus Travel

sponsored by

The Royal Clipper – The Windward Islands of the Caribbean

“I still want to enjoy sailing but not with all that responsibility.” This time it was George’s turn to explain why he had the Star Clippers bug. He had captained many a small yacht in the past and still wanted to experience the buzz from travelling by sail power. His wife however, preferred luxury holidays with

“I absolutely must go on that

a little pampering in the sun. The two of

ship….” Carolyn (a vibrant 65 year

them had found the perfect solution to

old Norwegian, now on her fourth

ensure marital harmony for their golden

Star Clippers cruise) explained over a


sundowner rum punch that she had been in Barbados a few years earlier on

January is the perfect time of year to

board a large cruise liner, and her eyes

escape from the UK with a direct flight

were drawn across the marina. It was

to Barbados and then a quick hop

love at first sight, and she has never looked back.

to join the Royal Clipper. And what a

The secret? The essence of a Star

elegant and photogenic in the port,

welcoming ship it is, by far the most a vision of beauty with comfort and

Clippers voyage is that it’s a genuine

charm in equal measures.

sailing experience on board the largest full-rigged ship in the world……with all of the comfort, superb dining and service of a 5 star cruise.


D ebbie M arshall f r o m S ilver T ravel A dvisor

After just a day or two, life on board established a delightful and relaxed daily routine. Rising early to enjoy


an excellent spa with a range of treatments. And a gym should all that wonderful food be resulting in a couple of unwelcome extra inches around the waist. The seven days went by all too fast, with experiences to savour that will last a lifetime. New friendships made, stories told and a true sense of well-being shared.

Star Clippers (0808 231 4798, www.starclippers.

Relaxing of the Jetty

co.uk) offers fully crewed tall ship sailing cruises in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Indonesia, Cuba and Asia, and transatlantic crossings each spring

the sunrise with a dazzling display of oranges and pinks

and autumn. A 7 night Caribbean sailing around

through the clouds and over the hills of the islands,

the Windward Islands (departing 13th January

accompanied by the water performance of the flying fish

2018) on board the magnificent flagship Royal

and the birds swooping to catch them. Then with my

Clipper costs from £1979 per person, including

appetite likewise awakened, it was high time for a buffet

return UK flights, transfers, all meals on board and

breakfast (the bread choice and quality alone rivalled any

port charges. Or cruise only from £1227.

top hotel), and the not too arduous task of deciding on the plan for the day ahead. The ship called in at a different island each day (St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St Kitts, Iles des Saintes and Martinique), and a range of excursions were on offer. Usually we would return to the ship for lunch which was also a buffet (including a fabulous beach barbecue in Antigua – what a way to lunch in style!), and any thought of hunger later in the afternoon was soon dispelled by tea served at 5pm in the tropical bar area where a soulful singer and keyboard player entertained. Then it was time to ascend to the upper deck, to savour the setting sun, cocktail of the day in hand, and enjoy the Sailaway. Dramatic and emotional music (Vangelis, `1492 Conquest of Paradise’) provides the atmosphere while the crew hoist the sails, the captain watches over and the guests step to the side of the incredible web of ropes and pulleys, as our elegant ship set sail for the next destination. Dinner is a la carte, where guests can choose to sit separately to eat if they choose, although it’s more interesting to be on a mixed table for 6 or 8. Evening entertainment is very informal, with a highlight being a steel band. Snorkelling equipment is available free of charge, and for those who prefer a little self-indulgence, there’s also


| 11

Rick Astley The Quiet Man of Pop You won’t see photos of him in celebrity magazines falling out of nightclubs at 4am or attending every premier in sight. Yet, in almost three decades in the limelight the shy lad from Warrington, Cheshire, has had a string of hits and possesses one of the most distinctive voices in the business. He has just finished a sell-out tour across the USA and the UK and the reaction from fans old and new underlines the long-lasting appeal of the clean-cut icon who, with his smart hairstyle and metrosexual wardrobe, looks years younger than 51. This timeless assurance may be down to his simple philosophy on life:

“I’m a person who tries not to have regrets.” Some of that down-to-earth approach could lie in his Northern upbringing. He was the youngest of three boys and a


girl and showed musical promise early, singing in the choir at his local church at 10. He learned to play the drums, piano/ keyboards, guitar and saxophone and in his teens was gigging in pubs and clubs with various bands like FBI. He commented: “I used to go to soul nights because I loved dancing, and so did my friends, and we loved the music. We used to go to listen to black American soul.” In 1985, Rick was performing with FBI, playing their own music, when he caught the attention of well-known record producer Pete Waterman. He persuaded the youngsters to come to London to work at his company, PWL recording studio, under what became the famous production team of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. In ‘80s pop, Stock Aitken Waterman was THE leading force.

During this time of learning, the young singer also doubled as studio teaboy. As he recalled: “Working as a teaboy may have helped my confidence but not everyone else was so pleased. I could never remember who had milk or how many sugars, and I had an unusual talent for spilling tea on the recording console!” At just 21 in 1987, Rick released his debut single “Never Gonna Give You Up”, and it had a huge impact. It took instant residence in the charts and became the year’s best-selling single in the UK as well as making No.1 in 16 different countries. The song became the centrepiece of debut album “Whenever You Need Somebody” which sold a remarkable 15 million copies worldwide. He even cracked the US Top 10 – a notoriously difficult achievement for any British singer, especially with a debut single, earning him a Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist.”

CELEBRITY INTERVIEW Suddenly, the shy Northern lad was catapulted into the international world of stardom, and the following years saw Rick released a string of further hits. The soulful songs with a mature depth of delivery from his rich voice made him a household name. “Whenever You Need Somebody”, “Hold Me In Your Arms, “She Wants To Dance With Me”, Take Me To Your Heart” and “Hopelessly” all propelled him into singles’ charts across the globe. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Rick Astley was everywhere – on TV, radio and the music charts. By 1993, he was a wealthy man with little to prove to the world. Some might say his innate shyness made him a slightly uncomfortable fit with the often brash world of celebrity. By then, he had a baby daughter, Emilie, and a wife, and he wanted to spend more time with them. So he decided to retire - at the age of just 27.

material I was working on was pretty good. So I decided to go for it.” It proved to be a good decision. The album reached No.1 and the single from it, “Dance” with its official video proved to be a hit. Suddenly, Rick was everywhere in the media again – although this time, a more assured and confident performer, comfortable in his own skin. As he insisted: “My time away from the spotlight allowed me to rediscover my love for music, and I’m doing it for me now and no-one else.” The quiet man of pop has found his voice in more ways than one.

For much of the ‘90s and into the 2000s, he was out of the music business, out of the spotlight. Then, in 2001, Rick returned, signing a co-publishing deal with Polydor and releasing single “Keep It Turned On.” When his first compilation album “Greatest Hits” came out in 2000, it reached No.16 on the UK albums’ chart. In 2003, he reached No.10 in the UK as a songwriter with “Shakespeare’s (Way With) Words” performed by boyband One True Voice. In 2004, Rick toured for the first time in 14 years, which led to a record contract with Sony BMG. In 2005, he released the album “Portrait” covering classics like “Vincent” and “Close To You”. In 2008, the album “The Ultimate Collection: Rick Astley” burst into the public’s consciousness and again went into the UK Top 40 albums’ chart. Later that year, Rick was nominated for the “Best Act Ever” award at the MTV Europe Music Awards and fans went into over-drive to ensure their hero received it. On the back of this, “Never Gonna Give You Up” returned to the UK charts – more than 21 years after it was released. During the late 2000s, Rick continued extensive touring across the globe and in 2010 was a special guest on Peter Kay’s tour “The Tour That Doesn’t Tour Tour … Now On Tour” and to mark the occasion, he released a new single, “Lights Out”, on his own label which was well-received. He became a DJ for London’s Magic FM with a popular weekly show, then co-hosted Chris Evens Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2, again with Peter Kay. In 2016, Rick released “Keep Singing” from his forthcoming album “50” – prompted by his turning 50. He told Amanda Holden on the “Lorraine” show: “It was a big milestone. I got back in the studio and friends were telling me the

* For the latest news on Rick’s appearances go to www.rickastley.co.uk WWW.50PLUSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

| 13


TOM KITCHIN - "KITCHIN SUPPERS" This is one of my favourite Sunday roasts. You can’t get much more British than a leg of lamb, but serving it in this way gives a certain Mediterranean feel and flavour, which makes the dish seem light and fresh. Infusing the lamb with flavourings like rosemary and fennel seeds makes it deliciously tasty. Most side dishes work with lamb, so choose your vegetables according to the season. You might also like to serve new potatoes alongside here, or a potato gratin.

ROASTED LEG OF LAMB WITH RATATOUILLE-STUFFED TOMATOES SERVES 4 1.2kg boned and rolled leg of lamb 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped handful of rosemary sprigs, leaves only, roughly chopped 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon fennel seeds sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 250ml lamb stock or chicken stock 50g butter STUFFED TOMATOES 4 large tomatoes on the vine olive oil for cooking 1 onion, peeled and diced 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 1 tablespoon dried herbs de Provence 1 courgette, diced 1 aubergine, diced 1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced

Place the lamb on a board. In a bowl, mix together the garlic, rosemary, cumin and fennel seeds. Using a sharp knife, pierce little slits all over the surface of the lamb. Using your fingers, push the rosemary and spice mixture into the cuts. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Put to one side. To prepare the tomatoes, snip them off the vine, but leave the stalks intact. Cut a slice off the top off the tomatoes, removing about a quarter, and reserve these lids. Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out the juice and seeds from inside, leaving the shells intact; set aside, along with the tops. For the ratatouille stuffing, heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add a little olive oil. Add the onion and cook slowly for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and dried herbs. Now turn up the heat and add the courgette, aubergine and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for a further 3–4 minutes; you may need to add more olive oil as the aubergine


will absorb quite a lot. Add the red pepper and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the seasoning and take off the heat. To cook the lamb, heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Heat a heavy-based ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the lamb joint and colour on all sides, allowing 3–4 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fill the tomatoes with the ratatouille and put the lids back on. Stand the stuffed tomatoes in a small roasting tray. Add the stock, butter and a drizzle of olive oil to the tray. When the meat has been roasting for 15 minutes, turn the setting down to 160°C/Gas 3 and put the stuffed tomatoes into the oven. Roast the meat for a further 20 minutes, along with the tomatoes, basting these with the pan juices from time to time. Rest the lamb in a warm place for 10 minutes. Slice the meat and serve with the stuffed tomatoes, spooning over all the pan juices.

SMOKED SALMON & SPINACH LASAGNE This comforting pasta bake is easy to prepare and always popular. The recipe is based on a Scandinavian dish that my wife Michaela has been making for years. It’s absolutely delicious and has the added advantage that it can be prepared in advance, ready to bake and serve when required.

Serves 4–6 Béchamel sauce 75g butter 75g plain flour 850ml milk sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Lasagne 25g butter 1 leek, trimmed, washed and cut into strips 400g baby spinach 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 400g smoked salmon 300g Cheddar, grated 8–10 lasagne sheets 4 dill sprigs, roughly chopped, to garnish

Use the rest of the butter to grease a large square or rectangular ovenproof dish. Cut the smoked salmon into small pieces, roughly 2cm square.

Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 1–2 minutes. Slowly stir in the milk and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. For the lasagne, melt half the butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat. Add the leek strips, season with salt and pepper and sweat gently for 2–3 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, a handful at a time, along with the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Drain off the excess liquid.

Spoon a layer of the béchamel sauce over the bottom of the dish and layer a third of the lasagne sheets on top. Spoon half of the leek and spinach mixture over the lasagne, followed by a good third of the smoked salmon, then cover with a third of the remaining béchamel and sprinkle some cheese over the surface. Repeat the layers of lasagne, leek and spinach, smoked salmon, béchamel and cheese, then cover with a top layer of lasagne. Spoon the rest of the béchamel sauce on top and scatter over the remaining smoked salmon and grated cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is a deep golden colour. To check that the lasagne is cooked, insert a knife in the middle; it should meet with minimal resistance. Scatter the chopped dill on top of the lasagne and serve, with a crisp green salad on the side.

Kitchin Suppers by Tom Kitchin (Quadrille £12.99) Photography: Laura Edwards


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Prinknash Bird & Deer Park was established in 1973 by Philip Meigh and was taken over by his daughter in 2008. The Bird Park, which is ideal if you do not have the time free for a full visit or if you are looking for a special gift.

The Bird Park has retained all of its charm and artistry but has come into line with modern day needs and now boasts a beautiful Prime Oak Visitor Centre. The new Centre now serves light refreshments which can be enjoyed from inside or outside on the South facing balconies overlooking the park. The shop has a wide range of gifts and can be visited without going into

As a tourist attraction the park has become very much the jewell in the crown of the Cotswolds with the unusual mix of hand tame waterfowl, follies, that both adults and children may enjoy along tame Fallow deer, Reindeer, rare breed donkeys not forgetting the delightful Pygmy Goats which can be fed from your hand.

a quiet cup of coffee in a really different location to chat and meet friends or a walk in the country with Grandchildren or friends then look no further. So don’t miss out on the “Granny Gets in Free” offer attached, which is a FREE ticket worth £8.00 and all you have to do is find 2 grandchildren and present the voucher. There are no strings attached and is normally only available as a pre booked on line purchase and is perfect for the school holidays. For more information do call us on 01452812727 or visit www.thebirdpark.com

The park is open daily all year and there are always things going on from artists exhibitions through to the RSPB talks, children’s parties and of course the general seasonal excitement from baby deer through to happy hatchings at Easter. So even if all your looking for is

Come and see, feed and stroke our beautiful fallow deer, our wonderful collections of peacocks, waterfowl, pheasants and the amusing pygmy goats ... all very tame and will feed from your hand!

Come and see, feed and stroke our beautiful fallow deer, our wonderful collections of peacocks, waterfowl, pheasants and the amusing pygmy goats ... all very tame and will feed from your hand!


Come and see, feed and stroke our beautiful fallow deer, our wonderful collections of peacocks, waterfowl, pheasants and the amusing pygmy goats ... all very tame and will feed from your hand!


Give your child a magical birthday party in our beautiful gypsy caravan!


with 2 paying grandchildren Give your child a magical birthday party in our beautiful gypsy caravan!

Photocopies will not be accepted, valid for normal park entry and may not be used in Open 7 days a week 10am-5pm • 01452 812727or • www.thebirdpark.com conjunction with event days for party The Bird and Deer Park, Prinknash, Cranham, Gloucester GL4 8EX bookings. Offer valid until the end of May 2017.

Open 7 days a week 10am-5pm • 01452 812727 • www.thebirdpark.com The Bird and Deer Park, Prinknash, Cranham, Gloucester GL4 8EX

Open 7 days a week 10am - 5pm


01452 812727



The Bird and Deer Park, Prinknash, Cranham, Gloucester GL4 8EX


Visiting the Cotswolds: Painswick Village

around, it is set in the quiet hills of Gloucestershire and has some of the best countryside of the region right on its doorstep. The village was built from mellow Cotswold stone from the local quarry on Painswick Beacon, as you wander around and explore everything that the village has to offer you will see some beautiful architecture all around in the narrow and peaceful streets. The village has many B and B's and guest houses and is great for a day trip or a break away from the stresses of life to experience traditional Cotswold village life. Painswick is the perfect base for exploring the undiscovered south Cotswold’s.

During your visit to the Cotswolds there is a lot to do in the local area, the historic wool town of Painswick provides you with some great places to explore to work up an appetite. Remember, The Edgemoor Inn serve food throughout the day as well so no matter what time


of the day you come to explore there is always a great home cooked meal waiting for you. Painswick is known as the Queen of the Cotswold, it is one of the finest and well-preserved Cotswold settlements

Much of Painswick is very old, New Street for example was constructed in 1428 and contains the oldest building in England to house a post office. It also has the country's oldest bowling green and some wonderful Georgian frontages.

Approximately half way between Stroud and Gloucester, The Edgemoor Inn overlooks the beautiful, picturesque Painswick Valley and the village of Painswick, a quintessential English village known as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’. There are over 100 listed buildings in the village, which is a total conservation area. It has a rich history with a particularly colourful period during the Civil War when the Roundheads took refuge in the parish church of St.Mary, which dates from the eleventh century. The late 19th century Inn, constructed from Cotswold stone, has picture style windows and is well known for its pretty panoramic views. Our property boasts an extensive terraced patio overlooking Painswick & surrounding countryside. Edgemoor Inn sources as much fresh meat, fish & vegetables from local suppliers. An extensive range of home cooked meals and daily specials are served each day lunchtime and evening. Vegetarian menus are always available. We serve the finest selection of local real ales from Uley, Wickwar and Stroud. The Edgemoor Inn offers the very best in traditional Cotswold pub and restaurant dining - a warm welcome in delightful surroundings with wellpresented home-cooked food. This is a combination that’s hard to beat. Gloucester Road, Edge, Gloucestershire GL6 6ND Tel: 01452 813576 Web: www.edgemoorinn.com


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OUT AND ABOUT and Three Men in a Boat over the August Bank Holiday. Friday 21st July, 6.30pm

A Midsummer Night's Dream - The Handlebards Gents Yes - they do tour the country by bike and perform Shakespeare outdoors. Set on the Bowling Green in the heart of the Garden, this is likely to be one of our best sellers.

Painswick Rococo Garden A visit to Painswick Rococo Garden will take you back to the elegance and sophistication of the early 1700s. This was a time when gardens were fashionable theatrical sets, providing a stunning backdrop to decadent garden parties. Instead of a flower garden, you will happen across a stunning vegetable garden, beautifully-framed views of the surrounding countryside and fanciful garden buildings.  You can lose yourself amongst the lofty trees of our leafy woodland walk and watch friends and family battle to find the centre of our unusual maze. And afterwards, enjoy delicious homemade cakes or a light lunch in our cosy cafe. If you've not yet experienced a summer's evening theatre performance on the Bowling Green in the heart of our gorgeous Garden... then you've missed out!  Tickets are now on sale for As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream by the charismatic Handlebards in June/July.  We then present Alice in Wonderland

Tickets on sale from www.handlebards.com Saturday 5th August, 6.30pm

Picnic in The Park - Friends of Painswick Rococo Garden Bring a picnic and enjoy an evening of local talent - and at the same time help raise much-needed funds to help us restore the Garden. Tickets available in advance from the Welcome Desk or on the door Sunday 27th & Monday 28th August, 2.30pm

Alice In Wonderland - IK Productions An imaginative and expert retelling of the classic tale set in the heart of the Garden. Tickets on sale from www. everymantheatre.org.uk Sunday 27th August, 6.30pm

Three Men in a Boat - IK Productions

Jerome K Jerome's evergreen tale of three men and a dog, and their exploits on the Thames. Tickets on sale from www. everymantheatre.org.uk Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October, 10.30am - 5pm

Autumn Festival Our annual celebration of everything harvest, including apple juicing, heritage produce displays and tastings. There's a children's Apple Activity Day on the Friday. Normal admission applies. PAINSWICK ROCOCO GARDEN Painswick Rococo Garden Painswick, Gloucestershire GL6 6TH T: 01452 813204 E: info@rococogarden.org.uk


Sunday 25th September

The Painswick Feast The Painswick Feast 2016 is scheduled for Sunday 25th September – a day of apple pressing, the Clypping Celebration, live music, feasting and general jollity! Building on the success of previous years, we want the 2016 Feast to reflect the whole Painswick community. The Painswick Feast, in St Mary’s Churchyard, will include stalls for local food producers, craft and art creators, businesses, clubs, charities and societies to publicise their activities or sell their produce. We would be delighted if you took a stall. For more information please visit our website http://www. painswickfeast.org/ or contact: The Painswick Feast 07798 645666 Ashton House Gloucester Street Painswick GL6 6QN

‘Stream of Conciousness’

encompasses one of my favourite walks along a hidden pathway toward the stream and waterfall at Kingsmill, starting from the Patchwork Mouse cafe at 10am and concluding at around 12pm. As a Cotswold Natural Mindfulness guide, I’ll be helping the walkers attending to reconnect with nature, perspective and themselves. £10pp or FREE if it will be your first Cotswold Mindfulness walk. To sign up for all the available walks it’s £20 per month. If you’re interested in this walk or to register, contact me on: nick cotswoldnaturalmindfulness. uk Tuesday May 9th, 7.30pm

An evening with Phil Beer Songs and tunes from one of the acoustic music world’s finest multiinstrumentalists Painswick Centre Bisley Street, Painswick, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 6QQ Tickets email: cantonacrepromotions@gmail. com Tel: 07596 823 881


Cirencester Antiques & Collectables Market


Moreton in Marsh Outdoor Market The largest street market in the Cotswolds with many stalls selling virtually anything, leather goods, purses, books, fish, produce, pet products, clothing, cookware, etc. Market day is every Tuesday on the High Street. Visit this lovely Cotswold town and pick up a bargain! High Street, Moreton in Marsh, cotswolds.com/whats-on/ moreton-in-marsh-outdoormarket-p1612523

There has been a weekly Antiques & Collectors’ Market in Cirencester’s Corn Hall every Friday for more than 40 years. Around 50 dealers each week offer quality antiques and collectables, including silver, glass, ceramics, metalwares, postcards, ephemera, jewellery, furniture, paintings and prints.Parking is easy, and there are cafés and restaurants nearby, as well as a number of other antiques shops and centres. Open: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, every Friday Market Place, Cirencester, cotswolds.com/whats-on/ cirencester-antiques-andcollectables-market-p1840323 Saturdays

Cheltenham Foodie Tours Love Food? Visiting Cheltenham? Discover the wonderful flavours and local food delights of this Cotswold spa town. Enjoy 6 authentic taste sensations.

Explore the delectable eateries and dining quarters while learning about how Cheltenham became a Regency centre for luxury, decadence and glamour. Tour includes a visit to an award winning Cotswold bakery, specialty cheese shop, a visit to a 1920’s cocktail lounge and a taster of artisan chocolate and delicious artisan ice cream. Discover Cheltenham with flavour something you simply won’t find in the guide books! Clarence Street, Cheltenham, cotswolds.com/whatson/cheltenham-foodietours-p2128523 Saturdays

Stroud Farmers Market Held every Saturday this awardwinning farmers’ market, as featured in the Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The Independent, The Guardian Weekend, Rick Stein’s Food Heroes and the Country Living Guide to Farmers’ Markets, is held in the purpose-built Cornhill market


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OUT AND ABOUT place in Stroud town centre. Cornhill Market, Union Street, Stroud, cotswolds.com/whats-on/stroudfarmers-market-p807253 25th March - 10th Sept

and twice as powerful. In 2017 they will release their new album Knows Time, Knows Change. Mac, Birmingham macbirmingham.co.uk/event/ daphnes-flight

Cotswold Hare Trail

15th June - 18th June

The Cotswold Hare Trail will feature a trail of five foot hare sculptures placed around the towns and villages of the Cotswolds as a free visitor attraction from March 25th to September 10th 2017.

Our concerts began in 2001 at four Forestry Commission venues. Now looking forward to its sixteenth season, Forest Live gigs take place at seven fantastic forest locations.

Cirencester, Gloucestershire, http://www.cotswolds.com/whatson/cotswold-hare-trail-p2160163 23rd May

Daphne’s Flight 1995 and five friends found themselves at Cambridge Festival. They decided to sing some songs together ... magic happened and Daphne’s Flight took off. Now, two decades later, five of the best female singers of their generation are gathering again – older, wiser


Forest Live 2017

The gigs are well known for their eclectic range of international artists, amazing atmosphere and their stunning locations. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucester forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD7NPM2F 23rd June - 25th June

Foodies Festival Feast in the Street Food Avenue; learn to bake in the Cake and Bake Theatre; enjoy afternoon tea in the Vintage Tea Tent; taste

wine, champagne and craft beer in the Drinks Theatre; buy from local producers in the Artisan Market; kids enjoy the Childrens Cookery Theatre; live music on the Unsigned Music Awards Stage; enter the Chilli Eating Competition; refreshing cocktails from the Bar Bus and Pimms Teapot, and have a fun day out in the Deco Noir VIP experience. Cannon Hills Park, Birmingham foodiesfestival.com/birmingham/ 4th July

The Ebrington Arms monthly Folk Music Night Best folk music night in the Cotswolds. Musicians come from all over to play on the first Monday

of the month. All welcome. Food served as normal from 6-9pm. Ebrington, Chipping Campden, cotswolds.com/whats-on/theebrington-arms-monthly-folkmusic-night-p2103323 8th July

The Third Policeman In summer 2017, Cornwall’s Miracle Theatre will venture into a world somewhere between Alice in Wonderland and the Marx Brothers, where the earth is not round but sausage-shaped and night is actually an accumulation of black air; where eccentric policemen fall in love with bicycles and you can visit eternity via a rickety lift, hidden beside a lane in the heart of rural Ireland. The Third Policeman is one of the comic masterpieces of European literature and, since its publication in 1967, has collected legions of fans and earned its author, Flann O’Brien, a world-wide reputation as one of Ireland’s greatest comic geniuses.

8th July - 9th July

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

This July, thousands of reenactors, entertainers and traders from all over Europe will gather in Tewkesbury for Europes largest annual Medieval reenactment. A fantastic and unique day out for all the family, with free admission. Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucester tewkesburymedievalfestival.org

Orfeo ed Euridice

14th July - 15th July

Stand Up Comedy Showcase Participants learn the craft of stand up comedy and performance skills in this popular course run by comedian James Cook. The evening of merriment enables the students to showcase their new material with encouragement from families and friends. Mac, Birmingham macbirmingham.co.uk/event/ stand-up-comedy-showcase

Mac, Birmingham macbirmingham.co.uk/event/thirdpoliceman

WED 17 MAY 7.30




01527 65203

THUR 18 MAY 7.30

THE SIMON & GARFUNKEL STORY £19.00* & £18.00* (disc) FRI 26 MAY 7.30


FRI 2 JUNE 7.30


Marking the composer’s attempt to reform the complex plots and music of baroque opera, Orfeo ed Euridice reconnected the music with the drama. Its underground rescuemission plot influenced many works Longborough, Moreton-in-Marsh, cotswolds.com/whats-on/orfeo-edeuridice-p2159993


SAT 17 JUNE 7.30


£20.00* & £19.00*(disc) THUR 6 JULY 7.30


£17.50*& £15* (disc)

TUE 30 MAY 12.00 & 4.00

FRI 7 JULY 8.00

£15.50* & £13.50*(disc)

Orfeo ed Euridice is based on the tale of Orpheus, one of the most famous and beloved Greek myths, and features some of Gluck’s best known pieces of music including the ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ and ‘Che farò senza Euridice’.




29th July - 1st Aug


£26* £23* (REAR CIRCLE)

For performance schedule and ticket prices please check the theatre’s website

Online booking www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk *inclusive of booking fee £1 per ticket up to a max of £4


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NO STAMP DUTY TO PAY Beautiful bungalow homes exclusively for the over 50s


call us 01452 730605 SELECT A PLOT FOR A PARK www.parkhomelife.com


King’s Acre at Orchard Park Twigworth, Gloucestershire GL2 9QP

HOME someone who has had work done by him. If you don’t know anyone, consult the Federation of Master Builders at http://www.fmb.org.uk or the National Federation of Builders at http://www. builders.org.uk CONSERVATORIES and ORANGERIES are very popular these days as they give extra rooms to any property, allowing in plenty of light and, very often, bringing you closer to the garden. BI-FOLD DOORS or SLIDING DOORS are another excellent way of bringing in light and air into a room and really work well in the Spring and Summer in particular, allowing a free flow into your garden especially for entertaining.

HOME ALTERATIONS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER IF an Englishman’s home is his castle then it’s up to each of us to keep that “safe place” as comfortable and easy to live in as possible as time goes by. Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to improve homes with easy living in mind. Innovations are emerging constantly - from something as simple as a heated butter knife that slices through cold spreads to smart plugs that switch electronics on and off remotely.

You can often adapt a room yourself, turning a small bedroom into an office or sewing room, or creating an extra small lounge to give you both somewhere to sit separately where you are in charge of the TV remote control! If you like the property you’ve got but want to extend it, talk to a local builder preferably one referred to you by

Is your living room THREE PIECE SUITE or SOFA a lot less comfortable these days than it once was? Perhaps it’s time to treat yourself to a new suite or even a large corner sofa that makes the most of your room, allowing plenty of seating options and looking thoroughly modern. Many have integrated recliners to allow you to really stretch out and relax. Pop down to your local furniture store or browse online to see what suits your rooms best and what fits both your lifestyle and budget. Now that many of us love our home entertainment and prefer to see

A sensible starting point is to look at whether your PROPERTY is too big or too small for you. When family have grown up and moved away, it’s often a good time to look around you and honestly assess whether you either need the space you’ve got or if you need more. The former could prompt a move to something smaller, more economical but which involves a more comfortable lifestyle. If the latter applies, then it might be time to consider either adapting the space you have more effectively or extending it to meet your needs.

A large corner sofa canmake the most of your room, allowing plenty of seating options and looking thoroughly modern.


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HOME our favourite films on TV alongside our favourite programmes, perhaps it’s also time to invest in one of the latest smart TVs. Stream films on Netflix or surf websites on the big screen if you prefer. You’ll be surprised at how TV technology has changed in the last few years so take a look at what will work best in your living room or bedroom Another area that is now very hi-tech is HOME SECURITY. There are smart locks providing something extra in protection and a wireless world in which smart locks, CCTV cameras, smart doorbells, smoke detectors and even your lights can all communicate with one another. A safe night’s sleep and peace of mind is all there on offer. Logically, we spend a large part of our lives in our If you’ve had your mattress for several years, it’s time BEDROOMS so it’s definitely worthwhile spending to invest in one of the latest Memory Foam mattresses money here and especially on your bed. If you’ve had your mattress for several years, it’s time to invest in one of the latest Memory Foam mattresses that react to your If you have limited use of hands or fingers, there’s a world of body shape and ensure you a good, supported night’s sleep. amazing gizmos out there – from ringpull openers and twoDimmer switches, calming décor and soft lights can all add to handled cups to tap-turners and kettle-tippers, all designed the relaxation here. to make your life simpler and easier. When it comes to clever gadgets, the latest KITCHEN ideas are set to make life so easy. From the newest blenders and spiralisers to boiling water taps and intelligent pans that work with a an iphone app to tell you when your salmon is cooked.

Find out more at the websites of Carers UK at http://www. carersuk.org and Age UK at http://www.ageuk.org.uk

FIND YOUR PERFECT RETIREMENT HOME WITH QUICK MOVE PROPERTIES • Do you dream of owning a low maintenance property? • Are you looking to downsize upon retirement? • Can’t find the perfect property? We know that finding your dream home isn’t easy and the whole process of buying and selling a home can be stressful and time consuming. With over 18 years experience, Quick Move Properties have access to a wide range of retirement properties around the UK. We can help you find your perfect next home and you can even use the capital from your existing home to secure your move! Just tell us your requirements and leave the hard work to us, it really is that simple! Call:

01793 840917 or visit: www.quickmoveproperties.co.uk


Are your rooms looking a little shabby? Investing in new DECORATING lifts the spirits and lighten rooms. The latest bright shades banish dark corners and open up dingy areas and if you combine these with new LIGHTING and more MIRRORS you’ll be astonished at the amount of useful light suddenly available in your home. It even feels more airy! Incidentally, if you’re looking at light, it’s definitely worth installing good lighting outside to give both you and your visitors better visibility there.

BATHROOMS have now become THE place to spend time relaxing.

It may also be time to invest in new kitchen units or install a useful island unit that allows you to work easily when you’re baking or making a meal. Today’s kitchens are designed to make your lifestyle as easy as possible so it’s definitely worth consulting an experienced kitchen company about this. Ensure you’ve got comfortable chairs or stools available and a system of storage and work spaces that allows time spent there to be really enjoyable.

BATHROOMS have now become THE place to spend time relaxing. Try a large tub instead of your old bath, a walk-in shower instead of your current model and twin sinks and vanity units that allow you both to get ready at once. And if you’ve always meant to improve your GARDEN but never got around to it, don’t forget that having a pleasant garden in which to relax and spend time happily is really good for your mental and physical wellbeing. So the time may be right for new decking, some easygoing garden furniture and planned areas of greenery, shrubbery and blooms to delight you and make you feel well all the year round.

10 YEA



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Transform your conservatory from a unusable space to a beautiful room in just one day.... Conservatories are usually constructed to add extra living space to a home, often in the hope that they will become an extra lounge, a dining room or area to relax. It’s a common complaint through from conservatory owners that their room is often unbearably cold in the winter and stiflingly hot in the summer.

So what’s the answer? In 2010 the planning laws were relaxed and in the majority of cases, you can now fit a solid roof to your conservatory without planning permission. This means better insulation, keeping the room warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and a room that you can use all year round. There are a few different options to fitting a solid roof on your conservatory, most of which require major upheaval and disruption however a Thermotec roof will transform your conservatory to a beautiful room in less than one day! Supplied by Green Space, Thermotec panels are lightweight and offer eight times better insulation than a polycarbonate roof. With U-values of 0.29, they will keep your conservatory at a comfortable temperature all year round. What’s more, the panels are manufactured to measure off site, so installation generally takes less than a day, so your roof conversion is as non-disruptive as possible. Green Space Ltd are the sole supplier of this system in the South, Southeast and Midlands. The system is compatible with most conservatories, old and new - plus it comes with a ten year guarantee. For more information visit Green Space Ltd online at www.greenspacesconservatories.co.uk or contact them today on 01793 208 002 and see for yourself, what a difference a day makes.


What a difference a day makes Transform your conservatory in less than a day with our insulated roof panels Before



“I’ve already turned the underfloor heating down. Lovely job guys, thank you!” Anne Bird, Bristol.

Warmer in winter. Cooler in summer. Quieter in bad weather. Usable all year. 10 year Guarantee.

Top 10 reasons why people install our roofs Cooler in Summer - Wave goodbye to your sauna and watch your plants thrive! Warmer in Winter - Allowing you to get much more use during the winter months without wearing the Christmas jumper. Eliminates glare - Protect against faded furniture whilst keeping your conservatory light & airy. Only excess light is eliminated with the solid conservatory roof panels. Quieter in bad weather – Excellent insulation properties also gives superb sound proofing against the elements. Usable all year round - Come rain or shine you can enjoy sitting in your conservatory Mould & condensation - Cleaner, nicer and better for your health. Reduces energy bills - The solid conservatory roof panels include 75mm rigid foam insulation which will save you money on both heating and cooling. Installed in 1 day – Less disruption, less mess, less inconvenience. As seen at Grand Designs – Listed on the Grand Designs suppliers directory. 10 year warranty - Includes additional insurance backed guarantee giving you complete peace of mind.

For more information call:

01793 208002

www.greenspaceconservatories.co.uk *Orders placed by end of June 17. Applies to orders over 8 panels. Smaller orders receive calculated discount. Not valid for use with any other offer.


Building a raised bed or veggie patch • rake • tape measure • pencil • 8 x cypress pine lengths: 3.6 m x 200 mm/38 mm (11 ft 9. in x 8 in/1. in) • circular saw • 100 x 70 mm (2. in) bulge head screws • drill set • spirit level

The Good ol’ days There was once a time when the world of the Little Veggie Patch Co (LVPC) only featured the raised garden bed – and cups of tea in between. A typical day would entail a trip to the timber yard for some 38 mm (1. in) cypress pine beauties, a trip to Bunnings for some 75 mm (3 in) baton screws, and a return trip home because we had forgotten the drill. It was a world that in itself was quite worldly, because the early days of LVPC was a melting pot of cultures that came together and built raised garden beds. The first person to get involved was a passionate travelling Frenchman by the name of Sylvain.


He was my first veggie patch soulmate, and co-creator of the business, and I look back on those early, organic days with great fondness. We built a garden bed, had a cup of tea, and then we moved on to the next. With the raised garden bed front and centre, life was so uncomplicated. Our style of edible gardening was more broadly based on the themes of permaculture back then.

Larger spaces, more interaction between the elements, a more complete cyclical system. Along with a garden bed, there may be some fruit trees, a composting system, and the notion that perhaps one day the owners would get off the grid. Since then we have pulled away from traditional permaculture because one of its basic ideas is to take what you have got, and then improve it. But how can you take a slab of concrete on the 35th floor and use it to grow plants? A business evolution has led us to smaller and even smaller space gardening, and that’s the place we find ourselves now. Of course, if you have room for a raised garden bed, it’s still the perfect infrastructure for growing food. For us, it also gives us the chance to reminisce about the good ol’ days. Before starting the construction, it is important to make the site for your garden bed completely LEVEL. Use a

rake to make a flat pad. This will make the entire process sooooo much easier. Make sure you spend a bit of time getting this part right, removing any weeds and grasses in the process. Start measuring and marking up the timbers. We like to organise an OLD-FASHIONED production line set-up – economies of scale and scope we say! – and measure and make the timbers first. Measure the lengths twice and cut once. Cut your timbers. For the bed we want to build, we need six 2.4 m (7 ft 101/2 in) lengths, six 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) widths and ten 600 mm (1 ft 111/2 in) uprights/ braces. When cutting, it helps not to force the circular saw through too quickly. Give it time to cut and let it go at its own speed. You will get STRAIGHTER CUTS and everything will slot together more nicely. That will give us more reasons to celebrate with CUPS OF TEA. Start by affixing the two lengths of the garden bed in slabs of three 2.4 m (7 ft 101/2 in) lengths, braced together by three 600 mm (1 ft 111/2 in) uprights. Lie lengths down with an end brace underneath. The end brace should extend beyond the lengths by the exact thickness of the timber (38 mm/11/2 in). Size up using another timber length. It will make sense later. As well as the two end uprights that are overhanging the thickness of the timber, attach a centre upright for extra rigidity. Now it’s time to begin construction. Start by taking an entire length slab and nestle it into position. Use the spirit level to

make sure it is completely level horizontally and vertically, and affix one 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) width piece at ground level to hold it in place. Build it up with two more pieces and you have half the unit complete. If we were cutting with robot precision and using timber of the exact same grade and thickness, adding the remaining pieces would result in a perfect fit first time, but this is WOODWORK, and we consider ourselves IMPERFECT. Because it’s very difficult to achieve perfection first time round, you may need to TEST-BUILD before screwing in. You can then chock the bottom one up or slightly dig it in to make it fit. Once happy, screw together using two 70 mm (23/4 in) bulge head screws for each piece of timber. Next comes the opposing side. Muscle it into position and attach it, ensuring it is level all over. TEA TIME perhaps? Nope, attach the remaining widths first and then put on a brew. The remaining uprights help to cover any blemishes or fixes that you’ve made along the way. Attach them at the four corners of the bed. To hold these uprights in place, use a couple of 70 mm (23/4in) bulge head screws from the inside of the bed. That way your bed exterior will be screw-free, and you’ll have a PERFECTLY CRAFTED raised garden bed (with all blemishes classily hidden).

Now your bed is ready to be filled up and planted out. Ahh, the MEMORIES …

Credits are: The Little Veggie Patch Co. DIY Garden Projects: Easy Activities for Edible Gardening and Backyard Fun by Matt Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon (Hardie Grant £20) Photography: John Laurie


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HEALTH Many people still hold the view that video games are bad for us; that they turn kids into mindless zombies (despite studies proving the exact opposite). Sure, it's not healthy to spend all day, every day watering your virtual crops or conquering virtual worlds (like in the episode of Big Bang Theory when Penny gets addicted to online gaming), but it is actually good for you to spend a bit of time gaming. 

Three Types of Game That Train Your Brain Bingo! by Joshua Rothhass

Believe it or not, gaming can actually be pretty good for your brain. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that adults who frequently engage in mentally stimulating activities are 63% less likely to develop dementia. And yes, games are counted in the mentally stimulating activity category (thanks, science). Games promote mindfulness, they sharpen our attention, and they exercise our brains.

Get Your Bingo On Studies have shown that online bingo has an extremely positive effect on the brain. Research conducted by the University of Southampton found that playing bingo requires rapid hand-eye co-ordination, resulting in regular bingo players' minds being faster and more accurate than those who don't play regularly. This study was conducted way back in 2002 when there were only an estimated 3 million bingo players in the UK. Through the increasing popularity of mobile bingo and online gaming (it's more popular than ever) you now don't have to trek down to your nearest bingo hall to have a go. There's an App for That

Be part of the


The app store is brimming with all sorts of brain training games that will remind you of the good old Nintendo DS game Brain Training. A lot of these games have been designed by neuroscientists and enhance cognitive skills such as memory, attention span, problem-solving, and recognition of patterns. Although these apps have been designed specifically to train your brain, they're no less fun than other games. You can track your progress and compete against your friends; simple gamification at its best. Be Mindful

Whatever you enjoy doing, however much time you have, there’s a fundraising volunteering role for you! To find out more about the opportunities in your area, visit actiononhearingloss.org.uk/fundraisingvolunteer


Games that promote mindfulness are also incredibly good for training your brain and enhancing mental health through activities designed to improve psychological functioning, says Nadine Kaslow Ph.D. (Professor and Vice-Chair of Emory University's Department of Psychiatry). Mindfulness games are designed to develop awareness, calm, and compassion. They take game mechanics that we're already familiar with, card games for example, and present them in a new, slightly different way. One that challenges the way we think about the work and trains our brain to exercise mindfulness.

Don't get me wrong, you can't use these studies as an excuse to spend all day glued to a screen. You can (and should), however, allow yourself to spend a little bit of time on a regular basis playing games and know that it's actually doing some good. The regular basis part is key, training isn't something that will happen overnight. Little but often is the way to go. So stop thinking of bingo as just a hobby, stop thinking of that game on your phone that you play when you're waiting for the bus as a distraction. Think of them as a fun, relaxing way to keep your mind healthy.

New drug for Alzheimer’s progressing to stage 3 trials. Early testing of a new drug showed promise in reducing declines in memory and thinking skills in people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug, called aducanumab, also reduced levels in the brain of beta-amyloid, the toxic protein that builds up and forms telltale plaques in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Many experts believe that beta-amyloid plaque plays a critical role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. But

so far, drugs to combat Alzheimer’s progression have shown only very limited benefit at best. The researchers found that the higher the dose of drug, the less people with Alzheimer’s declined on tests of memory and thinking skills. Researchers also performed brain scans using PET imaging and radioactive tracers that bind to beta-amyloid plaque on the study participants. They found that treatment with aducanumab resulted in a significant reduction in plaque buildup; the higher the dose and the longer the drug was given, the greater the reduction in plaque. The brains of those getting the placebo were virtually unchanged. Very simply Alzheimer’s is caused when clumps of amyloid proteins clog up the brain cells and prevent them working properly. When aducanumab is administered, it seeks out and latches onto these clumps. This enables the brain to “see” the clumps and to alert the immune system which then sends cells to break up the toxic amyloids and flush them out of the brain. Phase 3 trials are conducted in large numbers of people and are a critical step in making a drug commercially available. We await the results and hope this may be a significant step in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Information Site. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University.


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Mr and Mrs Smith

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Profile for 50 Plus Magazine

Birmingham & solihull issue 41  

Local magazine for the over 50s, includes holidays, leisure, finance, recipes

Birmingham & solihull issue 41  

Local magazine for the over 50s, includes holidays, leisure, finance, recipes