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DURHAM & TEES VALLEY DECEMBER - FEBRUARY 2013 EDITION 16

The

Hairy Bikers HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND LOSE WEIGHT

Jean Christophe -

Novelli

THE NATION’S FAVOURITE FRENCH CHEF

Russell Grant THE COMEBACK KID

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12-13

10-11

inside... TRAVEL & LEISURE 10-11 Keeping Well in Winter Exercise, eat well and socialise! 12-13 Malta Travel to a touch of England in the Med.

6-7

26 Out & About Events and special services.

18-19

INTERVIEW 6-7 Russell Grant... The Comeback Kid.

FOOD & DRINK

20-21

18-19 The Hairy Bikers... How to love food & lose weight. 20-21 Jean-Christophe Novelli The nation’s favourite French chef.

HOME 24-25 Changing Rooms Tips and advice for your home.

24-25

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HAVING A TWITTER with Graham Smith Things ain’t what they used to be

You must be joking

The size of Waggon Wheels says a lot about the state of this country in my opinion. I was chatting, tweeting even, to a friend the other day and he set me thinking because he was dreadfully upset about his Penguin bar, almost in tears he was.

What passes for humour today often leaves me cold. Winner of the top joke at the Edinburgh Fringe was Stewart Francis with the offering, “Know who gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.”

They’re just not the same any more, and when I mentioned Waggon Wheels he almost had apoplexy. “They’re like tiddlywinks compared to when I was a lad,” he sobbed. I had to agree. I don’t have a sweet tooth often but I have noticed that since we joined the Common Market, or whatever we’re supposed to call it now, things have not been the same. Jelly babies have become positively embryonic, wine gums have become a third of the size they were when I was at school and when did you last see a whopping great tomato in a supermarket? You won’t, because the supermarkets now employ people to make sure all fruit and veg is of virtual uniformity and colour. The tomatoes have to stand to attention every morning while some sergeant major of an attendant inspects them and anything over a centimetre bigger than its neighbour is probably splatted with a swagger stick.

Oh come on you can do better than that! What happened to the golden age which produced real comics such as Morecambe and Wise, Les Dawson and Dave Allen? They could not only deliver the stuff with immaculate timing but write it as well. Their actions and expressions were funny and they didn’t have to resort to the vernacular vulgarity so often seen at televised fringe events where the laughter is canned and the comic probably should be. Stewart Francis by the way is Canadian, which, if you’ve had a drink or two, sounds like comedian.

If a banana curves at more than the prescribed EU definition it is fed to the local zoo, gooseberries have been ordered to the barbers if they are too hairy, the list is endless. I recall that Rileys toffee rolls were twice their size in my youth. We bought them in loose “quarters” then, that was sensible measurement, but now they’re shrunk wrapped in at least three layers of cellophane which is more designed to keep the flavour out than in. Mars bars are in serious danger of extinction if they get any smaller and gobstoppers simply can’t compete. So why are we a nation of increasingly obese people if everything is getting smaller? That’s easy. Every café now seems to be serving “mega all day breakfasts” with enormous helpings of greasy spoon material, pizzas are getting bigger and it seems to be the norm now to walk down the street eating large pastries, spitting crumbs everywhere and heeding no one because there is a piece of electrical equipment plugged into every bodily orifice. Give it five years and some of these kids won’t know what birdsong and traffic sound like.

There is one saving grace to it all though, if they are run over by a Waggon Wheel it won’t do much damage.

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The Swansea tribe I have a fondness for quirky people and had to smile at the Swansea man who lives as an Apache Indian and was almost prosecuted for wanting to turn badger paws and eagle wings into a headress. Mangas Colaradas, 60, was due to stand trial for keeping protected wild animal parts but the Crown Prosecution dropped the case. He brought the bits back from Spain, where he lived in a tepee, to his three-bed semi in Swansea. He refused to reveal his real name and appeared in court wearing a ceremonial headdress, tassled suede jacket, moccasins and a snake’s head necklace. He said, “I wear this all the time, I’m not just some weekend Indian. I don’t put it on to show off, I put it on because I want to wear it.”

Geronimo! You tell ‘em Mangas.

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RUSSELL GRANT: THE COMEBACK KID When Russell Grant first danced into the hearts of the viewing millions on “Strictly Come Dancing” last year his stars might well have predicted great success and a comeback of cosmic proportions. For arguably Britain’s favourite astrologer may not have won the series – well, let’s face it, his dancing was more entertainment than excellence – but the live audiences and those at home loved him. And for Russell this TV appearance provided a passport back to fame. Born in Middlesex, Russell was brought up in a council house by his set designer father Frank and secretary mother Joan who both worked at Pinewood Studios. His parents separated when he was 11 and he moved in with his maternal grandmother but, in spite of the upheaval, Russell has always said he had a happy childhood. He worked as a Butlins’ Redcoat and trained as an actor, appearing in a variety of shows. While working in Blackpool, Russell met his partner Doug Beaumont and the two have been together for almost 40 years. Although Russell first came to prominence in 1978 after he held an astrological reading for the Queen Mother which led to him being dubbed “Astrologer Royal”, his theatre, TV and film career was surprisingly comprehensive and successful. It spanned more than 30 musicals and comedies, including work as varied as touring with “The King and I” to TV’s “On 6

The Buses”, “Please Sir!” and “The Fenn Street Gang”. He’s been in “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” in the West End and was an effective panto dame in shows all over the country. However, TV beckoned and it was Russell’s fascination with astrology and his exuberant personality that brought him before the nation, first on Yorkshire TV and then on Granada TV where he was a regular onscreen explaining the daily horoscopes. From there he moved to breakfast TV with BBC’s “Breakfast Time” and later to TV-am as resident astrologer on “Good Morning.” A broadcasting natural and popular presenter, this role soon broadened to presenting other shows including celebrity quiz “Star Choice”. He later had his own six-episode series “Russell Grant’s All Star Show.” He worked for Channel 5 just after it was launched and directed and starred in “Russell Grant’s Postcards”, a collection of more than 100 five-minute travelogues produced by his own company Russell Grant World Productions. Russell worked solidly on a number of TV projects, with his astrology skills ever present, and he wrote a number of popular newspaper columns and horoscopes in regional newspapers throughout the country as well as in various magazines. Like many TV personalities, however, his star waned for a while. In 2006, he took part in the fourth series of “Celebrity Fit Club” and lost over three stone, but he later suffered from depression and his weight rocketed, this time to 26 stone. He became something of a recluse at the 30-acre Snowdonia estate that he shares with Doug but, being Russell Grant and

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INTERVIEW a trouper, determined that the show must go on, he began losing weight – around 10 stone in two and a half years by disco dancing each day for half an hour! In 2011, an online group called “Get Russell on Strictly” finally persuaded TV executives to have him as a contestant on the show. In September last year, he burst onto our screens with his lovely professional dancing partner Flavia Cacace. Surprisingly light on his feet and with genuine rhythm, Russell sported a number of colourful and outrageous costumes and certainly won the day with viewers.

highly successful run followed which enhanced and revived Russell’s theatrical reputation once more. The production also brought him under the dancing wing of choreographer and dance teacher Arlene Phillips – “She even had me dancing the Charleston”, said Russell. Following his memorable appearance in the hit musical, Russell has been brought in as a guest star for a new tour of the show “Grease”, taking the role of Teen Angel at various venues including Newcastle, Llandudno, Southseas, Wimbledon, Dartford and for a one-week run in Manchester in October.

In fact, they kept him in the knock-out programme until late November – in spite of much criticism from the judges, in particular the often acerbic Craig Revel Horwood. The abiding memory of Russell from the series, however, is of him being shot from a cannon as part of one particularly fun number!

He’s back working with Arlene Phillips, whom Russell insists is his “dance sister.” “Arlene brought out the very best in me working on ‘The Wizard of Oz’,” he stated. “So when she said I was right for Teen Angel and, if I took the part, she’d create the choreography, how could I resist!”

This great revival by the “comeback kid” caught the attention of the famous musical writer and producer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. He invited Russell to return to the West End stage – and the Palladium Theatre where he’d last performed 34 years before – and take part in a three-month stint replacing Michael Crawford as the “Wizard of Oz” in a new production.

The sparkly suit and no doubt mesmerising performances are bound to leave the audience hopelessly devoted to Mr Grant’s special charms again. And it’s one more dancing role which he now loves, as he explained: “Teen Angel has a Strictly twist and shimmy which captures the joy of dance I’ve been lucky enough to have discovered.”

“I was worried as I was due to have an operation on my knee,” commented Russell. “I’m 61 now. At this age you know your limitations. But you also sense your mortality. So there was a two-way thing going on. I was trying to talk myself out of it, thinking ‘Can’t I just go back to Wales?’”

As for the future, who knows? Russell hasn’t set himself any special showbiz boundaries and his fans are never surprised – just happy to see their favourite star once more ascending.

Fortunately, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Russell’s close friend Lulu convinced him the part was right for him, and a

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An online database crammed full of information and contacts.

out the information you need to help you stay independent! www.durham.gov.uk/dig or call into your local library. www.careimages.com

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KEEPING WELL

IN WINTER KEEPING well is more important than ever in Winter because it’s a time of nasty bugs that can lay you low and cold weather that can depress your immune system.

There are, though, plenty of easy things you can do to ensure that this Winter is a healthier and happier one for you. And, with the current recession and stretched household budgets in mind, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. First of all, do ensure that you keep well and flu-free. Injections that prevent flu are given free right across the country to people over a certain age or with particular pre-existing conditions. So it’s definitely worth checking with your GP about availability. Failing that, branches of Boots and supermarkets including Tesco provide a flu jabs’ service in their pharmacy departments for a very reasonable fee. Flu is a major seasonal killer in this country so it’s definitely worth taking this easy preventive step. Find out more about this year’s flu strains and other relevant details at NHS choices on www.nhs.uk Keeping in good health during chilly months also means ensuring, for example, your eyesight is good 10

so book an eye test if you’ve not had one for a while. Poor eyesight can lead to falls, especially outside the home, which can result in major injuries and mobility problems. Eat and drink well, whatever your household finances. It’s also vital to keep hydrated properly with six to eight glasses of liquid like water, juice, milk or fruit squash each day. Avoid fizzy drinks as they contain a lot of sugar and calories, but do have plenty of hot drinks. Ensure you maintain a balanced diet by eating from the five main food groups: fruit and vegetables; starchy foods; meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans lentils and nuts; milk and dairy foods and fat, sugar and salt. Fruit and vegetables are particularly important as they’re full of minerals, fibre and antioxidant vitamins to help bodies work efficiently and support our immune systems.They can be fresh or frozen, dried, canned or juiced and should make up around a third of our diet – aim for five portions a day.


Exercising in daylight also increases production of Vitamin D, you get a boost to your immune system the good news is that you also burn more calories by exercising in the cold, around 12 per cent. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather, dress in layers so you can take them off as you warm up, and wear a hat and gloves to reduce heat loss from extremities. Exercising in a gym can also be a sensible part of your regular routine. Many local councils run sessions in gyms so go on your local authority website to see about available sessions, and about free swimming sessions in your local pool. Private gyms often have advantageous rates for older people attending at off-peak times, and they usually run special sessions, too, often with the emphasis on overall health. Warmth is also vital in the Winter months so, as well as ensuring you’ve got good clothing and footwear when you go out, don’t stint on home heating in spite of concerns about energy bills. Always wear several thin layers rather than one thick layer as this traps warm air close to the body, and go for clothes made from wool, cotton or fleecy fabrics if possible.

Do have valuable protein in meat or fish. You don’t need to buy expensive cuts to eat well – invest in a slow cooker, or pop a dish in the oven early and cook it slowly to make the most of cheap cuts of meat. Add plenty of vegetables for an easy, cheap dish that makes a warming, nutritious meal. And if you don’t think your diet is giving you all the vitamins you need, start taking a supplement. Supermarkets have their own good-value ranges and taking one or two well-chosen supplements can make a real difference to your wellbeing. Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain our health and independence. Help prevent falls by keeping muscles strong and challenging our balance. Walking, gardening, Tai Chi and dancing are great examples of exercise for any age and state of health but check with your GP first. It is very important to get out and about in Winter, too. Being closer to nature gives us a psychological boost – with greenery, water and mountains especially giving the ability to cheer us up. When added to the natural mood enhancement we get from exercise, and the self-satisfaction from doing something that takes more self-motivation, then the Winter blues don’t stand a chance!

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Draw your curtains as soon as it gets dark to stop heat escaping and draughts coming in. Keep any windows and internal doors closed when it’s cold to keep heat inside and if you’re sitting for any length of time, pop on a shawl or blanket for extra warmth. Have a look around the stores currently and you’ll see that “onesies” or all-in-one fleecy garments are everywhere and offer real cosiness at home. Ensure your heating system has been serviced, that your water stopcock is working properly, and invest in a keyhole cover – it’s amazing how this can keep out draughts! Fit thermal linings to your curtains if you can, and check out all the benefits and grants available to help with insulation and energy efficiency like cavity wall insulation. Keep fuel bills down by turning off lights when you’re not in the room, and not leaving electrical items like TV or DVD player on standby – switch them off. Only boil as much water in the kettle as you need, and use a 30 deg C programme on your washing machine Turn off any electrical chargers once your appliance is at full power, and don’t block your radiators – this cuts the heat they give out.

For more information on energy saving ideas and general Winter health advice, go to www.ageuk.org.uk

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50 Plus Travel

sponsored by

MALTA Travel to a touch of England in the Med

By Peter Lynch Journalist, rail and wildlife specialist, contributor to Great Train Journeys of the World and Silver Travel Advisor

Malta is a fabulous Mediterranean destination especially if you dislike the hassle of foreign languages. Everyone speaks good to perfect English yet Malta retains all the charm of the Mediterranean.

bureaucrats have forced the withdrawal of the famous orange vintage Leyland and Bedford buses.

The universality of English is down to Malta being part of the British Empire from 1814 until 1964 but strangely it was not one of the Empires conquests. In the Napoleonic era Malta was between a rock and a hard place - at risk of being invaded by the French and the Russians. It opted for the protection of the British Empire and subsequently played a crucial role in defeating Rommel’s Afrika Korps in North Africa during WWII.

The Upper Barrakka Gardens provide a must-see harbour and city view and the Grand Master’s palace and armoury is a must. Don’t be put off by the plain exterior of St John cathedral; it belies a fabulous Baroque interior and a famous painting by Caravaggio.

It’s a tiny place, significantly smaller than the Isle of Wight, with a familiar yet foreign ambience. They have the highest density of catholic priests outside the Vatican City, produce and explode more fireworks per head than anywhere else on earth and eat an unbelievable number of rabbits. Of course, they drive on the left and something I love is how it’s kept some of the classic images from my childhood – old red telephone boxes, red post boxes and blue lights outside police stations. Sadly EU

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The World Heritage listed capital of Valletta is Europe’s first planned city, laid out in a grid system of streets and alleyways. The Knights of St John built it on a peninsula as a defence against the Turks during the sixteenth century.

Valletta’s real charm is its ambience, so it’s important to sit in an outdoor cafe and soak up the palpable sense of history rather than just rushing around the sites –the perfect excuse for loafing. But all this is just recent history; Malta’s prehistoric megalithic temples are older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids. It’s a dream destination for historians and reads like a textbook of western civilisation, probably with more human history packed into its122 sq miles than anywhere else on earth. There are 23 prehistoric sites dating back 6,000 years including the impressive megalithic temples of Taraxien and Hagar Qim but the subterranean

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Valletta’s real charm is its ambience, so it’s important to sit in an outdoor cafe and soak up the palpable sense of history... on Malta en-route to Rome and his indelible legacy of Christianity is still evident in the islands 360 churches. The marks of Norman and Arab conflicts are everywhere on the island, culminating with the spectacular city of Valletta built by the Knights of St John in 1566. Malta’s history rolls on involving the Spanish Empire; Napoleon predictably turned up and of course the British. But its not history that makes Malta one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations - it’s the glorious weather, the friendly people, the Mediterranean lifestyle and the convenience of English speakers. When Malta’s history, shopping and nightlife pall the 20-minute ferry across to Gozo is like moving to another country. It is Malta’s exclusive hideaway island with a pastoral ambience compared to Malta’s brasher tourist developments. Everything runs at a slower pace on Gozo.

hypogeum of Hal Saflieni is perhaps the most breathtaking. It is the only known underground prehistoric temple. Not much is known about these ancient temple builders or their mysterious parallel ‘cart tracts’ gouged into the limestone. They’ve been likened to a complex railway junction (Clapham Junction) because they criss-cross the landscape and some even disappear off the edge of the cliff - creating an endless source of myths and legends. Homer’s Odyssey tells of Ulysses being shipwrecked on the nearby island of Gozo where Calypso captivated him on his journey back from Troy to Ithaca in Greece. Then there are the Phoenicians from the Biblical cities of Tyre and Sidon who traded and settled Malta until ousted by the Roman’s. St Paul was also shipwrecked

The islands capital of Rabat was renamed Victoria in 1897 to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond jubilee but its still the beautiful quant town of alleyways, cafes and little shops it always was. The imposing walled citadel sheltered people from the marauding corsairs who plagued island communities throughout the Mediterranean. Gozo has its share of prehistoric monuments such as the Ggantija temple - supposedly built by giantesses and more mysterious ‘cart ruts’. The impressive Romanesque Basilica of Ta Pinu dominates the Gozitan skyline and has become a local shrine with a Lourdes-like status for miracle cures. Inside the walls are adorned with artificial limbs and other relics left by grateful pilgrims.

So don’t bother with a history book in Malta, just stroll around and let it all seep in, and between momentous historical events you’ll be able to find a perfect pasta and a decent pint of beer.

Silver Travel Advisor is a travel review, information and advice website exclusively for over 50’s, packed with articles, suggestions, tips and ideas. For free and independent travel advice as well as reviews about holidays, hotels, restaurants and days out, please visit www.silvertraveladvisor.com or email service@silvertraveladvisor.com. It’s free to register as a member of Silver Travel Advisor, and you could win a fabulous holiday prize.

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I’m not getting any younger these days, but I’m in charge - It’s my life Rent or leasehold – you can plan for your continued independence, with one clever move. To find out more please call the Housing 21 people, locally, on Lettings: 0345 606 6363 Leasehold: 0370 192 4000 www.housing21.co.uk

Housing to help you, to be you.


We all aim to keep our independence as we add up the birthdays. How about you? It really feels that nothing has changed; but somehow things are not the same as when you were five years younger. A change in your health, or that of a family member, can give pause for thought. Reading this now, what are your various thoughts about where you are now and your plans for the future? Do they match-up? How much could where you live affect how you live?

Which of these statements best reflects how you feel about where you live, now and in the future? a. My/our home is my castle – they’ll carry me out in a box! b. My/our home might become too much for me/ us at some point c. I/we have a plan to move to a nice bungalow by the sea d. I never want to be lonely at home, I’d move to be with friends What is most special to you? It could be something simple, like being able to spend time with friends easily – or maybe you’d like some freedom to travel and visit friends/family further afield, except you worry about leaving your home empty? When is the right time to think about where you live, so that you have more time and choice about how you live? Even if you don’t feel that restricted or isolated in your own home now, how will you feel as things gradually do change, over time?

Choose a chat above chores? Do you still see as much of your friends as you used to do? What if they really lived just around the corner? We know the sayings: “You are what you eat” just as we are where - and how - we live. Are there hobbies you’d like to get into if you had more free time and someone to share the enjoyment?

Take it easier - with what you need for independence simply arranged more easily to hand. Housing 21 developments are all about providing options that let you “be” how you want to be. Don’t stress about repairs and maintenance. No more worries about jobs and chores – except the ones you enjoy, and want to be involved in, like growing those sunflowers. Q: What is “Housing 21?” A: Independence, advice and support, under one roof – yours.

Housing 21 provides housing, and also care and support, for people from age 55 up, who want their independence to last, with just an element of support. Around Tyne & Wear we have age 55+ housing to suit you in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, various options in Sunderland and other courts in North Shields, Cramlington, Crook, Middlesbrough and Darlington.

Call the advice line on local-call: 0370 192 4000

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With snow and ice affecting many parts of the country Road Safety GB North East has issued advice for safe Winter driving to ensure that you keep safe when driving this Winter.

The main tip is to keep your speed right - not too fast so that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it – and brake, steer and accelerate as smoothly as possible. Always start gently from a stationary position and avoid high engine revs. If you get yourself into a skid the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the accelerator and steer, never use the brake as this may lock up your wheels resulting in total loss of control.

Follow these tips and safety advice in order to make your Winter driving incident free...

• Handbrake - Check for damage to handbrake cable covering. Cables should be changed if water has penetrated.

Avoiding a Skid Skidding on ice is the main concern for those driving in freezing conditions. Quite often drivers do not anticipate the impact that snow and ice can have on the handling to your vehicle.

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Protecting Your Car for the Winter • Engine/cooling system - Check antifreeze levels. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze to water will protect the engine down to –34ºC.

• Washers and wipers - A 50/50 mix of additive to water is needed in very cold weather. Switch off wipers when parked in frost - doing so prevents damaging blades or overheating the wiper motor when the car is started. • Locks - Oil door and boot locks and spray with water repellent to prevent freezing. Similarly for bonnet and fuel cap.

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Quick Check - Top 10 Winter Driving Tips 1. Always carry a survival pack in the car, including food, water and a blanket. This should include extra warm clothes. 2. Ensure your phone battery is fully charged and you have an in-car charger. 3. Put a shovel in your boot – in case you need to dig yourself out of trouble. • Diesel - Can become waxy and unusable below –15ºC. Some additives can lower this temperature. If possible, garage your vehicle in extreme cold. • General - Check oil level, battery, lights, and tyre tread and pressures

More advice for Winter driving • Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front. • Plan your journey around busier roads as they are more likely to have been gritted. • On motorways stay in the clearest lane where possible, away from slush and ice. Keep within the clear tyre tracks if you can. • Stay in a higher gear for better control. • As conditions improve make sure your foglights are only on if necessary – they can dazzle other drivers. • In falling snow use dipped headlights to make yourself visible to others (especially pedestrians)

Preparation • Check the weather in advance – don’t ignore police warnings about closed roads.

4. Consider fitting Winter tyres, but even if you don’t, have your summer tyres checked. Winter driving means that tyres should have no less than 3mm remaining tread. 5. Have your battery checked. Batteries have to work extra hard in the cold and are more likely to fail. 6. Make sure your windscreen washer fluid is topped up with the correct concentration of screenwash. Windscreens get particularly dirty in the Winter months and screenwash will help prevent the liquid from freezing. 7. Have your coolant checked – the antifreeze needs to protect your engine against the lowest of temperatures. 8. Have your air-con system serviced. It’s not just for summer – an effective air-con system will demist windscreens much more quickly, helping visibility. 9. Adjust your driving style to the conditions – be sensible in the rain, snow and ice. 10. Above all, in bad conditions consider whether your journey is really necessary.

For further information, advice and guidance on Winter driving and all other Road Safety related matters, please contact your Local Authority Road Safety section.

• Make sure you have an emergency kit so you are prepared in the event of a breakdown. This should include a torch, food for energy, water and a blanket. On longer journeys always let someone know you have set off and tell them your planned route. • Ensure your mobile is charged up so you can make a call in an emergency – but don’t use it when driving! • Do a proper Winter check of your vehicle, looking at washer fluid, de-icer/scraper and tyres.

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THE HAIRY DIETERS HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND LOSE WEIGHT THE HAIRY DIETERS

HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND LOSE WEIGHT by Dave Myers and Si King Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in trade paperback at £14.99, eBook £7.99

The Hairy Bikers were back this summer with a new book to accompany the exciting 4 x 60 minute food odyssey on BBC Two that started on Thursday 2 August. Si King and Dave Myers have made their names cooking real food for real people, creating mouth-watering dishes big on flavour and calories - and it’s taken its toll on their bodies. All of that had to stop, as they returned to our screens with The Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food And Lose Weight. Loving the food they eat is a cornerstone of Si and Dave’s lives and they know they won’t succeed in shedding the pounds if the food they eat is dull and repetitive. The Hairy plan: to create some delicious healthy recipes to help them on their way and so persuade Britain to lose weight with them. The Bikers set out to discover how to enjoy the best great British food at home, creating new dishes and adapting some culinary treasures to make them and us fitter for life. THE HAIRY DIETERS: How to Love Food and Lose Weight includes a healthy eating plan with mouthwatering recipes for eating at home, eating out, and of course, entertaining. It is filled with all of the dishes that

have made Si King and Dave Myers two of the nation’s favourite cooks. From perfect pies, curries, roast dinners and delicious desserts, the Hairy Dieters prove that cooking without the calories doesn’t have to compromise on taste.

Now for an excerpt from their best selling book.

FOOD ISN’T JUST FUEL FOR US — IT’S OUR LIFE. WE SPEND MOST OF EVERY DAY COOKING, THINKING ABOUT FOOD AND COMING UP WITH RECIPE IDEAS, NOT TO MENTION EATING! GREAT-TASTING FOOD IS OUR PASSION AND WE’RE NOT ABOUT TO GIVE THAT UP. But we have to admit that we’ve overdone it a bit. Years of enjoying endless gorgeous meals has taken its toll and we’ve piled on the pounds. Like many middle-aged blokes — and ladies — we found that we’d got too hefty and our health was suffering. It was time to face facts and take a good hard look at ourselves so we took a deep breath and got on the scales. Ouch! It was a long time since we’d weighed anything except ingredients and it was a shock. We were both a couple of stone or more overweight and over 40% of our body mass was fat. It was time to diet. Now we have to be honest, we’re never going to be skinny minnies and we don’t want to be. It’s just not us.

THE HAIRY BIKERS’ BIG BOOK OF BAKING, published in March 2012 is currently this year’s biggest selling hardback non-fiction book. Other cookery books by the Hairy Bikers include: THE HAIRY BIKERS’ FOOD TOUR OF BRITAIN, MUMS KNOW BEST, THE HAIRY BIKERS’ 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, MUMS STILL KNOW BEST, 18 www.50plusmagazine.co.uk THE HAIRY BIKERS’ PERFECT PIES


But we’ve made the effort to lose weight to stay healthy and enjoy life to the full. We want to be walking up hills and down dales without getting out of breath, and to be riding our big bikes when we’re 70 so we need to keep mobile and trim. And that means every now and again watching what we eat and reining it in a bit. Okay, we’re not going to diet for ever — we’re still greedy and we’ll always love our pies and curries — but our weigh-in was a wake-up call to act before we got dangerously big. Losing weight has been quite a journey for us but we’ve done it and we’re proud of ourselves. Now we know we can drop the pounds when we need to and this will help us keep a check on things in the future. If we can do it so can you. Look at losing weight as an investment in yourself and the people you love. The benefits far outweigh the sacrifices.

SO THIS IS WHAT WE DID... We didn’t want to sacrifice the pleasure of cooking and feel deprived or hungry so we knew we had to come up with meals that we would enjoy making and eating if we were to stick with the diet. With the advice of healthy eating experts, we discovered that by making small changes in our cooking habits we could still enjoy big flavours and the food we loved while dropping the pounds. And it’s true. We’ve shed weight and we feel the better for it. Our blood pressure and cholesterol levels are down, our waistlines have shrunk, we have more energy and we look HOT — but not as sweaty as we used to! And even more importantly, we’ve done all this while still eating some of our favourite, great-tasting dishes that we now cook with less fat and sugar, but bags of flavour. We think our recipes are fantastic. Yes, they’re lower in fat and sugar but they still taste amazing and we’re still just as enthusiastic and creative about our cooking as ever.

COUNTING THE CALORIES

IT’S WORKED FOR US AND IT CAN WORK FOR YOU We’ve found a way of eating ourselves slimmer and we want to share our discoveries with you. The secret is to make better choices and use little tricks to reduce your daily calorie count. Calorie counting might have fallen out of favour somewhat over recent years, replaced by all sorts of wacky dieting ideas, but it does work. We’re the living proof. We’ve lost pounds and inches! We’ve made all the recipes in this book as low in calories as possible while not compromising on the taste. And we’ve had a nutritionist check them out and do calorie counts for each one so you know exactly where you are. If you eat these, without cheating, you will lose weight — and you’ll love us for it. We have to confess we’ve never really thought too much about calories and the amount of food we were taking in but we know a lot more now. As many as a quarter of us Brits are obese and it’s not good for us, so it seems that many of us are taking in much more than we’re putting out. Our experts explained to us that in order to lose weight, you have to take in fewer calories so the body has to use its stores — makes sense so far doesn’t it?

Spanish-style chicken bake This is a brilliant recipe and you’ll notice that there’s no additional fat needed – all the fat comes from the chorizo, and the tomatoes make it lovely and juicy. A low-fat fiesta of a dish. Serves 4 1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges 1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges 500g new potatoes, quartered lengthways 8 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled 8 medium tomatoes, quartered 75g chorizo (preferably picante) 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika ½ tsp dried oregano 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips flaked sea salt freshly ground black pepper

ONLY 370 calories per portion

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Put the onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin and season with sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Toss everything together lightly and roast for 20 minutes. While the vegetables are roasting, skin the chorizo and cut the meat into thin slices – 5mm is about right. Put the chicken thighs on a board and carefully slash each one 2 or 3 times with a knife. Season all over with black pepper. Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside. Take the roasting tin out of the oven, scatter the chorizo over the veg and turn everything a couple of times. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and chorizo and sprinkle with the paprika and oregano. Season with a little salt and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Take the tin out of the oven. Holding one corner carefully with an oven cloth, lift the tin a little so all the juices run to the opposite end, then spoon and drizzle the juices back over the chicken. Tuck the pepper strips loosely around the chicken and vegetables. Turn the oven up to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Put the tin back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the peppers are just softened and the chicken is golden and crisp. As you eat, squeeze the garlic out of the skins and enjoy the deliciously soft and fragrant flesh. Just don’t kiss anyone afterwards! 19


THE NATION’S FAVOURITE FRENCH CHEF Jean-Christophe Novelli is a 5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award winning chef and he has been dubbed the “the nation’s favourite French chef ”. Exclusively for Port Salut, Jean-Christophe has created two French themed recipes and a series of tips for creating the perfect cheeseboard. “Port Salut is a classic French cheese which I have always enjoyed, so I was delighted to be asked to work with the brand. For the recipes I have used Port Salut to give traditional French dishes a new twist and I hope my cheeseboard tips will give your cheese course a whole new lease of life.”

CHAR GRILLED CHICKEN, LEEK, PORT SALUT AND BUTTON MUSHROOM FRICASSEE, WHOLE MEAL CROUTON INGREDIENTS 4 x skinned and boneless chicken supreme’s (cut into thin strips) 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into thin slices 2 x spring onions (trimmed and chopped into thin roundels) 1 clove of garlic (peeled and crushed) 100g chestnut or button mushrooms (sliced) 100g grated Port Salut 50g breadcrumbs 50g grated Port Salut 75ml double cream 25g butter 1 bunch of chives (chopped) 4 slices of wholemeal bread (cut into fingers) 25ml olive oil 1/2 tsp dried herbs 1/2 glass white wine

METHOD 1. Heat a char grill skillet until very hot, brush the chicken strips with some of the oil and season with salt and pepper and your favourite spice, paprika is good as is cumin or garam marsala. 2. Quickly char grill the chicken pieces until well coloured and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and keep warm. 3. In a large saucepan melt the butter over a low heat. 4. Add the leek and spring onion and sweat until tender. 5. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender and softened. 6. Add the white wine and the cream and allow to boil 7. Add the 100g of Port Salut and continue to simmer until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick. Add the chives. 8. Add the strips of chicken and stir in to coat with the sauce. 9. Place in an oven proof serving dish. 10. In a small mixing bowl combine the 50g of Port Salut with the breadcrumbs and scatter this over the top. 11. Bake in a pre heated oven until the crumbs are crisp and golden and the cheese has melted. 20

FOR THE WHOLEMEAL CROUTONS METHOD 1. Place the bread fingers on a baking tray. 2. Brush with olive oil & dried herbs and season with cracked pepper 3. Bake in a hot oven until crisp and golden brown. Serve on a side plate with the chicken and leek fricassee.

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Jean-Christophe Novelli has produced these tips exclusively for Port Salut. Visit www.portsalut.co.uk for more info.


CRISPY GRANARY BRUSCHETTA, POACHED EGG, SPINACH AND A PORT SALUT GLAZE. INGREDIENTS 4 eggs (free range, large) 2-3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar 4 thick slices of ciabattas bread 25ml olive oil 1/2 tsp dried herbs 400g washed baby spinach leaves 100ml double cream 4 egg yolks 100g Port Salut (grated) 50g butter (optional) Sprinkle of ground nutmeg

METHOD 1. Place the slices of ciabattas on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil and season with dried herbs, salt and pepper. 2. Place in a hot oven and bake until crisp and golden brown. 3. Place on four plates or a serving dish. 4. In a large sauce pan heat plenty of water to boiling point. 5. Add a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar and season to taste with salt. 6. Once boiling stir with a whisk to start a circular motion in the water and crack in the eggs one at a time, bring to the boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Cook for 3-4 minutes if a soft egg is required, a little longer for a firmer egg and 5-7 minutes for a hard poached egg. 7. Keep the eggs warm in the water until needed. 8. In a sauce pan bring the cheese to the boil, reduce for a few minutes to thicken. Remove from the heat. 9. Stir in the Port Salut and the eggs, allow the cheese to melt 10. In a frying pan add half the butter if used and add the spinach cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to the boil allow the water from the spinach to cook the leaves and when soft and wilted strain to remove any excess water remaining. 11. Season with salt and pepper and spoon an equal amount onto each ciabatta bruschetta. 12. Top with an egg and mask with the cheese and cream mix. 13. Place under a hot grill until bubbling and golden brown. 14. Garnish with some snipped chives and serve.

CHEESEBOARD THEATRE TIPS 1. Add some flavoured texture to your cheeseboard by dropping plain bread in favour of a fruit & nut bread such as apricot & walnut or prune & hazelnut and serve it slightly stale, cut into thin wafer slices 2. Fruit and cheese are a classic combination but give your grapes some extra character by serving them frozen – simply wash a bunch of grapes and shake off any excess water, place on a plate and pop in the freezer, serve directly once frozen onto the cheeseboard giving a more interesting texture with extra bite 3. Add a simple twist on the traditional by pairing your cheese with fruit that has a sharp acidity such as: cherries, raspberries, gooseberries, redcurrants, nectarines and tangy plums – these work well frozen too 4. Turn your cheeseboard into a visual feast by serving long celery stems in a vase of ice water. Team with a small bowl of rock salt too for dipping 5. Radishes are a tasty substitute to celery providing a peppery bite, leave a little stem on each on to hold on to and these can also be dipped in the rock salt 6. A fashionable alternative to the classic chutney is quince jelly – its sweet flavour will add a different dimension to your cheeseboard 7. Spice up your cheeseboard with a handful of sliced chillies or jalapenos, to give a flavoursome punch. This works particularly well with hard cheeses – these will complement the quince jelly too 8. Tantalise tastebuds with a rollercoaster ride of textures and flavours by adding olives and nuts to your cheeseboard 9. For an unexpected flavour, add some ground coffee beans to your board. A little sprinkle will give your cheeseboard a delicious edge 10. Use dried vine leaves, herb sprigs and edible flowers to add more drama, aroma and taste to your cheeseboard


50 Plus Health

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an operation, is one of the most successful eye operations. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk. Optimax is one of the UK’s leading Laser Eye Surgery specialists. Founded in 1991, it has carried out more than 350, 000 treatments. We offer a range of treatments suitable for those over 40, which can restore natural vision and give you freedom from glasses. These include Intra - Ocular Lens procedures. These Intra-Ocular Lenses replace the natural lens, which may eliminate the need for glasses and restore natural vision at the same time. What all Optimax treatments have in common is helping people to see the world more clearly. Choose Optimax for unbeatable results, affordable prices and outstanding patient care.

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Facial Rejuvenation with Spire Cosmetic Surgery Everyone wants to look their best, and facial rejuvenation is one way of helping to achieve this. Spire Washington Hospital’s newest consultant Mr Ahmed Ali-Khan FRCS (Plast.) looks at the surgical options available when you want to turn back the hands of time, with specific reference to facelifts and neck lifts. Who is most likely to approach you about a facelift or neck lift? People come to me when the ageing process has started in earnest and they have specific issues they want addressing. Depending on what those issues are, options can include facelifts, which improve certain areas of the face and neck, or neck lifts which are more specialised. Due to the nature of cosmetic surgery, I tend to find individuals have done a lot of research before making an appointment so are well prepared for the consultation.

What type of questions are you asked most frequently? Patient history and eligibility form a key part of early discussions, but most people want to know which procedures lead to the most natural results with minimal downtime and scarring. There used to be a trend for slightly over tightening the skin to provide longevity but this made it obvious that the person had ‘had work done’, quite the opposite of what people want today.

Which procedure do you perform most frequently? Bearing in mind that people usually prioritise safety with natural looking results, one of my preferred procedures is the MACS Lift, a technique that addresses the cheek and neck in most patients. The fact it has a fairly short recovery time, provides noticeable and sustained results, is slightly less invasive than a traditional facelift and has a shorter scar means it is quite popular. With the MACS lift, patients have a minimum of an overnight stay and the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic. The scar is left as short and discreet as possible, usually hidden in the hair of the temple down to the lower part of the ear. The face looks and feels a little tight on the day but this soon eases off and the final results can be seen within about 7-14 days, as any bruising and swelling fades. Patients appreciate the look because it is fresh and subtle.

Tell us about neck lifts Interestingly enough we are seeing an increase in enquiries from men, although a neck lift remains a female-dominated

procedure. As the face and neck are related, I tend to find the MACS lift will often address the issue adequately, but if there is an isolated problem, we can look at liposuction to take the weight out of the neck. Sometimes the neck muscle needs repositioning slightly or muscle relaxing injections may be used to achieve the desired result. It all depends on the individual requirements. With regards to men, the tissues can be much heavier and therefore a different, slightly more aggressive approach may be required. Fortunately men are more likely to tolerate a discreet scar on the neck (only really visible from directly below) and following a traditional neck tightening this is positioned no lower than the Adam’s apple, up the midline of the neck.

Why do patients need two consultations before surgery? I always offer a minimum of two consultations because no cosmetic surgery should be taken lightly. At the first, the aim is to establish the patient history, talk through the options and provide literature that the patient can take away. The second meeting allows the individual time to have absorbed all the details and ask any further questions. They are welcome to bring close friends or family who often provide a useful external perspective. A cooling off period is a necessity and nobody should ever feel pressurised into proceeding.

Any final tips? Patients should feel able to ask any question of their surgeon, including their background, because no respectable consultant will ever be offended by that. Effectively the patient needs to develop a bond of trust with the person carrying out their procedure. Anyone considering cosmetic surgery should check that their consultant is on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC). This way they can be confident their surgeon is one of the most highly trained in the field and adheres to very stringent guidelines about patient care and safety.

For more information about our cosmetic surgery services, please visit www.spirewashington.com or call 0191 418 8627. We look forward to hearing from you.


CHANGING ROOMS

IN THE HOME IS SOMETHING MANY OF US LONG TO DO BUT ARE HAMPERED BY THOSE TWIN PROBLEMS: LACK OF MONEY AND LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

BEFORE

Writes Angela Kelly We may know what we DON’T want around us, but probably have only a vague idea of what we do. The way we proceed next tends to relate either to the structure of the house – knocking through to give bigger rooms, adding a conservatory or building an extension – or the interior décor which includes everything from light fittings and wallpaper to furniture and paintings. For the first, often more sweeping, approach, architectural consultant Gary Willis from Novensus says always remember the importance of light. “Daylight directly affects our wellbeing and living in dark conditions can add to our lethargy,” he states. Deep rooms can appear dark as natural daylight can’t penetrate to the furthest reaches, so Gary suggests perhaps adding more windows. If privacy is an issue, consider use opaque window film, opaque glass or even glass blocks. “High level strip windows can also be used to provide natural light without sacrificing privacy,” he adds. A pitched roof with a flat internal ceiling could be opened up to a more interesting space, enhanced by exposed roof structure and effective roof lights. “Remove a wall to create an open plan dining/kitchen and a more adaptable space,” says Gary. “Even the removal of a load-bearing wall – one that has a structural purpose – is a relatively straightforward task to a competent builder.” For bigger projects, consider a garage or loft conversion. “Only around half of us really utilise our garage,” insists Gary. “Put this space to good use. Rather than just turning the garage into a room, how about thinking more laterally? Could you use part of the garage to extend an adjacent room to create a larger kitchen, whilst still reserving part of the garage for garden storage, a utility area or a study?”

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BEFORE A conservatory can add both light and space to a home, “but a sun room or orangery is a much better option. It will be insulated to current standards that will provide a usable room in all seasons and ultimately add more value to your home. “Another alternative is a pre-built garden room which can be brought onto site in one piece, or built quickly in a modular format with limited disturbance.” Maximise garden views “and minimise rubbish ones!” advises Gary. “Create a cosy oasis of space with a smaller patio. Dress it up with flower boxes and a beautiful chair or swing to provide visual interest throughout all seasons.” Indoors, bring in the light with brighter, lighter colours on walls, floors and ceilings to maximise available light. Gloss and satin finishes will reflect more light than dull, dark colours and mirrors can be used imaginatively to bring much-needed light into a room or brighten a dark hallway also giving the illusion of space. When cash is short, home stylist and project manager Jill Brimley from Changing Spaces advises looking carefully at what you’ve already got and adapting where you can. “Dark walls can be painted a light, neutral shade like Dulux Natural Calico,” she says. Take a close look at doors as these can give a dated feel to a room, and invest in new, white ones to add to light. For the Living Room makeover (pictured), Jill also had new panelled cupboard doors made for the meter cupboard. The electrical socket was removed and re-sited to get

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JILL’S TIPS FOR UPDATING

ANY EXISTING KITCHEN ARE:

AFTER

AFTER rid of ugly trailing wires and storage added within the cupboard. A “gorgeous little chair” was bought from TK Maxx, the dark legs painted in white satin wood. The original curtains were dry cleaned and a new complimentary fabric panel was added to lengthen them to the floor. “Additional fabric was bought to cover existing cushion pads to co-ordinate the look,” says Jill. She recycled accessories from around the home - “We also decluttered, removed the old carpet and put in new oak wood-style laminate flooring and painted the dark mahogany fireplace, mirror and cupboard in white satin wood to provide a brighter and nicer co-ordinated room.” For this Kitchen makeover on a budget, Jill kept the original units, unifying them to a cream satin wood and then adding freestanding furniture with doors almost identical to the existing units and bought at a clearance shop to add to the fitted look.

declutter work surfaces, tops of cupboards and walls

Steam clean kitchen area

Update white electrical sockets with chrome

Replace worktops with new, more modern items and/or change cupboard doors

Inexpensive plain tiles can make the look fresher and more modern

Chrome tile trims give a more upmarket look

Emulsion the walls to compliment the décor

Invest in new floor covering

Change the colour of your kettle, toaster etc for instant impact

mill and clearance shops or use sale curtains to make Roman blinds or a bed throw. “For a contemporary look, change the door handle and light switch to chrome,” adds Jill. “Inset halogen lights in the front and inside of the wardrobe, and upgrade the radiator and radiator cabinet.” Use old pillows that have flattened as cushion pads or cut up old duvets, and plump up curtains with crumpled tissue paper. The Bathroom can improve if you knock through an old bathroom and separate toilet into one modern area. Add a heated towel radiator to save on space and for a more stylish look. It’s worth investing in a combi boiler which gets rid of the old water tank and is more efficient. Try bricking up the original toilet widow externally and reduced it in size internally to give a useful shelf/recess. Investment in a white modern suite is really worthwhile. Use floor and wall tiles in the same neutral colour but different sizes - bigger tiles with smaller grout lines also give the illusion of space. And if you struggle to see new potential in your home – call in the experts!

Modern inexpensive cream brick tiles were used around the necessary areas, the walls were painted lighter with Dulux’s Javan Dawn, and the original back door was replaced with small French windows to bring in extra light and a view of the garden. Jill also replaced the original work top with a solid oak butcher’s block.

Meet the

In the Bedroom, use relaxing light neutral colours. If space is limited, go for sliding wardrobe mirror doors to reflect light back into the room. Shop carefully for complementary bargain soft furnishings – go online, visit

GARY WILLIS Architectural Consultant Novensus

For more details visit www.changingspaces.org.uk and www.novensus.co.uk

EXPERTS JILL BRIMLEY Home Stylist Changing Spaces


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13:30 - 14:30

WI Carol Service

13:30 - 15:00

Nature’s Christmas. Celebrate Christmas with the Woodlands and Riverbanks team and turn natural materials into Christmas decorations. Free of charge. To book a place email education@durhamcathedral. co.uk or telephone 0191 374 4070.

EVENTS AND SPECIAL SERVICES IN DURHAM DECEMBER 2012 Saturday 15th December

19:30 - 22:00

Christmas with Durham Cathedral Choir. With special guest Sir Thomas Allen CBE and joined by Prince Bishops Brass. Tickets: £25, £20 & £10 (£20, £15, £8 concessions) available from the Gala Theatre Box Office on 0191 332 4041 or www.galadurham.co.uk

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Invest in a New Boiler, Save Money, and Stay Warm this Winter Fed up with your boiler breaking down? Early sub-zero temperatures making early starts unbearable? If the answer is ‘yes’, then you may want to think about upgrading your boiler. A new boiler is an expense, however with energy bills rising and boilers accounting for 60% of them, a brand new efficient boiler could cut your heating bills by up to 40%.

25% Off your new boiler! At SFS Home Assist, we understand that a new boiler can be expensive, which is why for a limited time only, we are offering a 25% discount off a new boiler and installation. Not only will you receive a discount, but an A-Rated Worcester Bosch Boiler (voted Which? Best

Boiler 2012) with a 7 year guarantee, which means you don’t need to worry about any maintenance costs in the near future. Once more, our offer includes a free Powerflush (worth up to £600) which will completely clean your existing system and extend the life of your new boiler. So save money and energy with a brand new boiler and go green instead of blue this winter!

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Offer subject to availability, terms and conditions apply. Offer ends 31/01/13 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.


The Winter Garden

Splashed with colour I

n the dark days of winter gardens can appear bare and uninteresting. But if you take the time now to visualise how your plot will look without the colours of the herbaceous border, you could be well on the way to creating a winter garden with its own special charm. Take a walk around your garden with notepad and pencil, note the gaps that will appear when the summer planting has been cut back, and check out any evergreen shrubs you already have in situ. Sketch out the garden with just those plants, and it's easy to see exactly where a colourful winter flowering shrub can be placed. There’s nothing quite as uplifting as the sight of flowers blooming in spite of the frost. Plant winter flowering shrubs where they can be seen from the house and try to include at least one shrub which flowers for each month of the winter. You could also include one or two shrubs which have coloured foliage.

Flowering shrubs for Winter November Mahonia Charity is an evergreen shrub, with spiky dark green leaves, and richly scented, deep yellow flowers which trail from the tips of the stems from November to February. A new variety, available from J. Parker’s, is Mahonia Cabaret, which has orange/ red flower buds, flowering from September to December.

Camellia Novembe

r Pink

Camellia November Pink. If you love camellias, this is one of the groups of Camellia Williamsii group of hybrids, and produces bright pink single flowers from November to March.

December Lonicera Fragrantissima, winter flowering honeysuckle, produces sweetly scented white flowers from December to March. Unlike other honeysuckles, this is a shrub, almost evergreen, with mid green leaves. Viburnam Grandiflorum. White flowers, flushed with pink, and heavily scented, appear on the bare branches of this shrub from December to February.

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Camellia Winters Sn

owman


The Winter Garden   splashed with colour

Photinia Red Robin. The new growth on this attractive shrub is bright red. January Daphne Odora. This bushy shrub is evergreen, with pale purple, richly scented flowers which bloom from January to April.

February Chaenomeles Speciosa (Japonica, or Japanese quince). This shrub produces waxy red flowers and dark green glossy leaves. Other forms include Apple Blossom, which is one of the most popular, with pink tinged, white flowers. The fruits of this shrub are equally attractive, apple shaped, turning deep yellow in late autumn. Hamamelis Mollis (witch hazel). If you come upon this plant in winter, the scent of the flowers will reach you before you see them. Growing to the size of a small tree, Hamamelis has green felted leaves which turn a rich yellow in autumn.

The yellow flowers, flushed red at the base, appear on the bare twigs from January onwards.

March Choisya Ternata (Mexican orange blossom). This hardy shrub has glossy, scented leaves and clusters of scented white flowers which appear in April. I’ve included this as a winter shrub because of its attractive foliage, which is extremely useful for cutting. There is also a gold leafed variety, which lights up the garden, adding a feeling of sunlight in the garden on the darkest day. Forsythia. No spring garden could be complete without this wonderful shrub, smothered with yellow flowers, which appear before the leaves. Magnolia Stellata. A slow growing deciduous tree with star shaped scented flowers which appear in March and April.

Evergreen shrubs with colourful foliage Photinia Red Robin. The new growth on this attractive shrub is bright red. Eleagnus Ebbingei. This variety has attractive silver and green foliage. Will grow up to 15 feet high, but takes pruning well.

For ground cover Cyclamen make wonderful ground cover, and if you have the chance, take a trip to Wakehurst Place in Surrey. As you enter the gardens you see a glorious carpet of pink and white beneath the trees. These little plants spread themselves and the foliage is as attractive as the flowers. Bergenia Evening Glow (elephant’s ears) creates a colourful splash in your garden. Although the purple, bell shaped flowers don’t appear until April, the large glossy leaves of this plant turn a deep red during the winter. Helleborus Niger (the Christmas rose), flowers from January to March. There are many varieties of this plant, which has attractive, glossy green foliage, and flowers, borne on twelve inch stems, varying from white, through pink, to dark purple. It’s also worth considering the many varieties of heather which produce white or pink flowers during winter. It’s worth remembering the value of pot plants. Early flowering daffodils, such as February Gold, grape hyacinths such as Muscari Armeniacum, potted up and grouped with separate pots of Harts tongue fern and small conifers will create interest and colour, before the first tulips appear in May. The choice, even for the dark days of winter is surprisingly varied, and if you plan now, your garden will reward you with colour and fragrance whatever the time of year. Jasminium Nudiflorum. The winter flowering jasmine is hardy and will flower in the most difficult conditions, so long as it’s sheltered from cold winds.

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Looking For Luxury? Seaview Park Retirement homes for the over 45s

Arguably the ‘The jewel in the crown’ Seaview Park is in a rural location on the outskirts of Hartlepool. Only a short walk to the sea front and minutes drive to the centre of town and marina. These luxurious residential bungalows are set in a private estate with spectacular sea views, woodland walkways and meadows where you can take gentle strolls listening to the birds sing or watch the rabbits and pheasants go about their daily business.

Seaview Park

Osprey Country Park in Hartlepool and Castledene Country Park in Castle Eden Two scenic parks 15 minutes apart and completely different. Open all year round for you and your family, these quality caravan holiday parks are a must visit. Osprey is a quiet, peaceful, scenic park, easy walk to the beach and short drive to Hartlepool Marina. Castledene is set in 18 acres of woodland and national walkways, also close to riding stables and golf courses and of course Castle Eden itself off A19. Friendly maintenance and management teams to ensure that all you do is enjoy!

For Castledene ring Kevin on 01429 835 686

For an information pack on all 3 parks ring 01429 862111 or visit our website at www.hill-brothers.com

LUXURY HOMES

ENSUITE SHOWER

FULLY FITTED KITCHEN

EASY TO MAINTAIN

LANDSCAPED GARDENS

ON SITE MANAGEMENT

PART EXCHANGE ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY AT CURRENT MARKET VALUE

CASHBACK ON BALANCE

NO SOLICITORS FEES

FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT

SMALL DEVELOPMENT

Seaview Park, Easington Road, Hartlepool TS24 9RF

Tel: 01429 862 111 www.seaviewparkhomes.com


Social Care Direct 0845 8 50 50 10 Call us for information, advice and guidance about adult social care services in County Durham We are open: 8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Thursday 8.30am - 4.30pm Friday An out of hours EMERGENCY service is also available on this number Telephone: 0845 8 50 50 10 Textphone: 01429 884124 Text message: 07786 027280 E-mail: scd@durham.gov.uk www.50plusmagazine.co.uk

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www.50plusmagazine.co.uk

Durham & Tees Valley 16  

The local magazine for the over 50s

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