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AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2020

KIRKLEES & CALDERDALE

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CONTENTS

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TWITTERING ON By Angela Kelly

6-8 TRAVEL A Noble Caldeonia Cruise onboard the SS Misr 12-13

GORDON SUMNER From teacher to superstar

17-19 HOME Is your home ready for a makeover 23-24 GARDEN Gardening for Wildlife

Travel A NOBLE CALEDONIA CRUISE ONBOARD THE SS MISR

Garden

James Martin

GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE

ISLANDS TO HIGHLANDS

To view more articles VISIT OUR BRAND NEW LOOK WEBSITE WWW.50PLUSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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JAMES MARTIN'S Islands to Highlands

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A SECURE FUTURE With Equity Release

Bridgeman House 77 Bridgeman Street | Bolton | BL3 6BY. Sales Enquiries : T: (01204) 238180 E: artwork@mcgrathmedia.co.uk

Our pets are much loved companions, best friends and family members but sadly, not all animals are treated with the love and care they deserve The RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford & District Branch receives no government funding and we are entirely reliant upon the generosity of our kind supporters. Over a third of our income is in the form of gifts included in people's Wills. This generosity helps us to give food, bedding, veterinary care and TLC to the animals in our Animal Centre and contributes greatly to their rehabilitation. This is only possible thanks to the generosity of people leaving us a gift in their Will. Your act of kindness is literally a gift of life to hundreds of animals that have been cruelly treated. It will cost you nothing in your lifetime but from £100 to £100,000, every donation to the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford & District Branch is greatly appreciated and can help save an animal’s life. Making a Will, or adding a codicil to your existing Will is the only way to ensure that those you love will be taken care of, including your pets. If your pet has brought huge joy into your life, remembering the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford & District Branch in your Will is a wonderful way to celebrate your love of your animals and help animals less fortunate than your own for many years to come. As a self funded RSPCA Branch, we're totally reliant upon the kindness of animal-lovers in order to continue our work. Your lasting legacy will ensure that we can continue our work to help the thousands of animals that we care for every year and also plan for the future.

If you would like to talk to someone about leaving a Gift in your Will, please call us on 01422 341160, e-mail us at: Branchoffice@rspcahalifaxhuddersfieldbradford.org.uk or if you prefer you can write to us at RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford & District, Wade Street, Halifax, HX1 1SN

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T wittering O n BY ANGELA KELLY children’s demands and consider their health instead.

the highly inspirational Manchester Arena bomb blast survivor Freya Lewis.

Yes, it is particularly tough being a parent today but the buck still stops with them.

Freya was just 14 when she and best friend Nell Jones attended the Ariana Grande concert in May, 2017. With arms linked and chatting excitedly after enjoying the event, they were just 30 feet away from terrorist Salman Abedi when he detonated his bomb.

Why should children pay the real price of what is perceived as easier junk food and snacks when healthy alternatives are available? It’s not a matter of wealth, either. You can eat well cheaply – if parents can be bothered to take the healthier options.

Supermarkets and parents should join together to fight childhood obesity A CROSS-PARTY report by MPs says that supermarkets will continue to be the “pantomime villains” in today’s childhood obesity crisis unless they combat youngsters’ pester-power. They want supermarkets to place sweets out of children’s reach and stop promotions and discounts on foods with high levels of sugar, salt and fat. The politicians demand that supermarkets place discounts on fruit, vegetables and other healthy produce and promote these heavily instead. They also want new laws to ban multi-buy promotions of unhealthy food. It is time that supermarkets took a genuine stand on this subject and forcing them to offer healthier alternatives more obviously is definitely a way to go. However, the ultimate decision on food lies with parents who need to stand up to their 4

Don’t bother being offended by trivia – there are more important things in life WE live in very sensitive times. In fact, I do wonder sometimes if people are just waiting to be offended by something or other. I’m all for caring about people’s feelings and being as kind as we can be but it has got to the stage where free speech is now far from it. We also have to carefully examine more or less everything we utter, in public or private, for fear that it may upset even one person. Personally, I always thought there was room for all shades of opinion on most topics and that everyone had the right to express this as long as it wasn’t cruel, aggressive, unfair or untrue.

This killed 23 people, including the attacker, and wounded 139 others. Nell died as a result of the blast and Freya suffered 29 terrible injuries. On the operating table, doctors spent “10 hours intricately bolting, drilling, sewing and bandaging me back together again,” recalled Freya. She was in a coma for five days and confined to a wheelchair for three months. This was the first of five sessions of surgery lasting 23 hours. Her recovery was agonising and she also suffered ongoing terror and hallucinations. But now, at 17. having written a heartrending book entitled What Makes Us Stronger, she insists that the experience of the bomb and its aftermath, however harrowing, has made her a stronger person. Her stoic attitude to life and all that has happened to her is so far away from today’s over-sensitive individuals usually whinging over trivia as to be from a different species. Freya has put life into perspective, for herself and everyone, and let’s hope we can learn from her.

Now, if you feel strongly about something you can be absolutely sure that you will grossly offend someone with your view.

Putting names to faces isn’t always easy

What brought this home to me recently was not, surprisingly, all the instances of people complaining about some often completely innocuous statement, situation or action but

ARE you good at remembering names and faces? Apparently, only one per cent of the UK population are actually what are now called super recognisers.


These are people who can pick out a face in a crowd and immediately know who they are. They simply never forget a face.

the gaffe himself in a national newspaper he writes for and on TV’s Good Morning Britain.

The Metropolitan Police actually has an elite squad of these super recogniser officers at Scotland Yard who possess this unlikely super power. It comes in very handy for tracking down criminals in a crowd or on CCTV and it’s an amazing feat of memory.

You can feel sympathy for the usually abrasive Piers as this is just so easily done. I am regularly calling people by their wrong name, convinced that Susan is Sylvia and Derek is David.

The rest of us may just do what Piers Morgan did while at a Hollywood party for the Oscars this year. Seeing someone he was convinced was Friends’ star David Schwimmer, he went up to him and congratulated him on his most recent acting success. Relating this to others, he was roundly informed that this was not, in fact, David Schwimmer but another actor called Dylan McDermott who did look a bit like Mr S. Embarrassment for Piers ensued although, to his credit, he did publicise

People are often too polite to correct you but when you realise your mistake, it’s red faces all round. I like it when you go to an event and everyone is wearing nametags. At least there’s no room for identity opinion or any margin for error.

Dina is just the right Barbie for 2020 BARBIE has always fascinated children with her pneumatic figure, endless legs and enviable wardrobe. But, quite rightly, this extreme doll look can be unhealthily influential on burgeoning minds coming to terms with the more realistic gifts of Nature. It may even help give them unrealistic role models.

So, well done Mattel for creating a Barbie doll which is a modern icon and who has created her success from hard work. The latest addition is a Barbie doll of world champion British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith. The 24 year-old is the fastest woman in British history and just the right example for youngsters to aspire to. Now, let’s look at someone similar for a new Ken.

or email: help@aamail.org 5


TRAVEL

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50 Plus Travel

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A Noble Caledonia Cruise Onboard The SS Misr BY CATHY BARTROP FOR SILVER TRAVEL ADVISOR The 600 Mile Nile - a Noble Caledonia cruise on board the SS Misr By Cathy Bartrop for Silver Travel Advisor Despite setbacks over the past few decades, tourism to Egypt is back on the up - recent indicators include Sharm El Sheikh being taken off the Foreign Office no go list and Tutankhamun treasures on show in London before being permanently housed in the magnificent new Grand Egyptian Museum which will open at Giza in October. Egypt's no.1 magnet for tourists though will always be a cruise on the magnificent Nile river, the lifeblood of the entire country and simply the easiest and most efficient way to explore the wonders of Ancient Egypt. There are many different options for Nile cruises from exclusive charter Dahabiyyas right up to large, modern luxury vessels. For 6

something more historic and characterful the SS Misr is definitely one to consider. I joined an exclusive Noble Caledonia charter on a 600 mile sailing from Aswan all the way up to Cairo. The Misr (which means Egypt in Arabic) enjoys special status on the river as an historic steamer. Originally built in 1918 by the Royal Navy, she saw active service during the first world war and for several years afterwards before being retired. She was then acquired by the Egyptian government and eventually converted into a luxury yacht to be used by Egypt's last monarch, King Farouk. When the monarchy was overthrown in 1952, she languished in a boat yard for many years until, in 2003, she was rediscovered by her new owners who embarked on a mission to restore her to her former glory using the original drawings.

They did a great job. The minute you step aboard you know it’s going to be a special experience. The greeting is warm and welcoming from the ever-smiling crew, dressed in their distinctive brocade robes and the decor throughout echoes the royal connections. A grand wooden staircase sweeps up from the lobby to the heart of the ship where you find the panelled Marasem restaurant and a galleried area complete with an antique gramophone and chaise longue. The dark wood, rich colours and plush fabrics create an instant feel of opulence. One deck up and there is a sumptuous bar and lounge area, a rich yet pleasing blend of velvets, silks, tassels and vintage style furniture. 22 individually styled cabins are spread over three decks and skilfully blend period charm with mod cons. All have access to a private balcony, just wide enough to perch on the provided stools, the perfect spot to drink in the marvellous fretwork framed views. The boat is wonderful - very comfortable, outstanding food, the highest standards of hygiene and service, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere - but the star of the show is Nile


itself. Surely one of the most scenic and fascinating rivers in the world. The section of the Nile between Aswan and Luxor is the best known and most visited for good reason. If your time is limited, in just 5 -7 days you get to see some of the most celebrated sites of Ancient Egypt: the magnificent temples of Karnak and Luxor, the picture perfect island temple of Philae and perhaps less well known but equally impressive Kom Ombo, Hatshepsut and Edfu temples. There's a chance to wonder at the engineering marvel of the Aswan Dam and the option (if you can handle a 4am start and 4 hour drive each way) to visit Abu Simbel, the temple world famous for being saved and moved due to the construction

of the Dam. And then there is the Valley of the Kings and Queens and the fascination of stepping down into the ancient and highly decorated tombs, most famously of course that of the Boy King, Tutankhamun. Even if you are not especially interested in the complexity of the history and the dynasties, you cannot fail be awed by the scale of it, the mythology, the beauty of the art. Awed and possibly a little overwhelmed – it’s an awful lot to take in. To avoid the heat of the midday sun and worst of the crowds, 5 and 6 am wake up calls are essential. So it’s no 'holiday' but it really is a memorable experience.

continued north from Luxor towards Cairo. This section of the Nile was completely closed for two decades after terrorism incidents but re-opened in 2015 and is slowly regaining popularity. Everywhere we went ashore and every village or farming community that we passed, we were greeted by smiles and waves - tourism is vital to the Egyptian economy and, having been starved of it for so long, this part of the country is clearly overjoyed to see it coming back. That said, the security risk has evidently not disappeared. We were shadowed throughout by a police boat, additional security personnel on board and both police and armed security escorts on excursions.

Thankfully, for the second half of this longer cruise the pace slowed considerably as we 7


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Hatshepsut Temple

At times it seemed so over the top, it made you question just how high the risk might be - hard to know but all I can say is that we certainly felt well protected. The places we visited on our half day excursions on this section were unfamiliar names but no less impressive. The amazing colours of the art at Dendera, Akhenatun's Royal City and the palace at Amarna, the catacombs at Tuna Al Gebel and the necropolis of Beni Hassan. Just when you think you've seen the most astonishing, the best preserved, the most intricate... something else will top it. And we learned to take our cue from our guest historian on board, George Hart, whose excitement grew the further north we went. He told me his personal highlight was the stunning temple at Abydos, built of white limestone and home to the most exquisite wall carvings. George described it as the 'Rolex' of temples - who am I to disagree? Cairo and the Pyramids then provided a predictably fantastic finale to our epic Egyptian adventure.

Half day excursions on this part of the cruise meant plenty of time back on board to sit and stare at the stunning, ever changing scenery, wave at the people on the riverbank (there is lots of waving), to enjoy the heat of the sun deck, the pool and the convivial company of fellow guests. We even had a full day of sailing which gave time to take in a tour of the steam engine room with its small museum, to inspect the reassuringly spotlessly clean kitchens and, quite simply, to just relax. The weather is the only dry thing about this Nile Cruise - yes, there's a LOT of history, guided tours and fascinating lectures, but there is fun too, led primarily by our amiable cruise directors, Mohamed and Sherif. Meals are all open seating and very sociable affairs. In the main people moved around a lot and although like-minded souls gravitate, happily no real cliques formed. Barbecues out on deck on several evenings provided a welcome change of scene and the inevitable Egyptian night was way less

cringeworthy than I had feared. Some went all out fancy dress but most were content with a token effort of donning a colourful 'Galabeya' robe (available everywhere for around £10-£15). They must have done it hundreds of times but what made it so special was that the crew were clearly having a great time, showing off their drumming and dancing skills and their unforced high spirits were contagious. This was one of those trips where there was so much to see, so much to absorb, that it's not until you get home that you fully appreciate the impact of the experience. As one of my fellow passengers so succinctly put it 'Egypt is not so very far away, but it's a different world'. It really is and especially so on board the regal SS Misr. I urge you to put it on your travel wish list. Cathy travelled as a guest of Noble Caledonia and filmed the experience which can be viewed on the Silver Travel Advisor Youtube channel.

For more details on the 600 mile Nile cruise eon board the SS Misr, visit www.noble-caledonia.co.uk or call 020 7752 0000. Silver Travellers receive a 5% discount on all Noble Caledonia cruises. 8


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CELEBRITY INTERVIEW

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GORDON SUMNER, FROM TEACHER TO SUPERSTAR FORGING an enduring career in a business as fickle as the pop music world takes a particular kind of talent and savvy – but Sting appears to have both in large amounts. The singer, songwriter, actor and activist has managed not only to have a spectacularly successful career spanning almost five decades but has stayed relevant to the music scene throughout that time. That unique approach probably started with his name. This happened in his native Northeast when his love of wearing a favourite bee-like black and yellow striped sweater was spotted by a fellow musician who christened him Sting. Young Gordon Sumner, to give him his own name, wanted to become a musician from early on in life – not necessarily an obvious choice for a lad from an area steeped in the ship-building industry. For his “day job” instead, he opted to train as a teacher

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and taught in local primary and secondary schools. At the same time, though, he was actively pursuing his music career – which veered towards jazz - playing bass with The Newcastle Big Band, The Phoenix Jazzmen, Earthrise and Last Exit. In the latter, his first efforts at songwriting were featured. That group was big in the North-east but their jazz fusion was doomed to failure when punk rock exploded onto the music scene in 1976. Stewart Copeland, drummer with another group, saw Last Exit on a visit to Newcastle and recognised the potential and charisma of the bass player. The two hooked up shortly afterwards and, within months, Sting had left his teaching job and moved to London.

Stewart named them The Police and they steeped themselves in punk and toured the clubs along with Corsican guitarist Henri Padovani, later replaced by Andy Summers. The band also enrolled Stewart’s elder brother Miles as manager, wowing him with a Sting song called Roxanne. In a short time, Miles had them a record deal but the hip London press saw through their punk camouflage and were contemptuous of their talents so the band’s early releases failed to have chart success. As a result, The Police did something quite unthinkable for the time: they went to America. Here, they had a tough experience touring under their own steam and playing tiny audiences. Their tenacity, however – combined with Sting’s pin-up looks and compelling high, raspy voice - paid off as they built a loyal following, getting some all-important air-play and creating their own unique sound. The band returned to the UK to find Roxanne in the charts. They played a sell-out tour of mid-size venues and their debut album Outlandos d’Amour in 1978 gave


them three sizeable hits with Roxanne, Can’t Stand Losing You and So Lonely. They followed this with Message in a Bottle which went to No.1, then Walking on the Moon hit the top slot. In 1980 they undertook a gruelling world tour then followed up with more hits: Don’t Stand So Close To Me and De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da. More albums and more hits like Every Little Thing She Does is Magic and the group was riding high. However, their style was changing, and so was Sting. He was offered the lead role in the film version of Dennis Potter’s controversial play Brimstone and Treacle as well as a BBC production, Artemis ’81. He had already appeared in a couple of films in minor roles. His acting career was starting to rival his singing. Sting had a surprise solo hit with Spread A Little Happiness and made an appearance at The Secret Policeman’s Ball in aid of Amnesty International, demonstrating his burgeoning interest in humanitarian causes. At the turn of 1983, Sting and The Police recorded what became their final studio album Synchronicity with Every Breath You Take the standout track. This immediately went to No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic and was to become officially the most requested radio song of all time. But the band’s tense relationship was already breaking down and, after an American tour, in 1984, the three decided to go their separate ways. In 1985, Sting released his first solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles, featuring the cream of America’s young black jazz musicians. This showed that Sting had lost none of his songwriting ability and the new material had a more political stance. The success of this album, a solo appearance at Live Aid and a well-received world tour offered proof that Sting did not need the safety net of The Police, and his solo career was born. Since then, Sting has proved himself to be one of the pop world’s most articulate exponents and a highly literate songwriter.

From "My Songs Tour 2019" He has extended his musical repertoire to play mandolin, piano, harmonica, saxophone and pan-flute. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Northumbria University in 1992 and from Berklee Colege of Music in 1994. As well as continuing to create best-selling albums, including collaborations with everyone from Rod Stewart to Mary J Blige, he has racked up a remarkable number of awards including 17 Grammys. He has also appeared in more than 15 films, executive produced the critically acclaimed A Guide to Recognising Your Saints and starred in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway. Sting’s most recent theatre project is the Tony-nominated musical The Last Ship, inspired by his memories of the shipbuilding community of Wallsend where he grew up. He is married to film producer Trudie Style and has six children with her and ex-wife, actress Frances Tomelty. He owns a Jacobian castle in Wiltshire, a place in London, an apartment in New York, a place on the beach in Malibu, California and a Renaissance Florentine Villa in Tuscany. His concern for the planet is welldocumented. In 1989, along with his wife Trudie and a Brazilian Indian, he started

the Rainforest Foundation to help save rainforests. Not outwardly flashy or controversial, Sting has praised “the geniuses of music like Bach and Miles Davis” as they “used silence beautifully.” Of his own songwriting talents, he stated: “I’m so glad I have this way of expressing, in a veiled and artistic way, my most intimate feelings. A lot of people have the same feelings, but in others it must get bottled up. “I’m proud of my being able to make it into artifacts that some people find beautiful or engaging.” The much-awaited shows of his planned 2020 tour, entitled My Songs, may have been curtailed for now by the worldwide pandemic. But the good news for UK fans is that the London Palladium dates in September have already been re-scheduled for June, 2021. Nor will American fans lose out, either. His residency at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, for instance, has also been re-scheduled for early next year. And for the performer who so graphically uses his music to share with others his own experiences and feelings, perhaps Sting may manage to reflect on even this difficult time for the world in songs to come.

* For more details about Sting: My Songs dates go to www.sting-tour.com 13


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has been simply incorporated into a room. So why not change this? Bringing back a fireplace offers a centrepiece and focal point for a room like no other. Reclamation yards might offer some originals if you’re prepared to look or invest in one of the many smart new fireplaces on offer now. These can be free-standing or inset – there’s plenty of choice. But this is definitely one way to really alter the look and appeal of a lounge or sitting room. Take a good look at your windows Window technology has come on so much in recent years that you really can buy just the right kind for your home.

IS YOUR HOME READY FOR A MAKEOVER WATCHING TV makeover programmes and how clever interior designers make the most of homes of all sizes makes most of plain jealous.

Yet, there are simple tips that can help in any home – to make areas look bigger or smaller, brighter, more contemporary and certainly more interesting. Improve or get rid of your old front door While a coat of paint can really do the trick on a tired or old-fashioned door, it may be worth investing in a new one to make that vital first impression on any visitor. It also cheers up your day every time you come home! Make those stairs really stand out Stairs are often the first thing that anyone sees coming into your home and if they are shabby or just plain boring that gives totally the wrong impression. So cheer them up with a smart and stylish stairrunner to banish those shabby treads. Go for colour if you really want to make an impression, perhaps with a bold pattern, or keep classy with a lush neutral weave.

Gaps around sash windows can also let out costly heat so it’s definitely worth getting in someone who knows what they’re doing and either renovating the windows you have or going for new ones. Bear in mind the style of your home outside and also how new windows will blend in with your interior furnishings. The big bonus is reduced heating bills and a really cosy glow for you!

Look after those original features If you’re lucky enough to have original features like cornices, make a feature of them. Bring out the period detail by stripping them right down and then highlight them with stain or a fresh coat of paint. Treat yourself to good storage space We all acquire so much stuff these days that we need plenty of storage otherwise everywhere just looks cluttered. Investing in bespoke shelving in those wasted, awkward areas of your home – or even in alcoves - can add a better look and that much-prized storage space.You could also have a go yourself! Fireplaces add a special glow Many homes have original fireplaces although some were ripped out in previous decades when they weren’t considered stylish. This has left many homes with a bare chimney breast which

Shutters, blinds or curtains? While you’re looking carefully at how effective and attractive your windows are, examine how you are framing them, inside and out. Smart shutters are back in fashion and accessible to everyone. And today’s curtains and blinds come in so many different types choices will be difficult so seek expert advice. Even changing curtains or blinds can make a huge difference to any room, especially

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HOME

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Mirror a window to reflect light and create height by raising curtains to the ceiling. And make a focal point in your bedroom, like using a piece of art as a headboard instead of a traditional headboard. Call in the lawn arranger If you want a green space outside but can’t wait for one to grow, invest in an artificial lawn. Today’s lawns are remarkably like the natural thing and very resilient. They just need cleaning and they won’t yellow in the sun or dry out. Seek advice on the best type for your outdoor space from a local company. HOW TO MAKE YOUR KITCHEN LOOK LUXE By Andrea Fawell, Sales & Marketing Director at Kebbell

teamed with matching soft furnishings like cushions and throws.

beforehand so that you get the right flow in your room and it does what you want it to.

Don’t look down on carpets and flooring Take a fresh look at your carpets and flooring and see how you can improve them. You may have original floor tiles which are well worth proper restoration, either by you or by a professional cleaner.

This might also be a good opportunity to de-clutter and make some space, or move an item to another room or area if you can’t bear to part with it.

In a busy area like a hallway, for example, you don’t have to settle for a practical but boring carpet. Go for a gleaming wooden floor or choose a wool blend carpet in a bright colour or pattern that’s durable but impressive. Again, consult your local flooring specialist as they know what works out well where, and how to get the best value. Sofa so good If you have a vintage sofa that’s comfortable but simply looks tired, update it with a bright, contemporary new fabric. If you like the idea but don’t have the upholstery skills, go to an expert. It’s worth the investment to keep your much-loved sofa and give it a new lease of life. Have a moving experience Sometimes, just re-arranging your furniture can give a whole new aspect to a room. Rather than waste energy pushing around that heavy sofa, make a plan of it all 18

Paint is your friend Just giving a room a fresh coat of paint can sometimes make all the difference. Create an accent wall or make stripes using taped lines. Think about your ceiling: a lighter colour here draws your eye upwards and makes your room appear bigger. If you’ve already got very high ceilings, lighter colours on the walls with a darker shade on the ceiling can make the room feel cosier. Painting your kitchen cupboards can also work well and save you buying new units. Or, buy some modern handles, or vintage if you prefer. Simple changes in familiar areas can often have great effect. Enlarge that bedroom Make a small bedroom seem larger by colour co-ordinating décor and furnishings. Use simple bed linen for a minimal approach. Raise your bed to create extra space and buy a flat-weave rug for interesting texture.

Andrea Fawell, Sales and Marketing Director at Kebbell, the property developers known for their elegant and high quality homes, has taken the time to share their top tips on how to make your kitchen look and feel welcoming yet luxe:Hardworking but beautiful kitchens need to be clutter free. Kitchens are no longer just places to prepare and cook your meals, but a central space for quality family time, dining and entertaining. Because it is such a busy place clutter is unhelpful. Aim to keep your worktops as large sweeping spaces free of paperwork, bits and bobs and ingredients. Organise your cupboard space and recycle gadgets, crockery and kitchen aids you don’t use anymore. Love your lighting Lighting in kitchens is often overlooked so make sure you take the time to consider it. As well as practical LED lighting why not add something unexpected like a chandelier or statement pendants to create a feature element in your kitchen. Localised lighting for every working surface offers higher illuminance in specific positions whilst also creating ambience. Use art to give an upmarket feel Artwork elevates any room, gives a nod to your artistic side and can add a pop of colour to a neutral kitchen.


Refresh your cabinets If your cabinets are looking a little tired change the cabinet doors to revitalise the kitchen. Perhaps opt for deep pigmented heritage shades if your kitchen is large or choose lighter colours to create the illusion of space. Rediscover your fridge Clear your fridge door of postcards, thank you notes and letter magnets if you are looking for a sleek appearance. Keep treasured items in a study or bedroom perhaps. Splash out on new splashbacks They are key to a kitchen.You can modernise the look of the kitchen by adding glossy tiles, reflective coloured glass, textured antique European style tiles or rhythmic Arabic patterned tiles. Marble tiles are increasingly a go-to style too. Whatever you style this is your opportunity to let it shine through! Invest in a standout item Choose a standout piece like a beautiful stone sink or a gorgeous new tap to make your kitchen a talking point.

Sumptuous countertops Update your worktops with marble, quartz or granite, or if you have a country style home then smooth wooden counters can look particularly beautiful. Refresh your paintwork every year Because splashes of tomato or oil stains are never a good look! Create a feature wall with creative wallpaper or a grandiose deep coloured paint. Pantone’s colour of the year is Classic Blue, which evokes feelings of calm and serenity. Herbs and plants Plants add to the elegance of any space, help to filter the air and studies show that being around plants is soothing and restorative. Display fresh herbs on your windowsill in matching pots to add a lovely fragrance to your kitchen and as well as your cooking. Invest in other potted plants or weekly cut flowers displayed in a beautiful vase. Buy a special one-of-a-kind driftwood bowl to display fresh fruit.

Wetroom & Walk-in Shower Specialists

Dress the kitchen window Kitchen windows are often left neglected, but a room will not look ‘finished’ if the window is left undressed. Traditional shutters look upmarket, are practical and a good investment. Elegant rooms are light and airy, so make sure the windows are clean and free from clutter. Have striking features like a sleek coffee machine, or copper pans, iron casserole dishes or an old style kettle positioned proudly on your hob to trigger feelings of home-cooked food and warmth. Sparkling long stemmed wine glasses on display on an open shelf or within a glass cabinet with interior lighting will get you ready for entertaining friends and family.

Great choices for the smallest room Thinking of updating your bathroom? Then take a look at the extensive showroom at Huddersfield’s Atlas Bathrooms of Lockwood. With now even more choice in store, Atlas has invested heavily in the extensive showroom and now has even more displays of bath suites, showers and wet rooms to choose from. It now has one of the biggest displays of bathrooms and accessories in the Huddersfield area. Spread over two floors it has ranges from top manufacturers including Jacuzzi, Heritage, Roca and Ideal Standard. There is also plenty to suit all budgets with bathrooms and showers ranging in price from affordable to the luxurious end of the market.

Victoria Mill, Albert Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield Tel: 01484 547110 Fax: 01484 432037

For more information, look at the website www.atlasbathrooms.co.uk or ring 01484 547110. Open:

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday, 9am to 4pm

www.atlasbathrooms.co.uk

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Kirkwood starts to to re-open its shops Following the government’s announcement that shops selling nonessential goods could re-open, we are delighted to announce that Kirkwood many of our shops are now open again. Whether you’re looking for something to keep you or the kids entertained, want to browse a fantastic summer fashion range or just want to take a look around, Kirkwood’s fantastic shops have got you covered. We’ve installed safety measures and we’ll be following strict social distancing guidelines too - all to make sure you and our team stay safe whilst you’re shopping.

How we’re keeping you safe We are doing everything we can to make sure you have a great shopping experience with us.

protective screens at our tills, and we’ve installed hand sanitising stations too.

Accepting your donations We are now able to accept donations at any shop which has re-opened. We’ve put a number of safety measures in place, including quarantining all donated items for 72 hours after we receive them. This may mean that we aren’t able to take donations in some shops at certain times, as we have limited storage space. Please give your local shop a call before visiting us to make sure we have space to accept your donations. You can check our website to find your nearest Kirkwood shop.

We are limiting the number of customers, we’ve installed one way systems and

Find your local shop at:

www.kirkwoodhospice.co.uk/shops


GARDEN

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

Cosmos – An easy to grow summer annual that comes in a variety of colours.

GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE Garden writer Julia Heaton explains how to use your outdoor space to provide food and shelter for birds, bees and other wildlife. With an estimated 16 million gardens in the UK we have a wonderful resource, quite literally at our fingertips, ready to help us provide for our native wildlife. And by inviting in flying visitors, like the birds and bees, we get the added benefit of seeing their wonderful activities up close. Planting the right kinds of flowers will encourage bees and other pollinators into your garden and provide them with the pollen and nectar they need to thrive. Go for native plants where possible and those with single, open flowers that allow easy access to the pollen and nectar. Bees prefer bright colours, especially blue, purple, violet and yellow and those with lots of perfume. If you’re unsure what to go for take a stroll around your local garden centre to see which ones in flower are attracting them.You can check if these are suitable by gently rubbing your fingertips into the flower - any pollen there will stick to it. Plant suitable flowers in clumps so they can move quickly and easily around them. And try to provide plants that will provide pollen and nectar for as long a season as possible.

Plants for bees and pollinators Crocus – Blooming from late winter to early spring these look good in pots but also pushing through grass on the lawn. Mahonia – Hardy evergreen shrub with bright yellow flowers in Spring. Lavender – Rich in pollen and nectar, with gorgeous scent.

Verbena bonariensis – Its clusters of small purple flowers on tall spindly stems will provide nectar throughout summer and into October. Michealmas daisy – Brings late summer and autumn colour. This perennial can be planted in any soil and a well-lit position. Plants for birds The trick here is to select a range of plants that will provide food in the form of berries, nectar or insects as well as shelter where possible. Go for plants that flower and seed at different times, providing nourishment for them throughout the year. And remember that they have different preferences when it comes to nesting. So, for example, if you’re looking to provide for blackbirds then wall plants or climbers will attract them, while deep hedging is something wrens prefer.

Dahlia – The single flowered forms are best. They also tend to be hardy and lowmaintenance. Scabious – A common wildflower on chalk downland and a valuable source of nectar in early summer. Foxgloves – Has bell shaped flowers in a range of colours and grows well in shady areas. Common ivy (Hedera helix) – Its autumn flowers are a fantastic source of nectar and it provides berries for birds. Buddleja davidii – The butterfly bush thrives in most soils in a sunny space. Go for a dwarf type that is less prone to self-seeding. Sedum spectabile – A hardy perennial that thrives in sun and a real draw for bees and butterflies in late summer.

Look to the following: Rowan – Can provide berries from summer through to November depending on which species you choose; Honeysuckle – This climber will provide shelter as well as berries in autumn; Sunflower – Great to grow in summer then watch the seeds ripen and the birds flock to 23


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them. Go for varieties with the largest flowerheads and therefore the most seed; Berberis – Thorny cover from nest predators. In mid to late spring has small orange to yellow flowers then purplish berries in autumn; Rosa glauca – Virtually thornless, scented deciduous shrub with small pink flowers in June and July and red autumn rosehips. Can grow up to 6ft tall. Creating a place to live Offer the right kind of habitat and all sorts of wildlife will make their homes in your garden. Here’s a few ideas to consider:

Ponds Whether large or small, water features always attract a rich range of animal life from amphibians and invertebrates to bathing birds. They don’t need to be deep but do need to be shallow at the edges and gently sloping so that thirsty mammals can get easily in and out to drink. Plant up with some dense vegetation to provide frogs with hiding places from predators. Log pile A pile of logs tucked away behind a shed, or out in the open as an attractive garden feature, provides the ideal damp and shady conditions that will be used as shelter by many species from insects to voles and toads. When you have to lop a branch off a tree simply cut it into different size logs and pile them up. Add some fallen leaves to attract even more creatures.

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Compost heap As well as being a way to recycle waste a well constructed heap is also an important habitat for wildlife.Worms, slugs and a host of other creatures will make it a place of hibernation for hedgehogs, grass snakes and toads. Hedges Although providing privacy a hedge also supplies wildlife with food, shelter from the elements and cover from possible predators. Three to consider are: hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna); privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) and Yew (Taxus baccata). Don’t tidy it up too much as fallen leaves and seed heads will help attract insects, birds and hedgehogs. Man-made homes There are now so many artificial shelters to choose from that can be bought ready made or require some simple home assembly. Apart from bird boxes and bee houses (see our competition) there are now insect hotels that will pull in ladybirds and lacewings, the natural predators of all types of aphids. A hedgehog house will provide ready-made hibernation shelter for a creature that’s the ultimate in biological slug control and don’t forget butterfly buildings and bat boxes.

Interactive Solitary Beehive Do your bit to help solitary bees and see them at close quarters with this original design from Wildlife World. Made from durable FSC certified timber, the interactive solitary bee habitat contains stacking trays that you can open up to view the bees egg cells and larvae development. Its pre-drilled holes are just the right size for attracting non-swarming bees, like the Leafcutter and Red Mason Bees, so safe around children and pets. And at just 17 x 16 x 18cm it can be sited in a warm and sunny spot at ground level or on a wall or fence where these fascinating pollinating friends of the gardener will find it hard to resist. Price £32.99 plus £3.95 p&p. These delightful hives can be pre-ordered for delivery on or after mid-July. Simply visit www.wildlifeworld.co.uk or Tel. 01666 505333. Use code SBHIVE25 when ordering to receive a further 25% off.

Flowering lawn This is a great alternative to a wildflower meadow when space is at a premium as it will still attract all sorts of insects and the birds that feed on them. Use white clover, birds foot trefoil, self heal and speedwells and don’t mow so often. Alternatively mow around them. There are lots of wild flower lawn seed mixes available or create an area immediately by laying wildflower turf.


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FOOD & DRINK

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

Soused Mackerel With Beetroot Salad This dish relies on the freshest mackerel and, in my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated fish out there as well as one of the cheapest.We surprised all the cameramen when I went mackerel fishing and – within 30 seconds of dropping the line in – we pulled up nine! Simply prepared, this is a magical dish. Ingredients 2 mackerel, filleted and pinboned 50ml gin 6 pink peppercorns juice of 1 lemon pinch of sea salt

Since going on his Great British Adventure in 2019, James Martin has taken to the road again (and the sea and skies, too!. Here he shares 3 fantastic recipes from his new book.

For The Salad 3 tablespoons redcurrant jelly 50ml red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 large cooked beetroot (not pickled in vinegar), diced To Serve 1 pickled onion, thinly sliced 50g thick crème fraîche small handful of micro herbs

Put the mackerel on a board, flesh-side down, and use a sharp fish knife to cut through the skin in a criss-cross pattern. Place the gin, peppercorns, lemon juice and salt in a shallow, non-metallic tray or dish and stir together. Lay the mackerel fillets on top, fleshside down, and set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the redcurrant jelly and vinegar together in a small pan to dissolve the jelly. Bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced by half. Put the mustard into a bowl, season,

Serves 4 then pour the redcurrant sauce into it and whisk well. Add the diced beetroot and toss everything together. To serve, divide the beetroot salad between 4 plates. Drain the mackerel from the marinade and place on top of the beetroot. Top each with sliced pickled onions, a quenelle of crème fraîche (see tip) and the micro herbs.

JAMES’S TIP To make a quenelle, use two metal teaspoons: scoop up half the crème fraîche with one spoon, scrape the other spoon against the crème fraîche to lift it off the first spoon, then do the same again to make a smooth oval.

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Shetland’s Paella

Serves 8

This was the last dish I cooked on the trip and it really summed up the amazing produce they have in this part of the world, featuring both local fish and shellfish. I want to thank all the fishermen that brave the seas around these parts to deliver our catch – particularly Rob, who managed to get all this produce for me. I hope he enjoyed the dish, as I gave him not just the meal, but also the pan, the table... in fact everything on the last day of filming on location! Ingredients 50ml olive oil 6 boneless chicken thighs 2 onions, sliced 3 garlic cloves, crushed small bunch of oregano, thyme and marjoram, chopped sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 150g paella rice 5 vine tomatoes, quartered 4 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 monkfish tail, cut into 2cm pieces 16 whole shell-on prawns 8 scallops 300g mussels, cleaned and debearded (see tip) small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped

Light your BBQ. When the coals are silvery in colour, it’s ready to cook on. Place a 30cm paella pan directly onto the BBQ or over a medium heat. Pour in half of the oil and fry the chicken thighs until golden all over. Add the onions, garlic and herbs, season well, then scatter the rice over the top. Stir once to combine, add the tomatoes, pour over 500ml cold water, then sprinkle over the paprika. Gently stir everything together and simmer for 20 minutes. Season again, then add all the fish. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top, cover with foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove the foil, discard any mussels that have not opened and sprinkle over the parsley just before serving.

JAMES’S TIP Fresh mussels need to be alive before you cook them. To prepare them, pull off the stringy beards, knock off any barnacles and give the shells a scrub in fresh water to clean. Throw away ones with broken shells or any that don’t close tightly when you tap them.

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Black Butter And Apple Bakewell Tart In the Channel Islands, I went to see how Jersey black butter was made. It’s not actually made with butter – to be honest there’s none in it at all. In fact, it’s a preserve made with top- quality apples, liquorice, spices and sugar, which is cooked in the traditional way over a firepit and stirred all the time to prevent it from burning. As it slowly cooks it develops an amazing, caramelised, sweet flavour. It is not only great in this tart, but also fabulous served on its own, spread on toast or scones. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in the icing sugar, then add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg and water using a round-bladed table knife, then gently bring the mixture together into a ball.Wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F/gas 4. Grease a 23cm fluted tart tin lightly with butter. Dust a little flour over a clean work surface and roll out the pastry into a large round big enough to line the tart tin. Lift into the tin and press into the edges gently. Trim away the excess pastry, then spoon the black butter preserve for the filling into the base. Use the back of the spoon to spread it out to cover the pastry dough. Make the filling by beating the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Mix in the eggs, then fold in the ground almonds and flour. Spoon the mixture evenly over the black butter and layer the apple slices over the top. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden, then remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature in the tin. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Pop the sugar and boiling water into a small pan and heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Brush the tart with the glaze, then carefully remove from the tin to a serving plate. Slice and serve with the cream. 28

Ingredients For The Pastry 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting pinch of salt 2 tablespoons icing sugar 100g cold salted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon iced water For The Filling 4 tablespoons black butter preserve 225g softened salted butter 225g caster sugar 4 eggs, beaten 175g ground almonds 50g plain flour 2 English apples, cored and thinly sliced

Serves 6-8

For The Glaze 1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water To Serve Jersey cream, whipped

Extracted from James Martin’s Islands to Highlands, Quadrille, RRP £25.00, photography by Peter Cassidy.


Things might be a little different this year, but you can still bring your friends, family or colleagues together this September to do something amazing for Kirkwood. Kirkwood’s annual fundraising event is back! We’re all doing things a bit differently at the moment, so this year the choice of event is completely up to you. Why not host a virtual Cuppa for Kirkwood online via Zoom or FaceTime? Or invite your social bubble for afternoon tea in the garden or at home? All you have to do is pick a day during September to take part and request your fundraising pack.

Spreading the word Many people aren’t aware that Kirkwood is the only charity in Kirklees whose nurses provide specialist palliative care and support for patients at home. So as well as raising funds, Cuppa for Kirkwood helps to raise vital awareness too. Want to get involved? Simply visit our website and request your free pack today!

Your free Fundraising Pack Once you’ve signed up, we’ll send you a free fundraising pack filled with resources to help you get started. Your pack will contain balloons, recipes, stickers, cake flags and even a handy how to guide everything you need to plan and host your very own Cuppa for Kirkwood.

TAKE PART ANY TIME IN SEPTEMBER

GET YOUR FREE FUNDRAISING PACK AT:

www.kirkwoodhospice.co.uk/cuppa


MOTORING

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

STEVE HOWARTH'S TEST DRIVE for seat trim fabric, Smartphone link audio and navigation system. Moving up to SZ5 adds 17-inch polished alloy wheels, suede seat upholstery, keyless entry with start button and a panoramic sunroof. The Vitara is available in 11 different colours and ours came in a smart Galactic Grey (a £500 option).

VITARA HYBRID THERE is no doubt the Suzuki Vitara has come a long way since its introduction way back in 1988.

Four versions have been produced over those 30 plus years culminating in the 2020 model, which has gone hybrid only for the first time. We got our hands on the latest mid-range incarnation, the 1.4 Boosterjet Hybrid SZT in 2WD spec, and spent a week with the endearing small SUV. For despite some hard plastics in the cabin (which it could be argued are simply more durable in an SUV) the latest Vitara is a very competent and well equipped motor with such things as adaptable cruise control, air conditioning, rear camera and sat-nav as standard. The Vitara got various styling and safety upgrades in early 2019 and the 2020 model offers an even higher standard specification. It is made in the Magyar Suzuki plant in Hungary which also produces all S-Cross models. The Vitara went on sale in April and amongst other changes the hybrid set up means a drop of 20 per cent in CO emissions and up to a shade over 57 mpg (a 15 per cent increase over the previous model) from its 1.4 petrol engine which, thanks to help from the electric motor, can 30

hit 60 in 9.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 118mph. Suzuki are currently the only brand offering 4-wheel Drive on every model in its range with the optional ALLGRIP system and 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Suzuki 4x4 and 100 years since the company was founded in Japan. The K14D turbocharged petrol engine in our test car is new for 2020 and thanks to their Boosterjet technology now offers a greater and wider spread of torque. Standard safety equipment on all Vitara models include Dual Sensor Brake Support, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition and that Adaptive Cruise Control. Seven airbags are also fitted as standard as is Bluetooth and climate control while smartphone link audio and navigation come on SZ-T and SZ5 grades. The entry SZ4 model also has seven airbags, a collision avoidance system, alloy wheels, LED projector headlamps, DAB Radio with CD, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, auto air conditioning and auto headlights and wipers. SZ-T adds 17-inch silver painted alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, white stitching

But it is the Suzuki hybrid system that they first introduced in 2016 (now also fitted to all manual transmission Ignis and all Swift models) which is the car’s big selling point. The 48V set up is very lightweight adding less than 15kg to the overall weight of the vehicle. It has a lithium-ion battery, integrated starter/generator (ISG) and 48V-12V converter to power components like lights, audio and air conditioning. The ISG acts as both a generator and starter motor, is belt driven and assists the petrol engine during acceleration to provide a higher level of torque with 235Nm available from 2,000rpm. The compact battery located under the front seats stores electrical energy recovered from deceleration and braking and incorporates an idle stop function operated via the ISG. What is most impressive is that you cannot tell when the electric motor seamlessly cuts in to assist progress unless watching the powertrain display between the main instrument dials on the classy looking facia. Being a hybrid means the price is a little higher that a standard small SUV at £22,749 for our mid-range SZT, but you are saving fuel and so the planet with every mile driven. Also second hand values should remain higher as demand for Hybrids continues to increase as we get nearer to the Government’s death knell on new internal combustion engine only cars in 2035. For more information see www.suzuki.co.uk. For all the latest car tests go to www.50plusmagazine.co.uk/motors


AWARD WINNING FUNERAL SERVICE EXPANDS INTO HALIFAX A Yorkshire based funeral service that launched in 2016 has opened its fourth site, after expanding into Halifax, as part of a six figure investment that has already created several new jobs in the town. Full Circle Funerals has transformed a former retail unit on the corner of Crossley Hill and Huddersfield Road, opposite Calderdale Royal Hospital, into a modern funeral planning centre, complete with private meeting areas, visiting rooms and office space. The company, which prides itself on supporting people to create funerals that truly reflect the person who has died, launched in Guiseley in 2016 and quickly secured a listing as a ‘Recommended Funeral Director’ from the influential Good Funeral Guide. The following year it was presented with one of the funeral industry’s most prestigious awards, when it was named the ‘Best Modern Funeral Director in the UK’ at The Good Funeral Awards. In 2019 Full Circle Funerals opened a second site in Bramley near Leeds and earlier this year it launched in Harrogate town centre. The company has also pioneered a range of industry leading innovations including being one of the first in the UK to offer an electric ecohearse, which is now available in Halifax, to complement its traditional fleet of funeral vehicles. More recently, Full Circle Funerals has been helping families create virtual funerals due to the Covid-19 pandemic, using video conferencing software, which can be shared online with friends and family, regardless of where they are in the world.

Nicola has been appointed to lead the Halifax service, with support from David who joined Full Circle Funerals in 2016. Nicola brings a wealth of experience to the role after she was born into a funeral business in Lancashire that spans four generations of her family and still operates successfully today. She has spent time living in Canada, where she created funerals for a wide range of ethnic communities, before moving back to the UK in 2007, settling in Yorkshire, and working for two national funeral companies. Full Circle Funerals’ founder, Sarah Jones, said: “We’re really pleased to have launched in Halifax, in a popular and busy part of the town. In recent years, we have supported a number of families in the area to create and pre-plan meaningful funerals, and we were receiving increasing numbers of enquiries from the Calder Valley, which made it a natural location to expand into. “We’ve worked hard to create a warm and gentle funeral service, where we can offer people personalised support with a completely transparent pricing system. We are looking forward to working with local ministers, celebrants, florists and other businesses in the Calder Valley to help people to create modern or traditional funerals that is both profound and genuinely helpful for those involved.

For further information about Full Circle Funerals in Halifax, call 01422 400430 or visit www.fullcirclefunerals.co.uk/aboutus/funeral-directors-halifax/

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FINANCE

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

A SECURE FUTURE WITH

EQUITY RELEASE? THESE days we have to look at a variety of ways to raise cash and ensure that our future will be secure and one popular way for anyone over 55 to do just that is via equity release, which offers the chance to access the cash – the equity – tied up in your home. It can be as a lump sum or in several small amounts, or a combination of both. There are two equity release options: lifetime mortgage and home reversion. The Money Advice Service explains that a LIFETIME MORTGAGE means that you take out a mortgage secured on your property, provided it is your main residence, while retaining ownership. You can choose to ring-fence some of the value of your property as an inheritance for your family or you can choose to make repayments or let the interest roll-up. The loan amount and any accrued interest is paid back when you die or when you move into long-term care.

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Most people who take out equity release use a lifetime mortgage. Usually you don’t have to make any repayments while you’re alive and interest “rolls up” (unpaid interest is added to the loan), meaning the debt can increase quite quickly over a period of time. However, some lifetime mortgages do now offer the option to pay all or some of the interest. Some will let you pay off the interest and the capital. In the same way ordinary mortgages vary from lender to lender, so do lifetime mortgages, and if you’re looking at this option it’s worth knowing that the minimum age for this is usually 55. As we’re now all living longer, the earlier you start the more this is likely to cost in the long run. The average borrower in their late 60s can usually borrow around 35% of the value of their home, but how much can be released is dependent on your age and the value of your property. The percentage typically increases according to your age when you take out

the lifetime mortgage, while some providers might offer larger sums to those with certain past or present medical conditions. Many lenders offer interest rates which are fixed or, if they are variable, have a “cap” or upper limit which is fixed for the loan’s duration. Check whether the product has a “no negative equity guarantee” This means that, when your property is sold and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to your provider neither you nor your estate will be liable to pay any more. Consider whether you can pay none, some or all of the interest. If you can make repayments, the mortgage will be less costly. However, with a lifetime mortgage where you can make monthly payments, the amount you can repay might be based on your income. Providers will have to check you can afford these regular payments.


Look at whether you can withdraw the equity you’re releasing in small amounts, as and when you need it, or whether you have to take it as one lump sum. The advantage of being able to take money out in smaller amounts is you only pay the interest on the amount you’ve withdrawn. If you can take smaller lump sums, check if there is a minimum amount. It’s also worth finding out if you have the right to move to another property, subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan, as different lifetime mortgage providers might have slightly different thresholds. A HOME REVERSION involves you selling part or all of your home to a home reversion provider in return for a lump sum or regular payments.You have the right to continue living in the property until you die, rent-free, but you have to agree to maintain and insure it. You can ring-fence a percentage of your property for later use, possibly for

inheritance - the percentage you retain will always remain the same, regardless of the change in property values, unless you decide to take further cash releases. At the end of the plan, your property is sold and the sale proceeds are shared according to the remaining proportions of ownership. You will get a lump sum or regular payments – normally between 20 per cent and 60 per cent of the market value of your home, or the part you sell. With home reversions, it’s worth checking whether or not you can release equity in several payments or in one lump sum and the minimum age at which you can take out a home reversion plan. Some providers insist you’re at least 60 or 65 before you can apply. Keep in mind the percentage of the market value you will receive. This will increase the older you are when you take out the plan but might vary from provider to provider. Also check whether you have the right to remain in your property for life or until you need to move to long-term care, provided the property remains your main residence

and you abide by the terms and conditions of your contract. Again, check whether you have the right to move to another property, subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan and whether the product has a “no negative equity guarantee”.You will also need to know what level of maintenance you’ll be expected to carry out and how often your property will be inspected – this could be every few years. Overall, equity release might seem like a good option if you want some extra money and don’t want to move house, but it’s worth bearing in mind that equity release can be more expensive in comparison to an ordinary mortgage. It’s also worth considering any additional changes taking out equity release could make to existing arrangements, with the potential to lose means-tested benefits being key among them. It’s also worth considering involving your family throughout the process, as any equity taken out of the home will impact their inheritance later down the line.

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Speak to one of our advisors for your free, no obligation quotation and to find out how much tax-free cash you can access to spend as you wish. They will explain how equity release could affect the amount of inheritance you can leave and if your entitlement to means-tested benefits could be affected now or in the future. Equity release may involve a home reversion plan or a lifetime mortgage which is secured against your property. To understand the features and risks ask for your personalised illustration. Equity release requires paying off any existing mortgage. Any money released, plus accrued interest, would be repaid upon death or moving into long-term care. Only if your case completes would a typical fee of 2.25% of the amount released be payable (minimum £1,695). 1 You only continue to own your own home with a lifetime mortgage. *UK’s No1, based on volume of plans, source: Touchstone data 2018 - Q1 2020.

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HEALTH

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

HOW TO DEAL WITH PANIC By Dr Lynda Shaw, neuroscientist, business psychologist and change specialist.

Fight and flight hormones – When faced with a perceived threat the body responds by releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, readying you for action. These hormones narrow down our focus in order to concentrate on survival, which decreases our productivity. Stress can reduce work productivity by on average 25%. Prioritise deep breathing exercises and if you have some outdoor space, getting into it each day.

COVID-19 is alarming for all of us, and for many our anxiety levels are on high alert which in the long term can be at the expense of our mental and physical health. So what should you do when the anxiety is getting too much, or you are starting to feel panic.

Stopping socialising can obviously deeply affect our mood. Humans are social creatures and when we hang out with people we like, feel good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin are released and reward neural activity is stimulated in the brain. We feel good and have nurtured ourselves without even realising. Communicate using the wonders of technology. Arrange virtual coffee mornings and dinner parties on WhatsApp and Skype so you can see your friends and loved ones faces, especially those that might be feeling lonely.

Uncertainty is difficult - The brain finds ‘the unknown’ the hardest to deal with and research shows that uncertainty is scarier and more alarming than known outcomes, even if they are bad outcomes. Control and organise what you can to a reasonable extent if it brings you comfort but don’t fixate and go to extremes including at the expense of other people.

We often see the very best in people in very difficult times. Think if you can help any family members, friends or neighbours in any way, whether that is going for the shop for them or picking up meds. We also really need to support the frontline ie our medical workers.

Anxiety is bad for our health - Long periods of raised stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol impact almost every part of our body. Side effects include increased blood pressure, muscle tension, insomnia, and headaches which can ultimately lead to an increased risk of serious illnesses. So whilst this is a difficult time, make time for activities that relax you and release feel good hormones like yoga, reading or cooking. Turn off news alerts on your phone if they are making you feel on edge.

Catastrophising and panicking about what might happen rarely helps. Acute anxiety is an immediate reaction to a real danger, like a near miss whilst driving, but chronic panic is the fear of change, of something that might (or might not) happen in the future and anticipating a bad outcome. It causes you to live in a state of trepidation and confusion. Don’t let your imagination run wild and accept that some things in life are unknown and unpredictable. Be confident that you have the strength and versatility to overcome challenges when required and that this difficult period will pass in time.

Make good use of the time. Think about what you can do if you are going to have a prolonged period at home. Is it time to do some gardening, paint the house, get fit indoors, sort the paperwork out or take up that homebased hobby you always said you never had time to do.

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Being panicked makes people susceptible to ‘fake news’ – when the brain perceives a threat, it works very hard to neutralise the hazard and make you safe again. People are naturally inclined to believe information that lies close to their current

inherited beliefs even if they are not based on solid science. Stress hormones decrease your rationality and critical thinking and make you more susceptible to inaccurate information. Avoid listening to other’s ‘strong opinions’ and check government websites for official advice. Anxious minds do not sleep well - Sleep loss only adds to the stress which is the very thing stopping us sleeping. When you are overtired you have trouble concentrating, are less productive and feel irritable. Don’t watch or read about the news just before bed if the content is making you feel dismayed. The benefit is two-fold because screen time is known to delay the onset of sleep. Have a relaxing bedtime routine revolving around reading a book, a warm bath, or a bit of mindfulness. Fear can be transmitted to other people – Chronic anxiety about potential future dangers can cause low mood, short tempers and grouchiness. Children in particular will pick up on your anxious mood and sense of dread which can trigger their own feelings of stress. Be aware that this happens and control your emotions, so they don’t control you or infiltrate those around you. Its ok to talk to your children about difficult subjects because it actually makes them feel more secure that things are not being hidden from them, but too much detail or making them very scared really doesn’t help. Don’t descend into treating each other badly – During times of confusion and anxiety our stress hormones rise, we sleep less and consequently can be more irritable and shorter tempered. Be aware that this happens and make a conscious effort to smile and be positive. Positivity also rubs off on people, so smile and find things to laugh about, one of our best healers. Prioritise self-care like eating well, exercising, virtual socialising, doing your hobby, planning nice things to do when this is all over, reducing your time on social media and sleeping as best you can. www.drlyndashaw.com


TOP 5 ESSENTIAL LEGAL QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC During the Coronavirus pandemic, Ridley and Hall Solicitors have worked hard to stay open and meet the legal needs of everyday people across Yorkshire and the rest of the country. Certain legal matters have been really important to people over lockdown and we feel it is important to make the public aware of the things that they might need to give some thought to. Below are our top 5 questions issues which you might want to consider. 1. Have you made a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney? Even at the best of times, it can be hard to frame your mind towards putting in place plans for when you pass or way or lose the mental capacity to manage your own affairs, but at a time of such unprecedented health crisis, it is more important now than it ever was. It ensures not only that your property is dealt with as you wish and those you wish to benefit do so, but getting specialist advice from a solicitor significantly reduces the risk that your wishes and intentions are not followed. It may also help to reduce the risk that someone challenges your will or brings a claim against your estate when you die. 2. Is it time to downsize or consider a move? With property sales and purchases grinding to a standstill during lockdown, things are picking up. If you are thinking of downsizing or taking your next step, now couldn’t be a better time for many because of the Government’s decision to put a hold on Stamp Duty, which applies until 31 March 2021. This will save many people thousands of pounds which can go towards your furnishings instead, or add the extra money to your budget. 3. If you’re staying put, do you and your spouse own your property in the right way? Many don’t realise that co-owners can hold their property either as Joint Tenants or as Tenants in Common. Owning as Joint Tenants is great for many people throughout much of their lives, as the untimely death of the first means that the survivor owns the whole property. However as we get older, we need to think about whether this is still suitable. What if, for example, the survivor needs to

pay for long term care as they age, potentially having to sell the house and use all of the proceeds to pay for care. Considering changing your method of ownership to Tenants in Common means that each of you owns a 50% share of the property and you can each leave your share to others in your will when you die, such as your children. This means that the survivor of the two of you doesn’t inherit the other’s share, which is helpful if the survivor ends up needing to pay for care. 4. Not married? Consider sorting out a cohabitation agreement. Given the uncertainty of the current climate, if you are living with a partner who you are not married to, now would be a good time to discuss a cohabitation agreement with them. Cohabitation agreements give certainty to both partners about what will happen if things don’t work out. There has been a huge increase in separations over the pandemic. If there is no express agreement between you, disagreements can be very time consuming and costly to sort out. A cohabitation agreement can set out exactly what both of your expectations would be about payment of bills and division of assets if you do decide to separate. 5. Looking to get married as soon as lockdown is over? Think about getting a pre-nup! If you are getting married, then protecting your assets once married is a big consideration. Entering into a pre-nuptial agreement can ensure that you provide security for your children, as well as yourself. Without a prenuptial agreement, it is possible for either one of you to make claims against the other’s assets, whether acquired before the marriage or not. Prenuptial agreements have in recent times become more enforceable than they were, as long as certain criteria are met – one of them being that they are entered into at least 6 months prior to the marriage. Again, in this time of uncertainty, providing for family members when there is a wedding can provide comfort to yourself, your partner and family members.

The Grandparents Legal Centre (GLC) are specialists in advising about the steps grandparents need to take to resolve particular legal issues which occur in their prime years. Our mature clients have grown-up children, grandchildren, changing financial and property needs and will also be planning for retirement or are already retired. Our specialist solicitors understand your challenges and can give you tailored legal advice to suit your situation.

We offer services in; • Children and Grandchildren • Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection & Probate • Care Home Fees Claims • Family & Matrimonial • Financially supporting your family • Property

For further information Freephone: 0800 8 60 62 65 or visit our website www.grandparentslegalcentre.co.uk

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T he C are C ollection Bespoke, high quality home care Awa r d Winning Home Care in Kirklees & Calderdale

AWARD-WINNING HOME CARE BY THE CARE COLLECTION Local resident founded The Care Collection to raise the standards of Home Care and transform the “social care crisis”

Services range from Companionship, Domestic Support and Personal Care through to more Complex Care. The length of servce can be tailored from 1 hour visits to 24/7 care.

01484 521712

www.TheCareCollection.co.uk Office@TheCareCollection.co.uk The Care Collection, Unit 25, Queens Square Business Park, Honley, HD9 6QZ

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and responsive, enabling individuals of all ages to lead meaningful lives. Continuity of staff is key to the service they offer, and they ensure their Carers have time to care through minimum 1-hour visits.

Drawing on over 20 years’ experience working across the whole care sector, Catherine Haigh founded The Care Collection to provide bespoke, high quality Home Care to the community of Kirklees and Calderdale.

Their hourly Home Care services range from companionship, domestic support and personal care through to more complex care.The Care Collection also provides 24/7 live-in care.

Catherine explains “During my many years working in care I saw poor practice and lack of knowledge, with many care companies being run with inadequate leadership by people with no care experience. I felt compelled to help and that is how The Care Collection was born”.

The company has recently been recognised as one of the Top 20 Home Care Providers inYorkshire on leading independent review website, homecare.co.uk.They also received a “Good” rating in all 5 areas following an inspection by The Care Quality Commission, with exceptionally positive feedback from the inspector.

The Care Collection develops and implements a model of Home Care delivery which is entirely Client-focussed, inclusive

To learn more, please get in touch on 01484 521712 or office@thecarecollection.co.uk or visit www.thecarecollection.co.uk.


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Affordable Funeral Service

Losing a loved one can be one of life's most upsetting and distressing times. We go out of our way to help ease the worries where funeral arrangements are concerned. Not only involved with losing a loved one is the emotional upset, but it can also be a time of financial worry and strain and we not only lend a sympathetic ear but also an affordable funeral service too. Or maybe you see not the need for an elaborate funeral and want only a simple, low key occasion without all the fuss.

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Typical Housing 21 communal lounge

Thinking about Retirement Living? Private and self-contained, our retirement apartments and bungalows are designed to allow you to live independently within a community setting. Studio apartments, and one and two bedroom apartments and bungalows are available to let for people over the age of 55 in West Yorkshire.

To arrange a viewing or for more information, call the Court Manager on 0370 192 4951. housing21.org.uk

01204 292308

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KIRKLEES & CALDERDALE ISSUE 62  

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